Best Network Cards of 2020 – Reviews and Buying Guide

A network interface card is a connectivity device and without it, you can’t connect your computer to an internet connection. It is a circuit board and you have to install it on a computer. Network interface card (NIC) is also known as a network interface controller, network adapter, or LAN adapter. If you want a fast internet connection to your computer then it’s a wise decision to invest in the best network card.

Generally, a computer comes with a network card but they are often slower so you can replace the card with a gigabit network adapter and gives your computer the extra juice to run faster. If you are not sure which network card is best for your computer then read this article. Here I have discussed some of the best network interface cards of the market. I have also included a buyer’s guide so that you can easily understand how to choose the best network interface controller for your computer.

Check the bestseller top network Cards from Amazon. Just check the product link, the details, and price.

List of Best Network Cards of 2020

  1. TP-Link TL-WDN4800 N900 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter
  2. TP-LINK TG-3269 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit PCI Network Adapter
  3. TP-Link 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
  4. Intel Gigabit CT PCI-E Network Adapter
  5. TRENDnet 32-bit 10/100/1000Mbps Copper Gigabit PCI Adapter
  6. TP-Link AC1900 WiFi PCI-Express Wireless Network Card
  7. ASUS 4×4 802.11AC Wireless AC3100 PCIe Adapter
  8. Rosewill Wireless N300 PCI-E WiFi Adapter

TP-Link TL-WDN4800 N900 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter

If you are looking for a durable dual-band LAN adapter that will fit comfortably in most of the computers then TP-Link TL-WDN4800 N900 will be a great option for you. This network card is equipped with three inbuilt antennas and it ensures enhanced performance while playing online games or streaming videos. It supports plug and plays so you will find this NIC very easy to install and play. With this LAN card, you can achieve a maximum theoretical throughput of up to 450Mbps.

TP-Link TL-WDN4800 N900 supports dual-band, 2.4GHz, or 5GHz which is very important for online gaming. Moreover, you can also experience smoother video streaming by choosing the clearer 5GHz band for wireless connections. The advantage of using the 5GHz band is; it has less interference compared to the 2.4GHz band and it can provide a more stable wireless signal. This network card comes with a two-year warranty so you don’t have to worry about any manufacturer’s faults.

Key Specification

  • Brand: TP-Link
  • Item model number: TL-WDN4800
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 2.6 x 0.1 inches
  • Computer Memory Type: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Wi-Fi Speed Up to 900Mbps
  • Wireless Standard: 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Antennas: 3

TP-LINK TG-3269 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit PCI Network Adapter

This is an affordable adapter yet it is packed with the powerful 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit system. It has a low profile bracket design which makes it easier to install this network card on the computer. This network adapter has 32-bit BUS PCI which is the best you can get in this price range. TP-LINK TG-3269 supports remote boot and also features a durable jumbo frame. It also supports Auto-negotiation function so it can easily auto-negotiate 10mbps, 100mbps, or 1000mbps Speed. This NIC card is equipped with two large independent receive and transmit FIFOs.    

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This LAN card complies with the IEEE 802.3/802.3u/802.3ab Ethernet standard. The Jumbo frame support feature ensures more efficient data transmission as larger jumbo frames reduce strain on the CPU when transferring data. It also supports plug and plays so you can easily install it on your computer. It also has a LED status indicator so you can easily see the status of your network connection. It also supports ACPI, PCI power management which is very convenient. This network card supports Windows98/98se/2000/ME/NT/XP/2003/VISTA/7, 8, 10, Novell Netware/LINUX, etc.

Key Specification

  • Brand: TP-Link
  • Series: FBA_TG-3269
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 5.51 x 1.18 inches  
  • Wireless Standard: IEEE 802.1P, IEEE 802.1Q VLAN tag
  • Computer Memory Type: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Antennas: None

TP-Link 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express

This is another very powerful 10/100/1000Mbps express network card from TP-Link. This PCI Adapter will upgrade your Ethernet speed to Gigabit. Like the previous PCI network adapter, it also supports Auto-Negotiation and Auto MDI/MDIX. This network adapter is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP. It has a low profile and standard profile bracket so it works with both mini and standard size PCs.

This network card features the Gigabit PCI system so you can expect enhanced performance for most of the computer brands. It also supports IEEE802.1p, wake-on-LAN, and VLAN IEEE802.1q. This adapter is designed to support 10/100/1000Mbps network speed with Auto-Negotiation support. It is a highly integrated and cost-effective Gigabit Ethernet Adapter and if you want to upgrade your network then it is a great option.

Key Specification

  • Brand: TP-Link
  • Series: PCI-E
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 5.31 inches
  • Computer Memory Type: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Antennas: None
  • Wireless Type: 802.11a

Intel Gigabit CT PCI-E Network Adapter

If your computer has an Express PCI slot and you want to use the internet to its full potential without spending too much money then Intel Gigabit CT PCI-E Network Adapter will be an excellent choice for you. This network adapter is equipped with the latest Gigabit CT technology so you can expect excellent performance and speed from it. You will get the best experience while playing online games, streaming 4K videos, or loud computing with the Intel Gigabit CT PCI-E network card.

This network adapter has all the advanced networking features that you can expect from a high-quality network card. Some of the key features are wake from LAN, network boot, remote management, etc. It supports Windows XP, 7, 8, 10, all flavors of Linux, BSD forks like Solaris, OSX, etc. This adapter uses very little power which makes it very efficient. Many gamers and other computer users use it on their computer for power efficiency.

Key Specification

  • Brand: Intel
  • Series: CT PCI-E
  • Antennas: None
  • Computer Memory Type: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Wireless Standard: IEEE 802.1P, IEEE 802.1Q

TRENDnet 32-bit 10/100/1000Mbps Copper Gigabit PCI Adapter

You can use this network card for both home and office work. It supports plug and plays so you can easily install this adapter on your computer. This network card is affordable in price but it doesn’t lack any features. Moreover, it comes with Advanced MDI-X Gigabit Port which is a plus point in this price range. This NIC supports 32-Bit PCI Local Bus Master high-speed operation of Rev. 2.3 specification so you can expect high network speed while playing online games or streaming videos.

It comes with built-in FIFO (8K/64K) buffers so it will reduce the overhead of memory transfers. It also supports Full-Duplex Mode Doubles Network Data Rate to 20/200/2000Mbp which is very convenient. This NIC includes the latest VLAN tagging to efficiently utilize network bandwidth so that you can get maximum data throughput. It has 2000Mbps bandwidth capacity so this network card will be best for high traffic Power Server and Video-Conferencing Workstation.

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Key Specification

  • Brand: TRENDnet
  • Item model number: TEG-PCITXR
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 0.6 x 2.3 inches
  • Wireless Standard: IEEE 802.1P, IEEE 802.1Q VLAN tag
  • Antennas: None                 

TP-Link AC1900 WiFi PCI-Express Wireless Network Card

This is a powerful dual-band network card from TP-Link and you can expect to get 1300 Mbps at 5.0 GHz and 600 Mbps at 2.4 GHz from it. This NIC supports both Windows and Mac operating systems which is excellent. With this network adapter, you can turn the low powered network PC into a powerful one. If you love playing online games or like to do ultra-HD streaming then TP-Link AC1900 is the best option for you.    

It supports 802.11ac Dual Band which is three times faster than the 802.11n standard. It supports receiving more directional Wi-Fi signals so you can expect reliable and hi-speed internet connection. It has heat Sink technology which improves the adapter’s performance over long streaming and gaming sessions because this technology keeps the core components of this NIC cool. It comes with three external antennas and they maximize the connection range and stability of this network adapter.

Key Specification

  • Brand: TP-Link
  • Item model number: Archer T9E
  • Product Dimensions: 4.54 x 4.76 x 0.85 inches
  • Computer Memory Type: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Wi-Fi Speed: Up to 1900Mbps
  • Wireless Standard: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac          

ASUS 4×4 802.11AC Wireless AC3100 PCIe Adapter

If you are looking for a network card that will provide excellent internet speed then the Asus PCE-AC88 AC3100 Wifi card will be an excellent option for you. It has a high price range but it is worth the investment. It supports dual-band connectivity and you can get up to 2100Mbps in 5GHz band and 1000Mbps in 4GHz band. The best part of this NIC is, it has an external magnetic antenna set up and it provides top-notch coverage from.    

This NIC supports MU-MIMO technology which is very important for online gaming. It has a custom heat sink so it will effectively dissipate heat and ensures improved stability and reliability. It has R-SMA antenna connectors so this NIC is compatible with a variety of aftermarket antennas. This network card is compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 10 operating system. With this adapter, you can enjoy up to 60% faster Wi-Fi speed compared to the 3×3 adapters.

Key Specification

  • Brand: ASUS
  • Series: PCE-AC88
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 2.24 x 10.9 inches
  • Wireless Type: 802.11n, 802.11b, 802.11g       
  • Antennas: 4
  • Wi-Fi Speed Up to: 3100Mbps

Rosewill Wireless N300 PCI-E WiFi Adapter

This network adapter will give you the best value for your money as well as provides super-fast internet connectivity for your computer. It is equipped with the latest internet protocol so you will get the best Wifi experience. It is a dual-band network adapter and it offers a bandwidth of 2.4GHz to 5GHz. You can get internet speed of up to 300 Mbps for lag-free gaming, smooth HD video streaming, and uninterrupted internet calls.

This high-speed Wi-Fi adapter is compatible with Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 operating systems. It is very easy to set up and install on your computer. It comes with two high gain detachable antennas and they ensure optimally tuned wide range reliable wireless connectivity. It supports advanced WPA/WPA2 encryptions so you will get security for WLAN which will provide effective protection for users’ wireless environment.

Key Specification

  • Brand: Rosewill
  • Item model number: RNX-N250PCEv2
  • Product Dimensions: 8.05 x 5.55 x 1.05 inches
  • Wireless Type: 802.11n, 802.11b, 802.11g
  • Antenna: 2
  • Interface: PCI Express
  • Wireless Type: 802.11n, 802.11b, 802.11g       

How to Choose a Network Card

To have a fast and amazing internet browsing experience, the first thing you need is a good and efficient network interface card that will provide fast internet speed. You can easily buy a network card, but if you want to have a positive experience, then you have to pick a network more adept that suits your computer’s configuration and all the other requirements.

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All the network cards on our list are worth the value, but you have to remember that there are considerable variations among network interface cards, and they work differently with a different configuration. So not every LAN adapter will fulfill your requirements and worth the money. There are a few very important factors that you have to consider before buying the best network interface card.

Connection Type

It is very important to check the connection type while buying a network interface card. Nowadays most of the NIC use RJ-45 for connection but there are many adapters available that use another interface such as coax. So check the Ethernet card to ensure that it has the type of connection that will support your setup. If you don’t verify the connection type then you have to return the card which can sometimes be a tiresome process especially if you have bought the card from an online store.

Connection Speed

This is another very important factor that you must take into consideration before buying a NIC. Nowadays most of the network card has replaced the older and less efficient LAN technologies and started to use the latest technologies. Ethernet has three main speeds: 10Mbps, 100Mbps, and 1000Mbps. The older NIC used to support up to 10Mbps transmissions speed where the new dual network card has the ability to support both 10Mbps and 100Mbps transmissions speed. So make sure you choose a network card depending on your speed needs.

Size

There are considerable differences available among the network cards. Some cards are large in size were others are small in size. You should pick a network card that suits your computer setup. Generally, the USB ports are located close to one another so you should not buy a large size network card that will block the adjacent ports. Moreover, if you are using a laptop then must buy a small size network card to avoid bumping into objects and breaking them when installing the NIC.

Quality

The present computer market is flooded with low-quality network cards so you must check the quality of the cards before making the final decision. Low-quality network adapters will promise a lot of features but they might only last one month or so. Moreover, many manufacturers make cards that are just similar to other brands so make sure you are extra careful when picking a network card from a local store. For online purchases look at different online customer reviews to see what people are saying about that product. This way you can understand whether the NIC is good or not.

Card Interface

Card interface is also a very important factor that you should consider while choosing a network interface card. There are three types of card interface available, they are:

  1. PCI: It is recommended for desktop users and it is fast and more efficient than ISA. However, PCI is more expensive than ISA.
  2. ISA: You will find this type of card interface in cheaper network cards. This type of interface is slower compared to the PCI.
  3. PCMCIA: This type of interface is recommended for laptop users.

Price

The price of the network card varies depending on the model, speed, quality, and the manufacturer. The more powerful the card is, the expensive it will be. There are cheap cards available but they will lack features, quality, and performance. You should buy a card that fits your budget and requirements.

Final Thoughts

Network cards are not just about ports and connectivity. They are packed with various features to make it run efficiently while playing online games or streaming 4K videos. While buying your network adapter, identify your purpose and requirements. Our buying guide will help you determine which network interface card will suit your requirements the best. Hopefully, you will find your desirable network interface card from the above-mentioned list of best network cards.

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