As the first 802.11ac adaptor for laptop or desktop systems, the Netgear A6200 is an important addition to the wireless ecosystem, since devices until now have been left tethered via a router or extender. This larger USB adaptor does its job well and will at least now provide access to those willing to jump onboard a draft standard.

We liked

An easy installation and superb long-range performance certainly point the direction of 802.11ac wireless technology. We're simply blown away by how fast the adaptor was able to perform at distance versus anything currently available.

We disliked

As we suspected, only offering two antenna hampered performance both at the short and middle ranges. The middle range with its additional interference of solid walls slowed performance down to standard 802.11n speeds, which is not what you're paying your money for.

Final verdict

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Again we're disappointed by an early wireless standard. At short range and middle distances the Netgear A6200 offers nothing beyond existing 802.11n performance, but at a higher price. The one major exception is long-range line-of-sight performance, which is genuinely impressive.

We just have to hope that when laptops finally appear with embedded antenna they can do a better job of taking advantage of the promised speed.