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Netgear Launches Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6E USB 3.0 Adapter For $90

Nighthawk AXE3000 USB 3.0 Adapter (A8000)
(Image credit: Netgear)

Wi-Fi 6E has yet to penetrate every facet of our wireless life like the preceding Wi-Fi 6 specification, but Netgear is making strides in that direction with its latest product release. Today, the company announced the Nighthawk AXE3000 USB 3.0 Adapter (A8000) (opens in new tab), which adds Wi-Fi 6E connectivity to your laptop or desktop.

Of course, you’ll need a Wi-Fi 6E router to take full advantage of the speed the A8000 offers. Once connected, the dedicated 6GHz band provides you with up to 1,200 Mbps of bandwidth. The A8000 also supports legacy 5GHz (up to 1,200 Mbps) and 2.4 GHz (up to 600 Mbps) bands for connecting to older networking hardware.

As you might expect from this high-speed networking device, the A8000 uses a USB 3.0 connection and a dongle form factor for quickly plugging into a free port on your laptop or desktop. Netgear also includes a USB cradle with a flip-open design so that you can position the adapter for the best possible reception and performance.

Nighthawk AXE3000 USB 3.0 Adapter (A8000)

(Image credit: Netgear)

For those unfamiliar with Wi-Fi 6E, the specification was first announced in 2020 as an extension of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). Wi-Fi 6E improves upon Wi-Fi 6 by supporting the 6GHz wireless spectrum in addition to the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The 6GHz band supports more capacity, features wider channels (up to 160MHz), and is not prone to interference from household electronics. 

While Wi-Fi 6E promises higher connection speeds, the “gotcha” is that its short wavelengths mean that increased bandwidth is limited to shorter distances, and signals are easily stymied by walls or flooring. Even though Wi-Fi 6E tops out at the same 1,200 Mbps as Wi-Fi 6, the performance of the former should be more consistent than the latter. 

Speaking of the Wi-Fi 6E support, we should note that it is extremely limited at this point. Macs are completely left out of supporting the 6GHz band on the A8000. In fact, only Windows 11 supports the 6GHz band at the moment — if you’re running macOS or Windows 10, the A8000 isn’t for you. But if you have a Windows 11 PC and are interested in the A8000, be sure to check out the best gaming routers for a perfect match.   

The Nighthawk AXE3000 USB 3.0 Adapter (A8000) is priced at $89.99 and will be available from major retailers and direct from Netgear later this month.

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.