Slow 802.11n wifi on Windows 10 with USB dongle

My 802.11n usb dongle is super slow. My iPad hits 60mbps download via but my pc with the usb2 dongle seems to be stuck at 1mbps. I’ve tried disabling adaptivity and forcing 20mhz operation. It was even slower before that.

Hi Michael,

Thank you for posting your question about speeds with your Wifi adapter.

A couple of quick questions:

  1. I’m assuming your tested the iPad and computer at the same location. Could you please tell me how far you were from the access point?

  2. Was the upload speed faster than the download speed?

Thank you,

Plugable Support

Hi, David, thanks!

The adapter is in the back of my mini-tower computer so it’s about 3 feet away from where I was holding the iPad.

The WAP is a Ubiquiti 802.11n high power AP. Basically every other device has better connectivity.

The up/down are the same, somewhere between 1.0 and 1.5 mbps. Wired and wireless both get 60 down and like 20 up via speedtest.

Let me know next steps for diagnosis.


Hi Michael,

Thanks for the information. Often, the backs of computers are full of radio interference, because they are not well shielded from the many devices inside the computer that are emitting radio waves in the same frequency band as Wifi.

This can especially be a problem with USB 3.0 ports, which sadly Intel discovered put out a lot of interference after they already put them on the market. Here is a white paper they wrote about this:…

Are you using a USB 3.0 port? It would be better to change to a USB 2.0 port if possible, preferably on the front of the computer.

Better yet, a standard six-foot (2-meter) USB 2.0 extension cord would be great (like this:, since you can use it to raise the adapter away from the computer, while the fact that it is USB 2.0 will keep it from emitting the interference from the far end, even if it is plugged into a USB 3.0 port.

I hope this helps. If not, let me know.


I can probably find a USB extension cord. I think it’s in a USB 2 port but I’ll double check and extend. How about in a USB 3 port on the front of your 7 port USB 3 hub?

OK I connected it to a port in my USB 3 hub and now I’m getting 32 down, 9.8 up so I’m OK. I’m moderately disappointed it’s slower than my iPad but it’s more than adequate now. Thanks! I’m surprised getting it away from the back of the motherboard mattered so much…

Hi Michael,

I’m glad that helped! The backside of a computer is a mess of interference generally.

I’m sorry it’s slower than the iPad. One big factor is that the iPad has room for a pretty large antenna that is tuned to its body configuration, while our adapter was designed more for small size than for antenna size.

Using that extension cable if you have it might help add some more speed, especially if you use it to raise the adapter up a bit. I have mine at home taped to the wall above the computer. That helps a lot.


Yeah that’s true (the antenna space problem). Well at this point I’m happy so we can call this done. 30mbps is plenty; 1mbps wasn’t enough to watch a youtube video really.

Ok one last question. You recommended plugging into a USB 2 port rather than 3. Is that because the drivers for USB 3 (or the hardware for that matter) tends to be flakier than USB 2? It’s working well for the most part on USB 3 although I did have to power cycle the switch earlier this afternoon.


Older USB 3.0 drivers and controllers can be pretty flaky, but the problem with USB 3.0 is that the ports create radio interference right in the same frequency band that Wifi (and Bluetooth) uses. This is a problem that was unfortunately discovered after USB 3.0 came out. Intel wrote a white paper about it:…

If it is working OK, it could be that your port is properly shielded, or the interference isn’t enough to overpower the adapter. It could be the reason you aren’t seeing better speed, but it’s hard to know without testing.


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