There are few things worse than lag when playing competitive online games. And I’m not talking about the “lag” you happen to experience whenever you go a goal down in FIFA or deal 7 damage with a Mastiff in the final fight of an Apex Legends match. No, I’m talking about proper lag, where opponents are glitching across the map as your game tries catching up, and you genuinely can’t track their movement.
Checking with your ISP should be your first port of call, and making sure your Internet speeds are up to scratch. But if you’re getting a good deal on your router and still struggling, checking your connection is your next best bet. Obviously, an Ethernet cable provides the best speeds, but that’s not always practical.
My office stroke gaming space is upstairs, and I’m just not draping an Ethernet cable all the way from my living room downstairs. It’s a trip hazard more than anything, but also would require buying a ~30m cable. Instead, I opt for a powerful Wi-Fi adapter to plug into my PC. Most won’t quite match the speeds of Ethernet connection, but the D-Link AX1800 comes close.
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D-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi USB Adapter Review
Setting up the adapter is a doddle. It’s basically plug-in and play, after installing a quick setup file housed on the USB. In under a minute, the adapter is working, and I get straight to streaming. An initial speed test shows I’ve got 146mbps download speed and 78mbps upload.
My broadband provider says my speeds can reach three times that, but they've never materialised, and this initial test puts me at around 30mbps slower downloads than my previous adapter with the same upload speed.
However, the real test is not in numbers but in real life use. I loaded up a Twitch stream and a 4K YouTube video (scenic helicopter footage of Hawaii, if you’re interested) which both played without a hitch. Considering there's a bunch of other devices also connected to the Internet in my house, including a 4K television and multiple mobile devices, this is no mean feat.
The adapter was even more impressive when I loaded up a few games of Apex Legends, alongside the above videos. My speeds didn’t dip at all, and any lag was imperceptible. If you’re not playing LAN, then this adapter is a no-brainer for climbing the Apex Legends ranks or competing in online tournaments.
While the speedy Wi-Fi 6 (a first for a USB adapter) is the obvious selling point of the AX1800, I feel it’s important to note the speed that the USB connects to the Internet. Previous adapters have taken a couple of minutes to set up and get going after turning on my PC, but that isn’t a problem with D-Link’s latest.
It’s refreshing to be able to jump straight onto the Internet when my PC turns on, especially for those mornings when you get to your desk, brew in hand, with only a minute to spare before your working day is due to start.
The adapter itself is small, stylish, and sturdy. The small size means that you won’t accidentally knock it out of place and disconnect at an important moment, and also helps if you’re taking your laptop to a café or need internet on the move.
Whether streaming or gaming, working from home or video calling on the go, the D-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 USB Adapter is one of the best options to access the best Internet speeds when it matters. A competitive price of around £50 on Amazon further endears me to the nifty piece of kit.
There are few downsides to the AX1800: while I’ve had faster adapters in the past, the easy set-up and compact design are improvements on many rivals. Lag-free gaming and 4K streaming are a breeze, so all that’s left to do is channel your inner hedgehog and go fast.