Netgear A6200 Dual-Band USB Wireless AC Adaptor Review
Chris Hadley / 6 years ago
A Closer Look
Unlike a broad range of USB based wireless adaptors that can be bought today, the A6200 is far from small. Measuring in at a shade over 9.5cm long and 3.1cm wide, this unit is not going to be one that you would discretely hide away. The bulk of the A6200’s body is made up from a grey plastic housing inside which is the majority of the circuitry and on top of this is a large black segment which is home to the antenna. To capture the best signal possible, the antenna part of the adaptor can rotate through 90°, giving the best performance possible.
Like the back of the R6250 and many of Netgear’s other high-end routers, the A6200 is covered in loads of tiny, triangular-shaped holes. Whilst this design aspect is fairly important on many of Netgear’s high-end routers for heat dissipation, our testing found that this adaptor doesn’t get warm at all, so these are purely in place for the design side of things. On the underside of the antenna, a small sticker is home to the adaptors MAC address and serial number, along with the usual array of conformity icons.
Many routers today feature WPS as a one-touch device setup option. To support this feature, we find a small WPS button on one side of the adaptor and when pressed in conjunction with the WPS on a router – the settings will be transferred to the adaptor and a connection made – hence the ‘one-touch’ tag.
When connecting the adaptor to a USB port, the USB jack can be rotated through 90° allowing the adaptor to point up and gain a better signal.
Whilst the adaptor can be easily plugged into a laptop or the front of a tower pc, there are a number of situations where a direct connection to a USB port is either not feasible or simply not practical enough. As a result, Netgear include an extension lead come stand in the box. This stand not only allows the adaptor to be connected to a USB port that may be inaccessible (due to its size), but more importantly it allows the adaptor to be placed in an area where it can get a better signal. Plugging a wireless adaptor into the back of a tower pc can result in a poor signal in some case and moving the adaptor to the top of the case or even onto a desk can increase the wireless signal strength by a considerable amount.
On the underside of the extended USB port, two rubber feet prevent the adaptor sliding out of position – something that we would rather not happen when the adaptor is placed on top of a chassis for example.
Looking at the top of the stand we find a small groove cut into the back of the USB port and this is in place simply to prevent users from trying to insert the adaptor the wrong way round and consequently damaging the USB port.
On the back of the adaptor there is a small plastic tag that matches up with the notch in the stand. If the user was to have the adaptor the wrong way round, the piece of plastic on the adaptor would foul the front of the stand, preventing the USB jack from going too far into the stand and potentially damaging the USB port – a simple yet effective design concept.
With the adaptor fully inserted into the stand, it is by no means a small item to have sat on a desk or pc, but when it comes to wireless reception, the large antennae easily makes up for the size, and as long as a compatible wireless AC router with beamforming is available, the A6200 should give one of the fastest wireless connections that users will have seen to date. Don’t forget that the black antennae can be rotated through 90° as well to improve reception if required.