Netgear releases its most capable USB network dongle to date, the first to add the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard to many modern PCs. The company’s new Nighthawk A8000, which costs $89.99, is a USB 3.0 adapter that can easily add interference-free 6GHz wireless connectivity to laptops or desktops.
While many laptops and devices have been released in the past year that are capable of Wi-Fi 6 (5GHz), only the latest ones come with Wi-Fi 6E with a higher bandwidth. If you’ve already upgraded your router, the Nighthawk connects your existing devices to a dedicated 6GHz track. It still works at a maximum of 1,200Mbps, just like 5GHz Wi-Fi, but it’s more likely to consistently hit those fast speeds on the new frequency.
If you need Wi-FI 6E on your desktop, it’s easier to set up the Nighthawk by plugging in one rather than installing an internal PCI-E Wi-Fi 6E card – although those have much faster overall connection speeds due to their multi-antenna design. But unless you’re just craving 6GHz capability, you can just get a cheaper Wi-Fi 6 or even Wi-Fi 5 dongle that fits your needs instead of this one.
To take full advantage of the Nighthawk A8000, you’ll need a Windows 11 PC and a Wi-Fi 6E router. Netgear’s own Nighthawk RAXE500 and the Orbi AXE11000 mesh routers are pricey options ranging from around $600 to $1,500, but there are cheaper alternatives out there now, like the Eero Pro 6E that starts at $299, and we may see one soon. which is even cheaper with the leaked Nest Pro.