The Bottom Line
With 802.11ac now getting a solid foothold in the market, all sorts of adapters are enabling consumers to upgrade their devices to the latest tech. One of the more recent solutions to come from Linksys is the WUSB6100m, a dual-band adapter that despite its micro form factor packs a punch.
The WUSB6100m offers 150 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 433 Mbps on the 5GHz band. Additional technologies such as MU-MIMO and Beamforming bring this device into the future of wireless technology along with being one of the most portable solutions with its micro form factor. Compatibility of this solution at this point sits with Windows PCs and laptops with no mention if OS X will be supported in the future.
MSRP of the Linksys WUSB6100m sits at $69.99 with a one-year warranty.
As you can see above, Linksys was kind enough to send over four adapters. Mainly so I can test the MU-MIMO functionality of their new router. Packaging is ready for retail with an image of the adapter on the front and plenty of marketing to inform the consumer.
On the edge of the box is a full specs list with a few features added in there.
Opening the package, the scope of delivery is simple. We have a disk with software and a quick guide for getting it setup.
The front of the adapter houses a small LED at the top with Linksys branding at the bottom.
On the backside, regulatory information along with model numbers.
Looking at the USB port end, it appears to be a USB 2.0 compliant setup.
To set up the adapter, you can either do a driver only install via device manager or go through this installation wizard.
The setup wizard has a just a few short step that takes about five minutes, and you are ready to go.
To test the adapter, I did it in three parts one for each band this device is capable of. The 2.4GHz testing showed performance around 100 to 125 Mbps while the 5GHz 40MHz band touch close to 150 Mbps. Switching over to the 80MHz band, I was able to get this adapter to peak at 230 Mbps.
For the most part, wireless adapters are so common we don't necessarily think of the performance impact devices like these can have on our computing experience. With MU-MIMO emerging as one of the top wireless technologies vendors are baking into their devices, it's paramount to have a client side solution to take advantage of the benefits this technology can provide. With the WUSB6100M, Linksys had successfully deployed a capable solution for this purpose and has done it at an incredible price point. The build quality of this solution is top notch, and I really haven't had any issues with these devices other than Windows flipping out when you try to install more than one on a single PC.
The performance was quite good on all bands with the 2.4GHz band producing near 125 Mbps while 5GHz 802.11n reached 150 Mbps and 80MHz 802.11ac topped 200 Mbps. With all that said, the Linksys WUSB6100M is certainly my recommendation for a small form factor USB adapter. And if they could only get OS X supported, I'd be all set.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Z170 Premium - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i5 6500 - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: Klevv CRAS 16GB (4x4) DDR4 3000 - Read our review
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS Storage: Intel 730 480GB SSD - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Secondary Storage: Intel 750 400GB U.2 SSD - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Thermaltake P5 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200 - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 - Buy from Amazon
|Quality including Design and Build||92%|
|Bundle and Packaging||90%|
|Value for Money||95%|
The Bottom Line: As far as technology goes, Linksys has a sure winner with MU-MIMO and Beamforming baked into a small form factor solution in the WUSB6100M.
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