Who makes the best 802.11ac Wi-Fi client USB adapter?

Linksys WUSB6300 review: Mediocre performance doesn't jibe with higher price

At a Glance
  • Linksys WUSB6300 Wi-Fi Wireless AC Dual-Band AC1200 USB Adapter

    TechHive Rating

    The Linksys WUSB6300 isn’t the fastest performer, it doesn’t have a hinged USB interface, and it doesn’t come with a cradle. And yet it has a nosebleed-inducing price tag of $70.

Who makes the best 802.11ac Wi-Fi client USB adapter?

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Any number of reasons might explain why Linksys’s WUSB6300 802.11ac Wi-Fi client USB adapter was so slow in most of the places I tested it, but its USB 3.0 interface can’t be one of them.

The adapter itself is nicely compact and will protrude from your PC by just 3 inches. Similar to most of the other adapters in my test group, it hides its two antennas inside its plastic shell, and it has a WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button to simplify the initial connection to your router.

ROBERT CARDIN

Linksys was one of the first manufacturers to ship an 802.11ac Wi-Fi client USB adapter. Now this model is one of the last I’d recommend buying (click to enlarge). 

But Linksys doesn’t provide a USB cradle, and the adapter itself is not hinged, so you don’t have much flexibility in positioning the adapter for optimal reception. Linksys doesn’t offer a software utility, either, but that’s no great loss (and some people might view that as a plus, since such utilities consume a negligible amount of a computer’s memory and CPU power).

Aside from its third-place finish in my home theater, 35 feet from the router, the WUSB6300 was a pretty mediocre performer. That’s unfortunate, because I’ve been using it to evaluate 802.11ac routers for the past year or so. Needless to say, I won’t be using it any longer.

802.11ac Wi-Fi adapters

As the purple bar shows, the Linksys WUSB6300 finished next to last in nearly all of my benchmarks. (Click to enlarge.)

The Linksys adapter finished dead last when the client was in the same room as the router, separated by 9 feet, producing TCP throughput of 230 megabits per second. The Asus USB-AC56, which came in first, delivered 404 mbps at this location, while the second-place Netgear A6200 posted a rate of 310 mbps. The WUSB6300 was slightly faster when I moved the client into the kitchen, registering TCP throughput of 232 mbps, but that’s a long way from the 347 mbps that the Asus adapter delivered.

The Linksys WUSB6300 finished third, fifth, or last in my tests, besting only Trendnet’s weak TEW-805UB. Combine that decidedly average performance with a $70 street price on Amazon, and I find very little to recommend this adapter over four of the others I tested.

Note: This review is part of a roundup of six 802.11ac Wi-Fi client USB adapters. For more, read the introduction to the roundup.

This story, "Linksys WUSB6300 review: Mediocre performance doesn't jibe with higher price" was originally published by TechHive.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    The Linksys WUSB6300 isn’t the fastest performer, it doesn’t have a hinged USB interface, and it doesn’t come with a cradle. And yet it has a nosebleed-inducing price tag of $70.

    Pros

    • Compact design

    Cons

    • Mediocre performance
    • No USB cradle
    • Unattractive price-to-performance ratio
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