Published on 2 August 2021
After 6 hours of research and analysis of 12 products, we concluded that the best Wi-Fi card today is the TP-Link Archer TX3000E. It stands out for its value for money, aided by its Wi-Fi 6 compatibility.
Our pick, Best mid-range
This model is the only Wi-Fi 6 compatible solution in our selection. So it’s ahead of the game with its excellent performance and advanced technology.
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TX3000E is a Wi-Fi card that’s in tune with the times. It is compatible with all the standard standards (a, b, g, n and ac) in addition to being equipped with Wi-Fi 6 (or ax). This allows it to reach theoretical values of 2402 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 574 on the 2.4 GHz band. This compatibility also guarantees access to MU-MIMO and OFDMA
This basic model is thought for those who are just looking for internet access for simple use. It is therefore quite limited but particularly affordable.
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The TL-WN881ND is a very basic card limited to b, g and n standards. It offers theoretical data rates of up to 300 Mbps, which means that it can be used for many purposes, even though it is far from the results of the best models. As an entry-level solution, no additional technology is integrated.
This model is the most advanced solution in Wi-Fi 5, which allows it to offer higher speeds while embedding the latest technologies.
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Asus PCE-AC88 is the most advanced solution for Wi-Fi 5 users. It offers theoretical speeds equivalent to our mid-range solution thanks to extensive optimization and the use of a 4×4 system (4 transmitting antennas, 4 receiving antennas). Thus, in 5 GHz, the value reaches 2100 Mbps while in 2.4 GHz, it amounts to 1000 Mbps. The MU-MIMO is of course part of the game.
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At this time, we have not found any products available on the European market that we feel have the qualities to be included in our main selection. We’ll be sure to provide you with some interesting alternatives as soon as we become aware of them.
The Wi-Fi card is a component that integrates directly into your PC case to give you access to wireless connectivity.
To determine which models are the most relevant, it is necessary to look at various criteria specific to network devices:
- Wi-Fi standards: the most widely used standards today are Wi-Fi ac and ax. The former corresponds to Wi-Fi 5, which has been in place for several years and is present on all current devices, but is gradually being replaced by Wi-Fi 6 (or ax). The latter allows better management of multiple connections with optimized data transfers. Theoretical maximum speeds have also been improved.
- Speeds: a Wi-Fi connection consists of data transfer via the waves emitted by your router. It is necessary that these transfers are as high as possible to enjoy a fast connection in all circumstances. Of course, the theoretical values are rarely reached in real conditions, but they give you an idea of the capabilities of your equipment. In any case, unless you have a boosted connection or fiber optics, you won’t need to exceed 200 Mbps.
- Built-in technologies and features: beamforming and MU-MIMO are two important technologies for getting the most out of the connected era. The first allows direct communication between the router and the device to minimize bandwidth loss. The second is used to optimize the management of simultaneous connections on your router. OFDMA enhances this by splitting the signal between the connected devices, rather than acting piecemeal.
In addition to these criteria, it is important to check that all your equipment is compatible with the technologies and speeds you are aiming for. It is therefore useless to hope to benefit from the qualities of Wi-Fi 6 if your router cannot handle it, for example.
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