Netgear found a clever way to bring this WiFi 6E speeds to aging computers. The new standard comes via Netgear’s Nighthawk AXE3000 USB 3.0 adapter, which can be plugged into a computer and upgraded to Wi-Fi 6E.
Wi-Fi 6E has been rolled out steadily over the past few years, allowing devices to access the 6 GHz band in addition to the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. The norm allows for “higher speeds, more connections and less disruption from traffic jams”. However, there are still not many devices or accessories that support Wi-Fi 6E, which limits the range. With the Nighthawk AXE3000 (opens in new tab)retroactively add Wi-Fi 6E connectivity to laptops and desktops that didn’t have native support.
The AXE3000 comes in the form of a USB dongle that plugs directly into a computer’s USB ports. According to NETGEAR, it automatically detects your router’s WiFi bands so the device can connect to the correct band — be it the 2.4GHz band, 5GHz, or 6GHz. Connection speeds range from 600 Mbps (megabits per second) at 2.4 GHz to a peak of 1200 Mbps at 6 GHz. Because of these speeds, the company claims people will experience smoother data transfers and suffer from “less lag.” [while] To play.”
If this concept sounds a little retro, it’s because, as those with long memories will recall, we’ve added basic Wi-Fi to some computers by plugging in USB-based Wi-Fi antennas.
You’ll also notice a stand for the AXE3000. According to NETGEAR, this is a cradle and can be used instead of plugging the dongle directly into a computer. Once the dongle is inserted into the holder, you can unfold the AXE3000 and use it as a Wi-Fi 6E antenna. At the other end of the charging station is a USB cable to connect to your computer. And if you’re concerned about security, the AXE3000 is equipped with that WPA3 protocol from the Wi-Fi Alliance (opens in new tab) to ensure your devices are protected.
Note that you still need to buy a Wi-Fi 6E router, which can be quite expensive. The AXE3000 is just an adapter that gives you access to those speeds. It’s compatible with any Wi-Fi router and mesh system, so you don’t have to tie yourself to a NETGEAR device. However, the company recommends getting a 6E router and supporting a mesh system like that Orbi 960 series to access those high speeds.
You’ll also need a computer running Windows 11, as at the time of writing this is the only version of Windows that natively supports Wi-Fi 6E (and the speeds it promises). According to the official, the AXE3000 works with Windows 10 computers data sheet (opens in new tab)but you will miss those high speeds.
The AXE3000 adapter will launch in late September for $89.99 but will only be available in the United States, one of the few countries in the world that supports Wi-Fi 6E. A company representative told us the dongle might be released elsewhere as more countries adopt 6E, but didn’t say which.
If you’re looking for a new Wi-Fi 6 router, we encourage you to shop around TechRadar’s recently updated list of the best routers. Just be prepared to shell out a few hundred dollars for the 6E listing.
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