inSSIDer and Chanalyzer's WiFi scanning functions are designed to work with any Windows-compatible adapter, but if you'd still like some guidance, we are more than happy to make some recommendations.
802.11b/g are 2.4 GHz standards, while 802.11a/ac are 5 GHz standards. 802.11n works in one or the other, but the "N" designation does not mean that the adapter will work in both 2.4 and 5 GHz.
Look for a dual-band wireless adapter that supports both 2.4 and 5 GHz. The giveaway is the "A" designation, which only exists in 5 GHz.
|802.11b/g/n||2.4 GHz Only||Single-Band|
|802.11a/b/g/n/ac||2.4 and 5 GHz||Dual-Band||Recommended|
At this point, we don't recommend buying a single-band adapter. Dual-band adapters are generally the same price, or only a few dollars more.
If you want to make sure that you can scan for 802.11ac networks, all you need is a 5 GHz a/n compatible adapter.
All 802.11ac management traffic is backwards compatible with 802.11a/n, so we can find out everything we need to know about an 802.11ac network with an 802.11a/n adapter.
Fine, whatever! Recommend a card already!
Oh, right! Sorry! We get really excited about things like this.
|Edimax EW-7833UAC||802.11a/b/g/n/ac||$50||3x3 spatial streams (maximum for clients)|
|Linksys AC1200 (WUSB6300)||802.11a/b/g/n/ac||$10-40||2x2 spatial streams|