A WiFi USB adapter can wear out

Buying advice: the best WiFi sticks

Quickly and easily into the WLAN network

CHIP editorial team

Fast WiFi is now available almost everywhere, but older devices do not yet have the latest connection standard and therefore lag behind their capabilities. There is a simple solution for this: the WLAN stick. We tell you here which adapters we recommend.

Properties of WLAN sticks

The WLAN stick is a small radio module that can be plugged into a USB port to connect a computer to a WLAN router. The small devices can be very helpful especially for older devices that only support old and slow WLAN standards or have no radio interface at all. They are very easy to install; most manufacturers supply the installation software directly on the stick. Nothing stands in the way of losing surfing immediately after the connection.


The frequencies supported can also play a major role. Although most sticks now support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bandwidths, older models and routers in particular are limited to the former. The 5 GHz band offers clearly better bandwidths despite a shorter range and is therefore particularly useful for devices that are close to the router.

Our recommendations

WLAN sticks are a dime a dozen on the market. In order to keep an overview, you should pay attention to a few points. Before buying, check the range of the different models to ensure that the model can cover the distance it takes. Pay attention to the frequency band of your router. If your router already supports 5 GHz, you can safely use a stick with the same frequency.


There are also different price categories for WLAN sticks, which have different advantages and disadvantages. We have selected a few models for you and would like to present you a top product, a mid-range model and an entry-level model below.

WLAN sticks in comparison

ASUS USB-AC54 B1AVM FRITZ! WLAN Stick AC 430TP-Link Archer T3U AC1300

Price (approx.)

Price (approx.)

35 euros

27 euros

19 euros

Amazon reviews

Amazon reviews

WLAN standards

WLAN standards

802.11ac / n / b / g / a

802.11ac / n / g / b / a

802.11ac / n / g / b / a

Frequencies

Frequencies

2.4 GHz and 5 GHz

2.4 GHz and 5 GHz

2.4 GHz and 5 GHz

max. data rates (2.4 / 5 GHz)

max. data rates (2.4 / 5 GHz)

400/867 Mbit / s

150/433 Mbit / s

400/867 Mbit / s

connection

connection

USB 3.0

USB 2.0

USB 3.0

Popular shop

Popular shop

View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

price comparison

price comparison

-

To price comparison

To price comparison

ASUS USB-AC54 B1

The Asus USB-AC54 for around 40 euros is particularly appealing to more demanding users. With the AC standard, the WLAN stick guarantees noticeable acceleration compared to n-WLAN and achieves transfer rates of nominally up to 867 Mbit / s on a 5 GHz frequency. In the 2.4 GHz band, the Asus USB-AC54 still achieves a transmission speed of up to 400 Mbit / s, which should also be sufficient for fans of online games. Thanks to the USB 3.0 interface, the transfer between the stick and the computer is fast, but the required software is not on the stick itself, but on the enclosed CD.

advantages
High data rates
802.11ac / n / b / g / a
2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies
disadvantage
Installation via software CD

Asus USB-AC54 B1

  • Asus USB-AC54 B1

    Check it out on Amazon.

AVM FRITZ! WLAN Stick AC 430 MU-MIMO

The Fritz! WLAN Stick AC 430 from AVM is in the middle price segment for around 27 euros. Because despite its lower price, this model, like the Asus USB-AC54, also offers the current AC standard and is compatible with both a 2.4 and a 5 GHz frequency. The Fritz! WLAN AC 430 achieves a maximum of 433 Mbit / s on a 5 GHz frequency, but only a speed of up to 150 Mbit / s in the 2.4 GHz network.

If you are already using a FRITZ! Box, you can briefly plug the sticker into the router's USB port. All connection and security settings are then automatically transferred to the stick. To put the stick into operation, it is sufficient to plug it into a computer, whereupon the AC 430 installs itself. However, the WLAN stick is not only suitable for owners of AVM routers, it is compatible with all common routers.

advantages
802.11ac / n / b / g / a
2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies
Independent installation and "Stick & Surf" at Fritz! Boxes
disadvantage
Lower data rates
Shop recommendation for AVM FRITZ! WLAN USB Stick AC 430 (20002766)
Offer from BestCheck.de | Prices include VAT plus shipping
Compare other offers

TP-Link Archer T3U AC1300

We recommend the TP-LINK Archer T3U for around 19 euros as an inexpensive entry into the new WLAN world. This WLAN stick works in the 2.4 GHz frequency range as well as in the 5.0 GHz network and achieves a speed of up to 400 Mbit / s via the n standard or 867 Mbit / s in an ac WLAN. Thanks to USB 3.0, the transfer to a PC or laptop is also very fast.

The main thing about the stick is its compact design. In the notebook it only protrudes a few millimeters from the case. The Archer T3U is also a good alternative for thrifty Raspberry Pi users. However, it gets even smaller and cheaper with the Archer T2U Nano (see Amazon), which reaches speeds of up to 200 Mbit / s or 433 Mbit / s at 5 GHz for around 14 euros. However, both of them dispense with an automatic installation and require software that is supplied on a disc.

advantages
Cheap price
802.11ac / n / b / g / a
2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies
disadvantage
Installation via software CD

Download tips from the editors:

If the time has not come before you have to use new WiFi hardware, there are numerous software helpers with which you can analyze and optimize your WiFi network. You can find material in our download area.

(Article originally written by: Beatrice Predan-Hallabrin)