Asus launches a $70 Wi-F 6 network card to boost your desktop’s wireless speed

(Image credit: Asus)

Asus has gone and quietly introduced a PCI Express expansion card (PCE-AX3000) that adds Wi-Fi 6 connectivity to your desktop PC. Under the right circumstances, it can boost the wireless speed of your system, though other gear is required.

Namely, you also need a Wi-Fi 6 router to take full advantage of a Wi-Fi 6 adapter. The reason why is because Wi-Fi 6 is a next-generation standard (also known as 802.11ax) that introduces features not supported by previous generation Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) hardware.

The biggest benefit of Wi-Fi 6 is that it is better equipped to handle multiple devices at the same time. A typical home might have up to around a dozen connected devices, when you factor in desktops, laptops, smart TVs, game consoles, smartphones, smart speakers, tablets, and everything else. Wi-Fi 6 was designed with this in mind.

There's also a very big caveat—to fully utilize Wi-Fi 6's benefits, both the router and host adapters have to support the standard. The vast majority of wireless devices have not yet adopted Wi-Fi 6. So, plopping a Wi-F6 6 network card into your desktop will have a limited benefit, even if you've also purchased a Wi-Fi 6 router.

This is more about future proofing, as far as that is possible. The good news is, Wi-Fi 6 hardware is backwards compatible, so you could install the PCE-AX3000 into your desktop and connect to your Wi-Fi 5 router just fine.

At full bore, the PCE-AX3000 supports speeds of up to 2,402Mbps on the 5GHz channel and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz channel. It also offers Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.

Pricing is a little steep, though. It's available to preorder on Amazon for $69.99, and will be "in stock on November 24." It's based on an Intel AX200 M.2 Wi-Fi module that sells for around $20, so you're basically paying extra for the PCIe card form factor and external antennas.

It's also one of the more expensive PCIe card solutions, even without factoring in potential Black Friday deals that might loom around the corner.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).