A WiFi antenna booster can help a laptop that has a weak built-in WiFi card get better reception.
They can also upgrade a laptops WiFi protocols that have been introduced in recent years.
There are many available in all shapes an sizes with the best long range units having a larger antenna.
Below is our picks of best USB WiFi adapters that can boost a WiFi signal for a laptop along with reviews, speed test, and compatibility.
As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon, here, or forums to be sure a unit is the right fit for you.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Our Picks For Top Best WiFi Antenna Boosters for Laptops
- EDUP AC600
- Alfa AWUS036ACH
- TP-LINK Archer T2UH
- Panda PAU09
- Asus USB-AC56
- Alfa AWUS036AC
EDUP USB WiFi Adapter 600Mbps 802.11AC Dual Band 2.4G/5G Wireless Network Adapter USB Wi-Fi Dongle with 2DBI Antenna Support Windows XP Win Vista Win 7 Win 8.1 Win 10 Mac OS X 10.7-10.14 (EDUP-1635)
The EDUP AC600 is a Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi adapter that works in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.
802.11AC is currently the fastest WiFi protocol and works in the 5GHz band.
The 2.4GHz band is for legacy devices and works mainly with the older Wireless-N protocol.
If you need a signal from a distance there is units with bigger dBi antennas.
Bigger antennas can be more bulky but do work much better receiving a WiFi signal.
During the speed test it did very well with the 5Ghz range giving 213Mbps Download, and 21Mbps Upload.
The EDUP AC600 is a good unit that will give a laptop WiFi a boost has wide compatibility and the newest WiFi protocols.
Alfa Long-Range Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter w/2x 5dBi External Antennas – 2.4GHz 300Mbps/5GHz 867Mbps – 802.11ac & A, B, G, N
The Alfa AWUS036ACH is a long range wireless USB adapter that is compatible with most any operating system, from Windows 10 to Linux.
It is a Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi dongle that works in both the 2.4Ghz and 5GHz ranges.
During testing it gave some impressive WiFi speeds at 213Mbps Download, and 21Mbps Upload.
Two large 5dBi antennas are attached to get a better signal from a distance.
TP-Link AC600 High Gain Dual Band USB Wireless WiFi network Adapter for PC and Laptops (Archer T2UH)
The TP-LINK Archer T2UH is a dual band USB adapter and uses the new 802.11ac protocol.
It is backward compatible with other wireless protocols, such as N or G, this makes it able to fit into most any networks.
It uses a external Omni-Directional antenna to get better range than a laptops built-in antenna.
Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 Dual Band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wireless N USB Adapter W/ Dual 5dBi Antennas – Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10, Mint, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, CentOS, Kali Linux and Raspbian
The Panda PAU09 is a dual band wireless USB adapter with wide compatibility, from Windows 10 to Linux.
Even though it only supports wireless-N it still is a nice unit to use and work with most any operating system with good range at a low cost.
Asus (USB-AC56) Dual-band Wireless-AC1300 USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter
The Asus USB-AC56 is built for speed and is one of the fastest WiFi dongles available.
It is dual band and is compatible with all WiFi protocols.
Alfa Long-Range Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter w/2x 5dBi External Antennas – 2.4GHz 300Mbps / 5Ghz 867Mbps – 802.11ac & A, B, G, N
Alfa makes many USB adapters and are notorious in the wireless Pen Tester/Hacker community.
The AWUS036AC is one of their newest adapters that is built to get a signal at a distance.
It is dual band and works with any WiFi protocols so will fit into most any network.
Two 5 dBi antennas are used to get a better signal. A USB extender cable can also be used to move it about getting the best possible bars.
Its size makes it more bulky than small dongles but the gain is a big boost.
WiFi Frequency and Protocols
In late 2013 the 5GHz frequency was introduced to routers and connecting devices.
5GHz was introduced to help relieve the 2.4GHz band that has become overcrowded.
Along with a new frequency a new protocol was also introduced called 802.11ac.
The 802.11ac protocol can transfer data much quicker than the previous 802.11n protocol.
802.11n also called Wireless-N can transfer data at 150-300 Mbps while 802.11ac has a transfer speed of 750 Mbps.
This is a good upgrade if you need high speed WiFi connection.
It should be noted that 5 GHz doesn’t travel as far as 2.4GHz. This is because of the physics of lower frequencies able to travel farther than higher frequencies.
So while the new 5GHz band combined with 802.11ac can move data faster for distance using 2.4GHz is still better.
So What is the Best WiFi Antenna Boosters for Laptops
A 2.4GHz USB WiFi booster will be able to transmit and receive better with distance.
The exception to this is in a crowded WiFi environment where there are many WiFi signals transmitting.
When two signals collide a router must resend the data which slows down the entire network.
In a crowded WiFi environment a 5GHz booster may be better even if a signal cannot travel as far.
The best scenario is to get a USB booster that can do both, using either 2.4GHz or the new 5GHz frequencies.
When a booster can transmit on both frequencies each can be tried out to see which signal is best.