Netgear is releasing its most capable network USB dongle yet, the first capable of adding the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard to many modern PCs. The company’s new $89.99 Nighthawk A8000 is a USB 3.0 adapter that can easily add interference-free 6 GHz wireless connectivity to laptops or desktops.
Although many Wi-Fi 6 (5GHz) enabled laptops and devices have been released in the past year, only the latest ones come with higher Wi-Fi 6E bandwidth. If you’ve already upgraded your router, the Nighthawk will connect your existing devices to a dedicated 6GHz lane. It still operates at a maximum of 1200Mbps, as does 5GHz Wi-Fi, but it’s more likely to hit those high speeds consistently on the new frequency.
If you need Wi-Fi 6E on your desk, it’s easier to set up the Nighthawk by simply plugging one in instead of installing an internal PCI-E Wi-Fi 6E card – although these may have Much faster overall connection speeds due to their multi-antenna design. But unless you’re just looking for 6GHz capability, you can just get a cheaper Wi-Fi 6 or even Wi-Fi 5 dongle to suit your needs instead of this one.
To take full advantage of the Nighthawk A8000, you’ll need a PC running Windows 11 and a Wi-Fi 6E router. Netgear’s Nighthawk RAXE500 and Orbi AXE11000 mesh routers are expensive options ranging from around $600 to $1,500, but there are now cheaper alternatives, like the Eero Pro 6E which starts at $299, and soon, we may see an even cheaper one with the leak. NestPro.