1. TP-Link Archer T9UH: Best Overall Wi-Fi Dongle
For most people, the T9UH is the best Wi-Fi upgrade (or add-on if your PC doesn’t have Wi-Fi at all). It might not support the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard but that doesn’t really count against it because, in the topsy-turvy world of Wi-Fi, it actually offers faster speeds than D-Link’s Wi-Fi 6 adapter.
True, those are theoretical speeds, but the point is, Wi-Fi 5 dongles can offer just as fast real-world speeds as Wi-Fi 6 in many homes. Not everyone has a Wi-Fi 6 router yet, nor enough Wi-Fi 6 devices to truly benefit from some of the clever tech that the standard offers.
On a practical note, the Archer T9UH features a fold-out design which opens to around 150mm long. Unlike the multi-appendage approach of the Asus USB-AC68, this has a hinged edge to the body that can almost fold in half.
The design is for the dual-band antennas (2.4GHz @ 600Mb/s and 5GHz @ 1300Mb/s) with 802.11ac AC1900 support.
As is standard now with higher-end adapters, TP-Link supports beamforming which delivers more consistent performance, ideal for streaming HD and 4K media content, and USB 3.0 is required because of the higher throughput, so you’ll get the best speeds if you connect it to a USB 3 port, not USB 2.
The T9UH also comes with a dock that allows it to be connected further away from your PC or laptop. The dock’s 3m cable means you can position the adapter in the ideal place, which is handy if existing Wi-Fi connectivity is spotty in your location.
Speeds are excellent on 5GHz when connected to a suitable Wi-Fi 5 router, but there’s not much point in spending this much if your laptop already has Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) Wi-Fi, or you’re going to use it so far away from your router that it only ever runs on the 2.4GHz band, where performance is much less impressive.