Tech Essentials

The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Wireless Network Card for Gaming

A wireless network card is an essential component for PC gamers who want to play online games without being tethered to an ethernet cable. Choosing the right wireless network card can make a huge difference in ping, latency, and overall online gaming performance.

This comprehensive guide will go over everything you need to know to find and choose the best wireless network card for gaming.

Why You Need a Good Wireless Network Card for Gaming

Wireless Network Card Gaming

A wireless network card allows your gaming PC to connect to your home Wi-Fi network and access the internet without cumbersome cables.

The main reason to get a dedicated wireless network card for gaming instead of using the built-in card on your motherboard is improved connectivity and speed.

Integrated wireless cards, especially on budget motherboards, often have poor antennas and outdated wireless standards. This leads to slower speeds, unstable connections and high ping or latency while online gaming.

A high-quality PCIe or USB wireless network card can provide:

  • Faster overall Wi-Fi speeds
  • More reliable connections
  • Lower latency for online games
  • Better range and signal strength

So if you notice frequent lag, latency spikes or disconnects during online games, upgrading to a gaming-focused wireless network card can help resolve those issues.

How to Choose the Best Wireless Network Card for Gaming

There are a few key factors to evaluate when picking out the ideal wireless card for gaming:

Wireless Standard

Wi-Fi 6

Newer Wi-Fi standards like Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) offer faster theoretical maximum speeds and more stable wireless connections:

  • Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) – Up to 3 Gbps
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) – Up to 9.6 Gbps
  • Wi-Fi 6E – Up to 14 Gbps

Wi-Fi 6 also has optimizations like OFDMA that help reduce latency. This is key for gaming.

Ideally, get a wireless card that supports Wi-Fi 6 or the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard.


Most gaming PCs with modern GPUs are connected via Gigabit Ethernet which maxes out at ~1 Gbps.

For a good gaming experience, your wireless connection should match or exceed wired Ethernet speeds:

  • Minimum of 867 Mbps (Wi-Fi 5)
  • 1200 Mbps or higher recommended (Wi-Fi 6)

Higher speeds give you room to handle gaming traffic smoothly.

Latency and Stability

Optimize for the lowest ping times and latency variability when gaming online. Cards with QoS (Quality of Service) prioritize gaming network traffic.

Dual-band 2.4Ghz/5Ghz cards allow you to connect on congestion-free 5Ghz for fewer ping spikes.


External antennas with high gain improve range and signal strength. This results in faster speeds and more reliable connections across your home.

Form Factor

PCIe cards offer the best performance. USB wireless adapters are more portable if you game on a laptop.

Other Features

Look for gaming-centric features like Heat sinks for cooling, and Bluetooth for wireless controllers.

Best Wireless Network Cards for Gaming in 2023

Based on the criteria above, here are our top recommendations:

Overall Best – Asus PCE-AX58BT


The Asus PCE-AX58BT PCIe card is the top choice for its excellent balance of wireless performance, gaming features and value.

It supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard with speeds up to 2400 Mbps on the 5Ghz band. This enables lag-free online gaming and streaming.

The detachable antenna base provides great coverage across medium to large homes. And the card has a QoS engine to prioritize gaming network traffic and reduce latency.

Asus has crammed in other useful extras like Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility for wireless controllers/headsets, and a heat sink to keep the card running cool under load.

For its mix of fast Wi-Fi 6 speeds, low gaming latency, and reliability, the Asus PCE-AX58BT is a superb wireless network card pick for gaming.

Speed: Up to 2400Mbps (Wi-Fi 6)
Antennas: 2x external
Ports: PCIe x1
Other Features: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, QoS, Heatsink

Runner Up – TP-Link Archer TX50E

The TP-Link Archer TX50E is a close second choice that shares many of the same gaming-focused features as our top pick.

It matches the Asus card with support for fast Wi-Fi 6 connections up to 2400 Mbps on the 5Ghz band. So you can game and stream lag-free.

The Archer TX50E also has a similar dual external antenna design with great range throughout your home. And you get fancy extras like an RGB light strip.

The main downside is that Bluetooth support is strangely missing on this TP-Link model. But for sheer wireless gaming performance per dollar, the Archer TX50E puts up impressive specs.

Speed: Up to 2400Mbps (Wi-Fi 6)
Antennas: 2x external
Ports: PCIe x1
Other Features: Wi-Fi 6, RGB lighting

Best Budget – Edimax EW-7833UAC

If you want reliable Wi-Fi speeds at a cheaper price, look no further than Edimax’s EW-7833UAC.

While this tiny USB adapter isn’t quite as fast as PCIe cards, it can still hit up to 1900Mbps speeds on Wi-Fi 5 networks. More than enough performance for online gaming and streaming HD video.

It’s plug-and-play easy to set up. And the reversible USB-C connector makes it convenient to plug in without fumbling around.

For a budget-friendly wireless upgrade to your gaming PC or laptop, the Edimax EW-7833UAC punches well above its weight.

Speed: Up to 1900Mbps (Wi-Fi 5)
Antennas: 2x internal
Ports: USB 3.0 Type-C Other Features: Wi-Fi 5, Dual-band

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get a wireless network card or use Ethernet?

For the absolute best gaming experience, a wired Ethernet connection is still preferable to Wi-Fi in terms of speed and stability.

However, a good quality wireless network card with gaming features can come close in performance. And it avoids running long ethernet cables through your home.

Are external antennas better for gaming?

Yes, wireless cards with external antenna connectors typically perform better for gaming. You can position the antennas for better signal strength. And upgrading to a high-gain antenna further improves range and speeds.

Does latency matter for online gaming?

Absolutely. High latency or frequent ping spikes will wreck your gaming experience. Optimizing lag and latency is a key reason to upgrade your wireless card. Prioritize cards with QoS, gaming modes and the latest Wi-Fi standards.

Should I get Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6?

Get a Wi-Fi 6 wireless network card if possible. The jump from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6 improves speeds and reduces latency. Wi-Fi 6 is optimized better for gaming.

Don’t Game With Lag – Upgrade Your Wireless Card!

A wired connection will always be best for competitive online gaming. But with the right wireless network card, you can still frag at low pings through the air.

The top gaming Wi-Fi cards combine fast speeds, optimized gaming traffic and great signal coverage. Give your PC or laptop a wireless speed boost and kiss lag goodbye with one of the 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 cards in our recommendations.

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