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Hands-on review: D-Link AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 PCIe Adapter

Thu, 22nd Apr 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

D-Link's DWA-X3000 AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 Adapter allows all PC users access to the new Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for faster network connections.

Most modern PCs will already be utilising Wi-Fi 6. If your PC is more than a couple of years old, you are likely still using ac or even n Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi 6 is up to 3x faster than its predecessor.

Of course, to benefit from Wi-Fi 6, you need to have a Wi-Fi 6 router. Most decent ISPs already supplying such a device to customers and there are a vast array of Wi-Fi 6 routers available for purchase. Chances are you already have the infrastructure in your home network for a Wi-Fi 6 connection. Older Wi-Fi devices are backward-compatible with Wi-Fi 6 technology.

The D-Link AX3000 Wi-Fi PCIe Adapter comes with everything you need to connect a desktop PC to a Wi-Fi network. The adapter also provides the latest Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity for connecting Bluetooth devices like headphones and gamepads to your PC.

The box contains the small PCIe Wi-Fi adapter, the free-standing 2x antenna unit, the Bluetooth 5.1 USB header connector, and the setup guide. There's also a low-profile mount for small case form factors.

The actual adapter was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, and thus should easily fit in most PC cases, even small builds. The card measures just 121mm x 79mm x 25m. The top of the card has a rather beefy-looking integrated heatsink. To the rear is a connector for the optional Bluetooth 5.1 cable. The antenna unit is connected to the PC via two RP-SMA connectors on the card mounting bracket.

Installation was easy. The card just pushes into one of the available PCIe x1 (or PCIe x4/PCIe x16)  slots. For Bluetooth 5.1 functionality a cable is connected to the rear of the card and a front-panel USB header on the motherboard. Most motherboards have a couple of these F-USB headers.

The antenna unit comes with one metre of RF cable for connecting to the adapter. This allowed me to place the antenna unit on the desk with the PC on the floor (I don't really recommend putting a PC on the floor, as they double up as a vacuum cleaner, filling the case with fluff).

There's enough cable to be able to place the antenna on a shelf for an optimal signal. The base of the antenna unit is magnetic, so you can even stick it on the side or top of your PC case. The actual omni-directional dual antennas can be adjusted as required.

The Wi-Fi adapter card has drivers for both Windows 10 and Linux provided on the included CD ROM. More up-to-date drivers, as well as a detailed manual, can be downloaded from the D-Link website. With the drivers installed the adapter connected to my Wi-Fi network without a hitch.

Installing the D-Link AX3000 Wi-Fi PCIe Adapter is a very simple upgrade to do. It provides both the latest Wi-Fi compatibility and Bluetooth 5.1 functionality for any PC with an available PCIe slot and (optionally for the Bluetooth) an F-USB header on the motherboard.

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