Upgrade Your Laptop’s Wi-Fi: 8 Best Wireless Network Cards for Laptops in 2023 (Tested and Reviewed)

From budget-friendly to the fastest and TP-Link to Intel, you can pick the ideal Wi-Fi card for your use case. So, upgrade now, embrace lightning-fast internet speeds, and leave sluggish connections in the dust!

Sick of your Wi-Fi giving you more headaches than a math test? Are you thinking, “Should I upgrade my Wi-Fi card in laptop?” Well, if you want smooth streaming, lag-free gaming, and browsing at warp speed, the answer is a resounding YES!

Upgrade that relic of a Wi-Fi card with the greatest and latest Wi-Fi cards for laptop from our tried and tested top 8 picks in 2023! Our previous guide was only about the best wireless network cards for PCs. But this one delves into discussing the best Wi-Fi cards for laptops.

TL;DR – Top Wireless Network Cards for Laptop

1. TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000A high-performance dual-band Wi-Fi card supporting the latest 6E standard, MU-MIMO, OFDMA, Bluetooth 5.2 technology, and 2 multi-directional antennas. It offers 2402 Mbps at 5 GHz and 574 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and is compatible with M.2 PCIe.

2. Ubit Wi-Fi 6E AX210SA lightning-fast low-latency Wi-Fi card with 6E technology and tri-bands (2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz), offering a 5400 Mbps speed. It supports Bluetooth 5.2 technology, is backward compatible, and comes with a heat sink, 2 high-gain antennas, and a PCIex1 slot.

3. OKN Wi-Fi 6E AX210 NGWBest for online gaming, this tri-band Wi-Fi card features a 6E standard and a whopping 5400Mbps speed. It can boost data rates from 80MHz to 160MHz and saves battery timing with a TWT function. Moreover, it supports 5.3 Bluetooth technology and NGFF M.2 Key A or E slot.

4. Intel Wireless-Ac 9260An ideal Wi-Fi 5 card for laptops with 8th Generation Intel Core processors boasting a dual-band with insane speeds of 1.73 Gbps. It features Bluetooth 5.0 and MU-MIMO technology and is compatible with M.2 2230 Key A or E slot.

5. Alfa Network High-Efficiency Intel AX200UA budget-friendly dual-band Wi-Fi 6 card under $100 with whopping speeds of 2.4 Gbps at 5GHz and 574 Mbps at 2.4GHz. It features Bluetooth 5.0, TWT, MU-MIMO, and OFDMA technology, 2 x IPEX/U.FL antenna connectors and a mini PCIe slot.

6. NETELY Wireless-AC 8265NGWAnother pocket-friendly dual-band card under $50, boasting 2 internal antennas, Wi-Fi 5 standard, and up to 1200 Mbps speed. A Wi-Fi Audio Adapter also supports audio source transmission for Wi-Fi audio devices. It supports NGFF M2 A-E key slot.

7. TP-Link Archer T5EA mini dual-band Wi-Fi 5 card that can fit in any laptop and boasts a maximum speed of 1,200 Mbps, where 867 Mbps is allocated to 5GHz and 300 Mbps to 2.4 GHz. Moreover, it comes with 2 external high-gain antennas and Bluetooth 4.2 and PCIex1 slot support.

8. WISE TIGER AX210NGWThe ultimate Wi-Fi 6E tri-band card for smooth HD and 4K streaming. It rocks insane speeds on 2.4GHz (574Mbps), 5GHz (2400Mbps), and 6GHz (2400Mbps). Plus, it’s got Bluetooth 5.3 and supports newer Intel, AMD CPUs, and NGFF M.2 2230 slot.

How Do I Know If I Need a New Wi-Fi Card?

When it comes to connecting wirelessly, your wireless network card plays a crucial role. But what happens when your Wi-Fi card goes bad? You’ll face certain issues such as:

  1. Your internet signals frequently drop or become unreliable, even after troubleshooting.
  2. You’ll experience slower speeds despite a strong Wi-Fi signal.
  3. Your laptop will have a weaker Wi-Fi range compared to others in the same area.
  4. Your laptop will fail to detect any available Wi-Fi networks.

If you are looking for the best online gaming and streaming experience, consider upgrading to a Wi-Fi 6 router and card. The latest Wi-Fi 6 standard offers several improvements over previous standards, including faster speeds, better range, and improved security.

How Do I Check My Laptop Wi-Fi Card?

If you want to check the details of your laptop wireless network card, follow the steps below:

  1. Press Win + X and select “Device Manager” from the menu.
  2. Look for the entry representing your Wi-Fi card in the “Device Manager.” It might be labeled as “Wi-Fi,” “Wireless adapter,” or a similar term. Right-click on that entry and select “Properties.”
  3. Navigate to the “General” or “Driver” tab to view information about your Wi-Fi card, including its model, manufacturer, and driver details.

How to Install a Wireless Network Card in Your Laptop?

If you want to install a Wi-Fi card in your laptop, follow the steps below:

  1. Before installing the Wi-Fi card, first install the drivers included with the Wi-Fi card. Or download them from the Wi-Fi card manufacturer’s website and then simply follow the on-screen instructions to complete the driver installation.
  2. Once the drivers are installed, switch off your laptop and unplug it from the socket. If you can remove the battery, take it out too.
  3. Refer to your laptop’s manual or online resources to determine how to access the internal components. This may involve removing a panel or the keyboard.
  4. Identify the appropriate slot for the wireless network card, as indicated in the laptop’s manual or labeled on the motherboard.
  5. Gently insert the wireless network card into the slot, aligning it with the connectors. Apply gentle pressure until it is securely seated.
  6. If necessary, use screws or clips provided with the card to secure it in place. Ensure a firm attachment without excessive force.
  7. If your wireless network card requires external antennas, locate the antenna connectors on the card. Connect the antennas securely to the respective connectors.
  8. Put back any panels or components you removed to access the internal parts. Ensure everything is properly aligned and fastened.
  9. Reinsert the battery (if removed) and power on your laptop. Connect to a Wi-Fi network and test the internet connection to ensure the wireless network card functions correctly.

Top Wireless Network Cards for Laptop – Reviewed

To come up with this review of the top 8 Wi-Fi cards for laptops, our evaluation process was as thorough as it gets. We scoured online forums, including the ever-helpful subreddits like r/laptops.

To find recommendations for the best Wi-Fi cards compatible with laptops, we tapped into the collective wisdom of experienced users. After gathering the information, we reached out to our gamer friends, who graciously lent us their beloved Wi-Fi cards.

This allowed us to evaluate cards that catered to different needs and preferences. We even snagged some sweet deals on Wi-Fi cards during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, adding even more variety to our testing lineup.

Armed with various laptop and router setups, we meticulously put each Wi-Fi card through its paces. Our analysis involved in-depth scrutiny of each card’s technical specifications and other factors such as:

  • Signal Strength with Obstacles: We measured the Wi-Fi signal strength at different distances from the router, including both short and long-range (50 feet away) scenarios. In addition, we also added some obstacles like walls. This allowed us to assess the cards’ performance in maintaining a stable connection and providing adequate coverage.
  • Download Speeds – We conducted download speed tests to measure the Wi-Fi cards’ data transfer capabilities in downloading games. We also evaluated their ability to deliver fast and consistent speeds, especially in demanding tasks such as online gaming, calling, or streaming 4K videos.

In the end, based on our comprehensive testing and analysis, we handpicked 8 wireless network cards that excelled in specific criteria. Whether it is the best for 4K streaming or the ideal for gaming, we have the perfect card for your every need.

If you’re wondering which Wi-Fi card is best for laptop? Forget about settling for the second best. The undeniable champion in the ring is none other than the TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000, whose range leaves other Wi-Fi cards biting the dust.

With unrivaled Wi-Fi 6 speed, you’ll be cruising at up to 2402 Mbps at 5 GHz and 574 Mbps at 2.4 GHz. While its ultra-responsiveness with 75% lower latency is perfect for real-time game domination. 

What’s more, its two multi-directional antennas capture Wi-Fi signals with flawless precision. The card supports backward compatibility with older Wi-Fi standards as well.

It comes equipped with the latest security enhancements of WPA3, and its specialized heatsink and gold plating are built to handle even the hottest of environments. To add to that, its Bluetooth 5.2 technology provides lightning-fast speeds and broader coverage compared to its outdated counterparts.

In testing, the TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000 card was easy to install and configure with our Windows 10 64-bit/Dell XPS 13 laptop. Next, we meticulously examined the card’s performance with a 1Gbp internet connection.

At close quarters, it displayed a peak of 945 Mbps/118.125 MB/s at 5GHz. From 50 ft away with two walls in between from our TP-Link Archer AX50 router, it showed an average 734 Mbps/91.75 MB/s download speed. At the same distance, we made a Zoom call, and to our delight, there were no noticeable lags or signal drops.

Nonetheless, the TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000 card has a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, it falls on the expensive side. Secondly, if your laptop does not have an M.2 PCIe slot, the AX3000 card may not be compatible or suitable for installation.

TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000 PCIe WiFi Card
  • Wi-Fi 6 Technology Powered by Intel: The latest Wi-Fi 6 standard gives you incredible speed ultra-low latency and uninterrupted connectivity with OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology Utilizing next-generation Wi-Fi 6 technology Archer TX3000E is designed to excel in even the busiest of networks for next-level entertainment
  • Next-gen speeds up to 2.4Gbps Reach incredible speeds up to 2.4 Gbps (2402 Mbps on 5 GHz or 574 Mbps on 2 4 GHz) - Supports Windows 11, 10 (64bit) - Driver installation required via Website or included CD
  • Minimized lag for your PC Revolutionary OFDMA reduces lag so you can enjoy ultra-responsive real-time gaming or an immersive VR experience

2. Ubit Wi-Fi 6E AX210S – Fastest Wi-Fi Card for Laptop

If you want to turbocharge your internet experience, no card can be better than Ubit Wi-Fi 6E AX210S. It boasts the latest innovative Wi-Fi 6E technology with three 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz, and 6Ghz bands, offering a combined 5400 Mbps speed.

The 6GHz spectrum eliminates overlapping signals. Not to mention it accommodates additional fourteen 80 MHz channels and seven 160 MHz channels to provide a faster HD video streaming and gaming experience. While the OFDMA and MU–MIMO technology leaves lagging in the dust.

A large heatsink also keeps the card cool, and a WPA3 security feature protects your data from unauthorized access. What’s more, its Bluetooth 5.2 technology takes your connection speeds and coverage to new heights.

Not stopping there, this Wi-Fi card packs a punch with two mighty signal-boosting high-gain antennas, giving your internet range a massive boost. It is backward compatible and supports Wi-Fi 6E, 6, 5, and 6 internet standards and PCIex1 or x4, x8, x16 USB 2.0 connectivity.

During rigorous testing, we installed the Ubit card on our trusted MSI GT76 Titan/Windows 10 64-bit laptop. A little tip here is to install the drivers before proceeding with the card installation for a seamless setup. Next, we tested its performance with our Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 router.

At a short distance, it displayed an overwhelming 986 Mbps/123.25 MB/s download speed at 6GHz. We also tested it by playing Fortnite Battle Royale without experiencing any frustrating lag.

However, when we moved 50 feet away, the download speed fell by 15-20%. But that’s understandable, as 6GHz bandwidth is not designed for long-distance coverage.

The only downside to the Ubit card is its antennas directly attach to it without an external magnetic antenna base. It’s not a biggie if your laptop and router are in the same room, but you’re better off with a card with a flexible magnetic antenna base for long-range Wi-Fi.

Ubit WiFi Card 6E 5400Mbps (6GHz&5Ghz&2.4GHz) PCIe WiFi Card
  • #Three Band with a total speed of up to 5400Mbps, the Ubit AX210S WiFi card meets your needs whether you are using 5Ghz, 2.4Ghz or the latest 6Ghz.
  • #6 GHz addresses Wi-Fi spectrum shortage by providing contiguous spectrum blocks to accommodate 14 additional 80 MHz channels and 7 additional 160 MHz channels which are needed for high-bandwidth applications that require faster data throughput such as high-definition video streaming and virtual reality.#
  • #6GHz Wi-Fi offers not just a new swath of airwaves for routers to use, but a spacious swath that doesn’t require overlapping signals like on some current Wi-Fi channels. The new spectrum has enough room for up to seven maximum-capacity Wi-Fi streams to all be broadcast simultaneously and not interfere with each other — all without using any of the previously available spectrum.#

3. OKN Wi-Fi 6E AX210 NGW – Best Gaming Wi-Fi Card for Laptop

For lag-free gaming, you gotta have a wireless network card that can keep up with your gaming cravings. And the champion in that department is the OKN Wi-Fi 6E AX210 NGW, with its support for 6GHz, 5GHz, and 2.4GHz bands and mind-blowing speeds up to 5400Mbps.

It’s equipped with the latest 802.11ax tech, rocking features like OFDMA that boosts data rates from 80MHz to 160MHz, and a 4X high capacity with multiple devices. With 1024QAM technology support, the OKN card can even reach a speed of up to 2100Mbps at 5GHz and 1000Mbps at 2.4GHz. 

While its Target Wake Time (TWT) function saves battery timing by deciding when your laptop will wake up and send or receive data. What’s more, it comes with Bluetooth 5.3 support for enhanced data broadcasting and a WPA3 security feature.

As for its compatibility, the OKN card supports laptops with a standard NGFF M.2 Key A or Key E slot. In testing, the card installation was easy and done within a short time. We used the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 router and Windows 10 64-bit/Asus VivoBook S15 S530UN laptop.

The card performed well at a short distance displaying an eye-popping 978 Mbps/122.25 MB/s download speed at 6GHz with a 1Gbps internet. We could download Call of Duty Black Ops 1 in 3 minutes and 53 seconds.

At 50 feet away, we played League of Legends without lagging. However, when we placed two walls between the laptop and router, the lagging was a bit noticeable, and the download speed dropped to 786 Mbps/98.25 MB/s.

Moreover, the OKN card is incompatible with mini-PCIe, NGFF CNVIO, CNVIO2 slots, and most of Lenovo’s T-series notebooks.

AX210NGW WiFi Card, Wi-Fi 6E 11AX Wireless Module
  • 【AX210 Wi-Fi 6E Card】Adopts the upcoming Wi-Fi 6E standard, provides tri-band (2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz) signal. Max Speed up to 574Mbps @2.4GHz + 2400Mbps @5GHz +2400Mbps @6GHz.
  • 【Bluetooth 5.3 Version】 Compared with Blue-tooth 5.1, it has larger capacity, higher speed and extremely low latency. With Bluetooth 5.3 technology, reduce power consumption and offer a fast and stable transmission.
  • 【NGFF M.2 2230 Interface】 Enables Key A or E M.2 socket to attach the module. (Not for Key M and B, Key M and B are used in SSD). Please make sure there is M.2 Connector in your laptop.

4. Intel Wireless-Ac 9260 – Best Intel Wi-Fi Card for Laptop

Want a laptop Wi-Fi card upgrade for an 8th Generation Intel Core processor or higher? Well, we’ve got the perfect match: the Intel Wireless-Ac 9260 card. It’s ideal if your laptop lacks the M.2: CNVio System Interface Type.

A dual-band (5GHz + 2.4GHz) Wi-Fi 5 wireless provides an impressive speed of up to 1.73 Gbps at 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Enjoy 4K streaming or gaming lag-free! While its 2×2 802.11ac technology comes as a power-saving champ, giving you extended battery life for your laptop.

And don’t let its Bluetooth 5.0 fool you—it may be lower than the models we mentioned earlier, but it still delivers impressive connectivity. And guess what? This card doesn’t skimp on Bluetooth range and supports previous Bluetooth generations. With MU-MIMO on board, your wireless network stays stable and reliable.

Plus, it comes in a compact M.2 2230 form factor, allowing for easy system configuration and platform flexibility. You can attach the card conveniently to your laptop using a standard Key A or E socket, allowing you to adapt and customize your setup as needed.

During rigorous testing, we installed the card in the ASUS ROG Flow Z13 (GZ301) laptop/Windows 10/6bit. We used the TP-Link Archer AX50 router, and at close quarters, the card displayed a maximum download speed of 867 Mbps/108.38 MB/s at 5GHz.

The Saints  Row 3 download took 4 minutes and 56 seconds. When we moved our laptop 50 feet away from the router and put two walls in between, the download speed dropped to 622 Mbps/77.75 MB/s. However, the League of Legends we were playing showed no noticeable lagging.

The main drawback of the Intel Wireless-Ac 9260 card is that it lacks vPro technology, making it vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Intel Wireless-Ac 9260, 2230, 2X2 Ac+Bt, Gigabit, No Vpro
  • No vPro Technology
  • Intel recommended wireless solution for 8th Generation Intel Core processors (older PC or other processors may not work)
  • Bluetooth 5

5. Alfa Network High-Efficiency Intel AX200U – Best Wi-Fi Card for Laptop under $100

If you’re looking for the best Wi-Fi cards for laptops under $100, the Alfa Network High-Efficiency Intel AX200U packs a punch without emptying your wallet. It is one of the best PCIe Wi-Fi cards for laptops with a dual-band (5GHz + 2.4GHz) Wi-Fi 6 wireless network.

With speeds reaching up to a whopping 2.4 Gbps at 5GHz and 574 Mbps at 2.4GHz, you’ll be zooming through your internet activities in no time. And let’s not forget about the built-in Bluetooth 5 module and its sleek half-size mini PCIe form factor.

Both features make this card a perfect all-in-one solution for seamless wireless connectivity and easy installation. A Target Wake Time (TWT) function also saves battery timing, while features like MU-MIMO and OFDMA allow for a lag-free online experience.

What’s more, it features 2 x IPEX/U.FL antenna connectors that also support legacy devices. These antennas allow you to experience the advantages of cutting-edge wireless technologies across a diverse range of devices.

Not to mention Alfa AX200U is backward compatible with the older IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards. It also well with Windows 10, Linux, and Chrome operating systems.

In testing, we installed the Alfa AX200U card in our Dell Latitude E7470 laptop without any hassle. Next, we tested its performance at close quarters, and it displayed a whopping 985 Mbps/123.13 MB/s download speed at 5GHz. The Spec Ops: The Line download took around 3 minutes and 21 seconds.

When we moved 50 feet away, the download speed fell to 687 Mbps/85.86 MB/s, which is still excellent. At 2.4GHz and 20 feet away from the router, it showed a 327 Mbps/40.9 MB/s download speed. The only drawback to Alfa Network High-Efficiency Intel AX200U card is its incompatibility with laptops that don’t have a mini PCIe slot.

High-Efficiency Intel AX200U Mini PCIe WiFi6 and BT5 Card, 2× IPEX/U.FL (AWPCIE-AX200U)
  • Intel AX200 WiFi6 and BT5 module
  • Half-size mini PCIe form factor
  • PCIe x1 (WiFi) and USB 2.0 (BT) interfaces
  • 2× IPEX/U.FL antenna connectors
  • Operating Systems: Windows 10, Linux, Chrome OS

6. NETELY Wireless-AC 8265NGW – Best Wi-Fi Card for Laptop under $50

If you’re tight on budget, the NETELY Wireless-AC 8265NGW is one of the best Wi-Fi cards for laptops under $50. It brings the ultimate bang for your buck with its two internal antennas and impressive Wi-Fi 5 dual-band (5GHz + 2.4 GHz) that zooms up to 1200 Mbps.

Where the 5GHz band gets a generous 867Mbps, the 2.4GHz band is allocated a solid 300Mbps. What’s more, it comes bundled with a Wi-Fi Audio Adapter for seamless audio source transmission to your Wi-Fi headset, TWS earphones, soundbars, and speakers.

The NETLEY card is compatible with Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and the latest Windows 11 (64bit). But you’ll need to install Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Audio drivers before installing the card. Moreover, it also supports Linux kernel 4.6+ systems and IEEE 802.11 ac standards.

It comes with robust Wi-Fi encryption like 64-bit and 128-bit WEP, AES-CCMP, and TKIP and features MU-MIMO technology, allowing multiple devices to communicate simultaneously and safely. Compatible with laptops made after 2015 and supporting NGFF M2 A-E key slots, it’s a steal you won’t regret. 

In our tests, the NETELY card installed in our Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (9th Gen) laptop delivered an impressive download speed of 721 Mbps/90.13 MB/s at 5GHz. We observed this remarkable performance when the laptop was close to the TP-Link Archer AX21 router.

The card also performed well while downloading Max Payne 2, completing the task in just 6 minutes and 51 seconds. However, at a distance of 50 feet with two walls in between, the download speed dropped to 587 Mbps/73.38 MB/s.

It’s worth noting that while it offers commendable performance for a budget Wi-Fi 5 card, it does have limitations. Its major cons are the lack of Bluetooth support, non-removable internal antennas, and support for only NGFF M2 A-E key slots.

NETELY Wireless-AC 8265NGW NGFF M2 Interface WiFi Adapter
  • 1. Add IEEE 802.11AC WiFi 5 1200Mbps (2.4GHz 300Mbps and 5GHz 867Mbps) dual band network card on laptop PCs for online gaming, video streaming, internet surfing.
  • 2. Come with WiFi Audio Adapter for WiFi headset, TWS earphones, soundbars, speakers etc audio source transmission.
  • 3. Compatible systems: Windows 7(32/64bit), Windows 8, 8.1, 10, 11 64bit need to install WiFi and WiFi Audio driver. Supports Linux kernel 4.6+ systems (Need compile).

If you want a mini-Wi-Fi card, the nifty TP-Link Archer T5E will fit into any type of laptop. It features a dual-band Wi-Fi 5 network with a maximum speed of 1,200 Mbps, where 867 Mbps is allocated to 5GHz and 300 Mbps to 2.4 GHz.

Despite its compact size, it comes with both low-profile and standard height brackets, ensuring compatibility with various laptop sizes. What’s more, it offers Bluetooth 4.2 support which is less than other Wi-Fi cards mentioned earlier. However, it still covers the essentials.

The TP-Link Archer T5E works well with Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7 (32/64 bit) and is compatible with the WEP, WPA/WPA2 security encryption. To top it off, it includes two external high-gain antennas that provide extended coverage and improved stability.

During our testing phase, we examined the performance of the TP-Link Archer T5E Wi-Fi card in conjunction with the MSI GT76 Titan laptop and TP-Link Archer AX21 router.

When positioned near, the card achieved an impressive download speed of 764 Mbps/95.5 MB/s, allowing us to download Far Cry 2 in a swift 6 minutes and 26 seconds. However, as we moved 50 feet away with two walls in between, the download speed decreased to 611 Mbps/76.38 MB/s, which is still commendable for a Wi-Fi 5 card.

Notably, during our League of Legends gameplay, we experienced no lag or high latency issues. It’s important to note the TP-Link Archer T5E may not be compatible with laptops lacking a PCIex1 slot as it is only available in high-performance gaming laptops.

Additionally, certain laptops may not support external antennas, which is a potential limitation to consider.

TP-Link AC1200 PCIe WiFi Card for PC
  • Super-Fast Speed – Make full use of your network with AC1200 WiFi speeds (867 Mbps on the 5GHz band and 300 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)
  • Bluetooth 4.2 – Achieve 2.5× faster speed and 10× more packet capacity than Bluetooth 4.0
  • Broad Wireless Range – Connect to your WiFi from further away with two external high-gain antennas ensuring greater range and enhanced stability

8. WISE TIGER AX210NGW – Best Laptop Wi-Fi Card for 4K Streaming

If you’re all about that HD and 4K streaming life and demand a low-latency Wi-Fi card, look no further than the WISE TIGER AX210NGW. This wireless network card rocks the Wi-Fi 6E standard and boasts a tri-band signal spanning 6GHz, 5GHz, and 2.4GHz.

It provides a bandwidth allocation of 574Mbps for 2.4GHz, 2400Mbps for 5GHz, and another 2400Mbps for 6GHz. Moreover, this lightning-fast card is a streaming enthusiast’s dream, ensuring your movies and shows load faster than you can say “buffering.”

Its built-in technology guarantees responsiveness and paves the way for silky-smooth 4K streaming. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.3, delivering larger capacity, higher speed, and incredibly low latency.

This card is backward compatible with older Bluetooth versions till 4.0 and also supports Windows 10/11 (64-bit). For security, it features WPA3 encryption and supports Intel CPUs and newer AMD CPUs. Just make sure your laptop has that NGFF M.2 2230 Interface to ensure compatibility.

During our extensive testing, we effortlessly installed the WISE TIGER AX210NGW card into the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (9th Gen) laptop. We closely monitored its performance and obtained impressive results.

At close range to our Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 router, the card achieved a blazing-fast download speed of 987 Mbps/123.38 MB/s on the 6GHz frequency band. To further evaluate its capabilities, we moved the laptop approximately 50 feet away from the router.

Even at this distance, the card maintained a respectable download speed of 821 Mbps/102.63 MB/s. Notably, when streaming 4K content on Netflix, we experienced seamless playback without any buffering or lag. Moreover, the WISE TIGER AX210NGW lived up to its promise of low latency.

We tested it during an online Apex Legends gaming session and encountered no significant issues or disruptions. However, it’s worth noting that the WISE TIGER AX210NGW is limited—it is only compatible with laptops equipped with an M.2 connector.

AX210NGW WiFi Card, Wi-Fi 6E 11AX Wireless Module
  • 【AX210 Wi-Fi 6E Card】Adopts the upcoming Wi-Fi 6E standard, provides tri-band (2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz) signal. Max Speed up to 574Mbps @2.4GHz + 2400Mbps @5GHz +2400Mbps @6GHz.
  • 【Bluetooth 5.3 Version】 Compared with Blue-tooth 5.1, it has larger capacity, higher speed and extremely low latency. With Bluetooth 5.3 technology, reduce power consumption and offer a fast and stable transmission.
  • 【NGFF M.2 2230 Interface】 Enables Key A or E M.2 socket to attach the module. (Not for Key M and B, Key M and B are used in SSD). Please make sure there is M.2 Connector in your laptop.

Comparison Table

Wi-Fi CardWi-Fi StandardFrequency Bands/ GHzAll Bands Speed/ MbpsConnectorRating/10
TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000Wi-Fi 6Dual Band (2.4GHz, 5GHz) 3000 MbpsM.29.5
Ubit Wi-Fi 6E AX210SWi-Fi 6ETri-Band (2.4GHz, 5GHz, 6GHz) 5400 MbpsPCIe9.5
WISE TIGER AX210NGWWi-Fi 6ETri-Band (2.4GHz, 5GHz, 6GHz) 5400 MbpsM.29.5
OKN Wi-Fi 6E AX210 NGWWi-Fi 6ETri-Band (2.4GHz, 5GHz, 6GHz) 5400 MbpsM.29.5
Alfa Network High-Efficiency Intel AX200UWi-Fi 6Dual Band (2.4GHz, 5GHz)2400 MbpsMini-PCIe9.0
Intel Wireless-AC 9260Wi-Fi 5Dual Band (2.4GHz, 5GHz) 1733MbpsM.29.0
TP-Link Archer T5EWi-Fi 5Dual Band (2.4GHz, 5GHz) 1200 MbpsPCIe9.0
NETELY Wireless-AC 8265NGWWi-Fi 5Dual Band (2.4GHz, 5GHz)1200 MbpsM.28.5

How to Choose a Wireless Network Card for Your Laptop?

To choose a wireless network card for your laptop, you’ll need to consider some factors such as:

  • Form Factor – Determine the size and shape of the wireless network card compatible with your laptop, such as M.2, PCIe, or mini PCIe. This ensures it fits into the available slot. The M2 is the most recent form factor in laptops, and the mini-PCIe is smaller but designed specifically for slim laptops.

On the other hand, PCIe slots are very rare in laptops but are available in high-performing gaming or customized laptops. In addition, the Wi-Fi card supports the interface used by your laptop, such as PCIe or M.2. This guarantees proper connectivity.

  • Determine the Desired Wi-Fi Standard – Consider the latest Wi-Fi standards like Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) or Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) for faster speeds, improved performance, and better network efficiency. If you have older devices that use older Wi-Fi standards, ensure the network card supports backward compatibility for seamless connectivity.
  • Dual-Bands or Tri-Bands – Determine if the network card supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands or offers an additional 6GHz band for faster and less congested connections. Also, consider the card’s range capabilities to ensure optimal coverage and signal strength in your intended usage environment.
  • Speed and Performance – Look for maximum data transfer rates: Higher Mbps (Megabits per second) values indicate faster downloading, streaming, and online gaming speeds.

Consider the number of spatial streams. More streams, often indicated as 2×2 or 3×3, allow for better performance in crowded environments with multiple devices.

  • Support for MU-MIMO and OFDMA – Look for wireless network cards with antennas and support for MU-MIMO and OFDMA technologies. They enhance signal strength, coverage, and overall performance in multi-device scenarios and eliminate latency and lagging.
  • Operating System Compatibility – Ensure drivers are available for your specific laptop’s operating system (e.g., Windows, macOS, Linux) to ensure seamless installation and functionality.
  • Additional Features – If you need to connect Bluetooth devices like headphones or speakers, choose a Wi-Fi card supporting Bluetooth functionality. Furthermore, consider wireless network cards with advanced security protocols like WPA3 for improved protection against unauthorized access.

Is a Wi-Fi Card Better than a Wi-Fi USB?

The decision between a Wi-Fi card and a Wi-Fi USB depends on your specific needs and budget. If you prioritize performance and reliability, a Wi-Fi card is recommended. However, a Wi-Fi USB may be more suitable if portability is crucial. To make the decision more convenient for you, check out the chart below:

 Wi-Fi CardWi-Fi USB
PerformanceBetter performance due to direct connection to the motherboardGenerally lower performance due to USB connection
ReliabilityMore reliable with less interferenceMore susceptible to interference
InstallationEasier installation through a PCIe slot on the motherboardSimple plug-and-play via USB port
PriceTypically more expensiveGenerally more affordable
PortabilityLess portable, as they are installed inside the computerMore portable, easy to use with multiple devices

FAQs – Best Wireless Network Cards for Laptops

Can I Put Any Wi-Fi Card in My Laptop?

No, you cannot, as it depends on various factors. So, before purchasing a Wi-Fi card, you should consider the following:

  1. Verify the laptop Wi-Fi card compatibility with the slots used by your laptop (e.g., PCIe, M.2, mini PCIe).
  2. Ensure that the Wi-Fi card has drivers available for your laptop’s operating system (e.g., Windows, macOS, Linux).
  3. Some laptops have a BIOS whitelist that limits the use of specific Wi-Fi cards. Check if your laptop has a whitelist and confirm that the Wi-Fi card you intend to install is supported.
  4. Consider whether your laptop has the necessary antenna connectors or provisions for attaching antennas, as some Wi-Fi cards require external antenna connections.

Do Different Wi-Fi Cards Make a Difference?

Yes, different Wi-Fi cards can make a difference in terms of performance, features, and compatibility. Here are some factors that can vary among Wi-Fi cards:

  1. Wi-Fi standard (such as 802.11n, 802.11ac, or 802.11ax) for varying speeds.
  2. Frequency bands (such as dual-band or tri-band) for reduced interference and faster connections.
  3. Antenna configuration (including MU-MIMO support) for improved signal strength.
  4. Additional features like Bluetooth connectivity and compatibility with your laptop’s available slots and interface.

Does It Matter What Wi-Fi Adapter I Get?

Yes, it does matter what Wi-Fi adapter you get. The choice of a Wi-Fi adapter is important as it directly impacts your wireless connection’s speed, range, and reliability.

Factors to consider include the Wi-Fi standard (e.g., 802.11ac), the number of antennas for improved signal strength, and additional features like Bluetooth or dual-band support.

Is a Wi-Fi Card Better than Ethernet?

Whether a Wi-Fi card or Ethernet connection is better depends on various factors and specific use cases. Wi-Fi is wireless and offers convenience but can be slower and less reliable in interference-prone areas.

On the other hand, Ethernet is a wired connection that provides reliability and faster speeds, but it requires cables and can be more complex to set up. If you prioritize speed and reliability, Ethernet is recommended, while Wi-Fi is more suitable for convenience and ease of use.

Do Laptop Wi-Fi Cards Go Bad?

Yes, like any electronic component, laptop Wi-Fi cards can also go bad. Physical impacts, such as accidental drops and electrical surges, can cause damage to the card. Besides, as technology advances and new Wi-Fi standards emerge, older Wi-Fi cards may become outdated and inefficient.


If you’re tired of sluggish Wi-Fi and want to turbocharge your laptop’s internet speed, consider upgrading your Wi-Fi card. Our thorough testing and evaluation have brought forth the top 8 wireless network cards for laptops in 2023 which we’ve listed above. Take your pick and transform your browsing, streaming, and gaming experiences.

Whether you’re a 4K streaming aficionado, a hardcore gamer, or simply looking for a budget-friendly option, we have a Wi-Fi card for every use case. So eliminate your Wi-Fi woes and embrace the fast and furious world of wireless connectivity.

Andrew is arguably the geekiest member of our team. He has a knack for new gaming hardware and awesome gadgets. Although Overwatch is his current favorite, he thinks the Counter Strike Global Offensive is the best shooter of all times. He is constantly hunting for news about new hero releases and patches. Andrew believes that playing video games is not just a hobby but a way of life. He regards his job at RealGear as a way of helping fellow gamers make the most of their gameplay by writing reviews about the hardware he uses and the FPS/ RTS he plays.

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