D-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter (DWA-X1850): Fast and Affordable Wi-Fi Upgrade for Windows 10 PCs

Two-minute review

Technical sheet:

Wireless connectivity: WiFi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), dual band, 1.8 Gbit / s
Required configuration: PC with Windows 10, USB port available
Ports: 1x USB-A (3.2 Gen 1)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 12.7 x 30.0 x 95.5 mm, 0.024 kg

If you want to improve the performance of your home Wi-Fi network, it makes sense to upgrade to a new router that uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology (aka 802.11ax).

But, of course, many of us still use PCs that are only equipped with Wi-Fi 5 (formerly known as 802.11ac), and although your new Wi-Fi 6 router is still backward compatible with them. PCs and other devices that use Wi-Fi 5, you won’t get all the benefits of your new high speed router for those older devices.

That’s where D-Link comes in with its new AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter (DWA-X1850), which can upgrade your Windows 10 PC to Wi-Fi 6 for £ 52 / $ 69.99 / 149. , AU $ 95.

D-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter on a wooden table

(Image credit: Avenir)

Design and functionality

Looking a lot like a rather large USB dongle, the Wi-Fi Adapter 6 simply plugs into a USB port on your PC and provides a quick plug-and-play upgrade to high-performance Wi-Fi 6 technology. It actually contains a small amount of memory, which stores the adapter driver software, so you can just double-click the adapter in Windows File Explorer to view and install the drivers.

The adapter uses a USB-A connector, but our desktop laptop has both USB-A and USB-C ports, and we found that it also worked with the USB-C port when in use. with an appropriate USB-A-to-USB. Adapter C – although this is obviously not an ideal setup if you are traveling with a laptop.

We were also disappointed to find that D-Link’s website lists Windows 10 as a minimum requirement for using the Wi-Fi adapter 6. There are millions of older PCs still running Windows 7 and 8 that could benefit from a Wi-Fi upgrade like this, so limiting the adapter to only work with Windows 10 seems a bit short-sighted (and there’s no support either. Mac).

Intrepid, Your Intrepid Journalist had a chance to use the Wi-Fi Adapter 6 with an older desktop PC running Windows 8, which struggles with slow wi-fi when watching Netflix. We were able to install the drivers for the adapter, however, the Windows 8 Network Settings panel told us that the drivers were “not available” when we attempted to switch from the PC’s built-in wi-fi to the new D- Link adapter.

It’s of course possible to upgrade an older PC like this to Windows 10, but Windows 10 costs almost twice as much as the D-Link adapter itself, so it’s not a particularly tempting option. .

D-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter on a wooden table

(Image credit: Avenir)

Performance and start-up

Landmarks :

Laptop connected via Wi-Fi 6 (2.4 GHz)
Within 5 feet, no obstructions:
286.5 Mbps
At less than 30 feet, three partitions: 1200 Mbps

Laptop connected via Wi-Fi 6 (5.0 GHz)
Within 5 feet, no obstruction:
286.5 Mbps
At less than 30 feet, three partitions: 1200 Mbps

Buying many Wi-Fi 6 adapters for multiple PCs can be quite expensive, but if you have a laptop or PC that you use for gaming or working from home, and needs the best possible Wi-Fi performance, Then the D-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter is a quick and affordable upgrade (as long as you’re using Windows 10).

It only takes a few seconds to double-click the Setup.exe file stored on the adapter itself to install the driver software. However, D-Link’s one-page quick start guide doesn’t bother telling you that you need to locate and select the new Wi-Fi 6 adapter in your PC’s network settings in order to switch from Wi-Fi. integrated from your PC to the new Wi-Fi adapter 6.

It took us about 20 minutes to go through various menus and settings to figure out how to do this. So D-Link needs to provide better instructions for people who don’t have much networking experience.

Screenshot of the D-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter

(Image credit: Avenir)

As the name suggests, the AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter supports Wi-Fi 6 with a maximum speed of 1800 Mbps. It won’t break any speed records, and the low-cost adapter only uses dual-band Wi-Fi on the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands. However, Wi-Fi 6 isn’t just about speed, as it also offers greater reliability than Wi-Fi 5, so it’s still a nice upgrade if you already have one. Wi-Fi router 6. The adapter also supports the latest WPA3 security features.

And, after this hiccup during the initial setup process, the Wi-Fi Adapter 6 performed just fine. The performance tests we normally use with newer routers tend to focus on the download speed of the router, but for the Wi-Fi adapter 6 we had to focus specifically on the connection speed between our router and our router. laptop.

Screenshot of the D-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter

(Image credit: Avenir)

Starting with our normal Wi-Fi setup – using our normal Wi-Fi 5 router and the built-in Wi-Fi on our office laptop – we recorded connection speeds in the same room as the router, as well as in a back office where the Wi-Fi is still quite unreliable. With the laptop in the same room as the Wi-Fi router 5, its built-in Wi-Fi is connected at 130 Mbps when using the 2.4 GHz band and at 780 Mbps with the 5.0 GHz band faster.

However, those speeds dropped significantly – and rather erratically – when we moved into the back office, ultimately delivering average speeds of 78Mbps on 2.4GHz and 585Mbps on 5.0GHz.

The next step was to activate the D-Link Wi-Fi 6 adapter and use it to connect the laptop to a new Linksys Atlas Pro Wi-Fi 6 router. The connection speed on the 2.4 GHz band more than doubled, reaching 286.5 Mbps, while the 5.0 GHz connection reached the maximum of 1200 Mbps (1.2 Gbps) supported by the D-Link adapter on this frequency band.

And, more importantly, the D-Link adapter maintained these speeds both in the same room as the Linksys router, and also in our more remote back office – providing a much more reliable Wi-Fi connection than we did. we can normally get it from the built-in laptop. -in Wi-Fi.

D-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter on a wooden table

(Image credit: Avenir)

Buy it if …

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Harry D. Gonzalez