USB Wifi Adapter with or without antennas?


Jul 17, 2013
I need to buy a new Wifi adapter for a PC at home. The current D-Link DWA-140 restarts itself 2-3 times per hour for a second or two when playing online, and it also achieves 3 out of 5 bars of connection.
My question is whether a USB adapter with two external antennas would provide a better connection than a USB 3.0 adapter with internal antenna? My current internet connection is limited to 100 mbps.

I am referring to these TP-Link models:



Apr 11, 2013
I think it depends on where your router and system are located.

If in the same room and a strong signal, it won't make much difference.

If you're dealing with some distance and a moderate signal, having antenna(s) can help out a bit.

If you need antennas and some degree of repositioning available, I'm fond of USB adapters that are on a cable, like which is a cheaper version of the one you posted.

The non antenna adapter you posted comes with an extentible cable, so it would likely do just as well.
Agreed, if the computer and router are in the same room, it won't matter which one you buy. If distance or obstructons are a concern, you need a WiFi adapter with a good transmit power, which is usually measured in dBi. In essence, the higher the dBi, the better the range.

The Archer T4U AC1200 seems suspiciously cheap for a dual-band 802.11ac adapter and its dBi rating isn't listed, so I'd avoid it. The TL-WN8200ND is about the right price and has 10dBi of power (x2 5dBi) which is pretty good. That's the one I'd buy.
The main difference you are going to see between these is one is dual band 802.11ac and the other is not. Your router must support 802.11ac or at least dual band to use it.

If your problem is interference with neighbors 5g tends to help many of these issues.

On the 2.4g band it is hard to say which is better. The 8200 comes out and says it puts out 500mw but that number does not mean a lot since the power actually is different on the different channels and if you are running mimo or not.

The archer card I actually found the FCC reports

This card puts out very close to the same power level on many frequencies but its hard to compare exactly since I would need the FCC number for 8200 which I have not had much luck finding.

If you would dig though the report you will find that that archer device is better than your would think for not having large antennas on it. I would guess this is because it has a stronger radio.

Now if you really want to get 100m of throughput you are going to have to go with 802.11ac. No router or nic card on the market can get 100m download running 802.11n either on 2.4g or 5g. Those fake 300m or 450m number mean very little.