Linksys are known in the world of networking as being one of the most reliable and trusted manufacturers of routers on the market. Linksys also offer a variety of Wireless USB products, wireless extenders and other home network products. Today we have their AE3000 Wireless USB adapter for review…

As you can see, the product has a premium look, and is very minimalist in design (something we like). Reading the specifications from the box, the AE3000 supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual band connections through Wireless-N. This Wireless USB can reach speeds of up 450Mbps and offers a very wide range using its advanced 3×3 Antenna system, specially designed by the company for the AE3000 and their other Wireless USBs.

For many people with modern systems, this Wireless USB will easily be able to locate drivers and automatically install them by just plugging it into a USB port, for those with older systems, you may need to either download the latest drivers manually from the Linksys website or use the disk included in the box.

Linksys also were kind enough to include a cradle for the Wireless USB adapter in the box. This cradle allows you to sit the USB on your desk and run the USB to your PC by a cable. This would be an ideal solution for someone who wishes to hook the device up to their desktop PC, rather than a laptop. The cradle is stylish, as with every Linksys product, and, if you look at one sitting on your desk, it is very easy to tell this is a high-quality, premium offering.

When the device is plugged in, a diamond shaped blue LED lights up on the device. As we were running our tests, we tried using this USB adapter about 14m away from the router with no wireless extenders, going through two floors and it was able to pull a 65-70% signal strength and we were able to achieve 78% of our rated connection speed from our ISP, which is very impressive.

Upon moving close to the router (in the same room), we were able to achieve results we haven’t seen from any other Wireless USB device previously. Not only was the device able to receive 100% signal strength, but we pulled 87% of our rated connection speed from our ISP – comparable with the rates one would achieve on an average connection through ethernet (as very few connections get the full speed rated by their ISP). Both of the above tests were using the 5GHz band.

When we dropped down to the 2.4GHz band, we expected speeds to drop significantly, however, they remained quite high. On our 14m, two stories away test, we saw a signal strength more or less identical, and the USB adapter was able to pull 70% of our rated speed. As we moved to the same room as the router (which is a Linksys EA6700), we again received a 100% signal strength. The AE300 was able to achieve 80% of the rated connection speed.

The Linksys AE3000 is, no doubt, an excellently performing product. We love the device, and we will likely be using it in our PC build as it is less trouble and mess than a dedicated Wireless PCI card, but it delivers performance of the same quality. Now, you may have been wondering about the price. Linksys is a premium brand, and with premium products, come higher prices. The AE3000 has an RRP of £59.99 in the UK, but is currently available on Amazon for £42.30 (as of time of writing). Anyone in the US is lucky, as the device bizarrely has a lower RRP in the US than the UK at $49.99, currently available on Amazon US for $48.88.

Thanks for reading our review. The Linksys AE3000 is an excellent product, but the price is quite high, especially in the UK. For that reason, we are going to award it our SILVER AWARD.