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Netgear’s new Nighthawk USB dongle can add 6GHz Wi-Fi to your PC for $89.99

Netgear’s new Nighthawk USB dongle can add 6GHz Wi-Fi to your PC for $89.99

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If your home network already has Wi-Fi 6E but your computer doesn’t, just plug this in

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A black USB thumb drive-looking device with the Netgear logo is floating above a small matching docking station as if it’s about to be plugged in. There’s a cable that is coming from the rear of the dock and is coiled and terminating with a blue USB-A male connector.
The Netgear Wi-Fi 6E USB adapter comes with a docking station for better placement.
Image: Netgear

Netgear is releasing its most capable networking USB dongle yet, the first one that can add 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 6GHz wireless connectivity to laptops or desktops.

While plenty of laptops and devices have been released in the past year that are capable of Wi-Fi 6 (5GHz), only the latest ones are shipping with higher bandwidth Wi-Fi 6E. If you’ve already upgraded your router, then the Nighthawk will connect your existing devices to a dedicated 6GHz lane. It still runs at a maximum 1,200Mbps, just like 5GHz Wi-Fi, but it’s more likely to consistently hit those high speeds on the new frequency.

The Netgear A8000 folds out for better reception.
The Netgear A8000 folds out for better reception.
Image: Netgear

If you need Wi-FI 6E on your desktop, it’s easier to set up the Nighthawk by just plugging one in as opposed to installing an internal PCI-E Wi-Fi 6E card — though those could have much faster overall connection speeds due to their multiantenna design. But unless you’re just aching for 6GHz capability, then you could just get a cheaper Wi-Fi 6 or even Wi-Fi 5 dongle to fit 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 own Nighthawk RAXE500 and the Orbi AXE11000 mesh routers are pricey options ranging from about $600 to $1,500, but there are cheaper alternatives now, like the Eero Pro 6E that starts at $299, and soon, we may see one that’s even cheaper with the leaked Nest Pro.