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what to look for in a wireless internet adapter

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duckycrayfish

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
i want to get a really good wireless internet connection. what should i look for? is there cirtain specs i should look for? is ones that go into a pci slot better then usb ones? i know almost nothing wwhen it comes to internet adapters.....
 

thehacker010

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2008
Basically, it breaks down like this:

Best = USB adapter with a cord that allows you to move it around your desk to get best signal

Good = PCI adapter has an okay signal, but it is stuck to the back of your computer *(I personally use PCI when I know the signal will be good. I like having a dedicated NIC not using USB)*

Worst = USB adapter that looks like a thumb drive. It is weaker than PCI and is still stuck to one spot on your computer.

Keep in mind, PCI requires you to open your computer to install it. This is something that not everyone is comfortable doing.

Also, make sure that the adapter you are using is for your type of wireless. (DON'T get a wireless-B adapter if your wireless network is Wireless-G) Wireless adapters ARE backwards compatible, so Wireless-N adapter for Wireless-G network WILL work.

When recommending adapters for people who are new to networking, I suggest either getting one that is the same brand as the wireless AP or getting one that is a major name brand like D-Link, Linksys, Buffalo, Netgear.
 
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FireMogle

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2001
Location
Lawrence, KS
Are you looking for a NIC (Cable, DSL...) or something like a 3/4G (Cellphone type) device for a wireless connection?

If your looking for a NIC the new technology is wireless N. If you are just going to be surfing the next you could probably save a few bucks and get a G router and a G adapter. USB should work just as well for this case.

If you are looking for a 3/4G device you would need to talk to your cell phone company.
 
OP
duckycrayfish

duckycrayfish

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
i didnt know there are different kinds. i think im going to get a new router now too. any specs i should look for? and what are the different types? (wireless n/g)
 

TollhouseFrank

Senior Headphone Guru
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Location
T3h [email protected]!
What are you using it for?

If just normal internet usage, then anything will suffice.

If for heavy file transfer across a lan, then ditch USB. The banwidth just isn't there (plus being serial, is a half duplex aka 1-way at a time connection). An internal Card will give you true full Duplex which is critical for highspeed massive data transfer.

Also, a pci/pcie card will give you many more options for modding/signal boosting as it has an external antenna you can do fun things with.

Another thing: there are very few USB wifi adapaters that have 64bit driver support. If you are running a 64bit OS, do your research before buying one to save yourself some grief. More (not many more, but more) pci/pcie cards have 64bit support.
 
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duckycrayfish

duckycrayfish

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
thanks tollhouse, and an antenna would be fun..... but what about specs??? whats the difference between a good and bad wifi adapter??? and i would perfer not using a pcie one.... because i would probly use one for something else... though i have 7 of them XD i love the asus supercomputer :p
 

TollhouseFrank

Senior Headphone Guru
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Location
T3h [email protected]!
when it comes down to it, the best adapters i've used (and this is just experience from where i work at a pc repair shop) are thsoe from trendnet. I"m not sure what chipset they have in them, but they work very well and have given me a lot less fuss than linksys or others.
 
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duckycrayfish

duckycrayfish

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
but what about specs??? whats the difference between a good and bad wifi adapter???
 

TollhouseFrank

Senior Headphone Guru
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Location
T3h [email protected]!
but what about specs??? whats the difference between a good and bad wifi adapter???

range and throughput at range.

Read the reviews on them to get a good idea.

For example, here at work, the work-provided wifi adapter is usb and is a WG111 from netgear. Works awesome on 32bit machines. At close to 50 feet, it keeps between 20 and 30mbs out of a possible 54. No 64bit drivers to speak of.......
 

vgta88

Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2007
thats theoretical and he's talking about wireless g standard, in real world situations wireless performance is no where near the theoretical. n is still draft last time i checked.

i use a wireless g router and a wireless draft n laptop(2 antennas built into the lcd casing). I can get through a floor but not (2)to the basement because I have a weird house.(edit: I'm getting wireless through metal and marble, it's probably a foot thick or more and its 2 floors) my older wireless g card could not do this unless i enabled an extended range option in the router.

You also might want to change your drivers. From what i've seen theres really only like 2 good companies Intel and Atheros for wireless chipsets. with intel I don't think you'll get a third party driver. with anything that uses atheros its sometimes better to download their drivers and wireless client utility instead.

my wireless chipset is atheros AR5B91 if you get something similar with a good antenna then you should get good range but I'm not sure about throughput since I don't stress my wireless.

you also need a good router or the whole network is crap.
 
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vgta88

Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2007
d link is not that great from my experience cuz my router is dlink and so is the old adapter (using some atheros chipset). I'm not sure about their new stuff but you should try to wait for final draft n or get something decent. read a review or 2. and since tollhouse has seen 60%~ of rated performance then expect at least that from a review.

oh yeah lol theres 13 wireless access points I can see on my laptop. the clearest signal is from a known edit 3 antenna router from my isp.
 
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TollhouseFrank

Senior Headphone Guru
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Location
T3h [email protected]!
nothing is wrong with dlink. they make great entry-level wireless routers and adapters, but they do not have good range or throughput (speed at distance from router)

Linksys makes great routers. Netgear has recently put out some routers that many reviewers at magazines and online sites seem to love.

For adapters though, vgt has a good suggestion. Intel Adapters just WORK. No fiddling with settings once the driver is installed. They just work, and work very well. The only drawback is... well... you can't fiddle with them to get more out of them than what the driver will give you... but that's ok for 99.9% of us... we don't care about wanting more... we just want it to work.
 
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duckycrayfish

duckycrayfish

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
ok so u recomend getting a linksys router and a vgt adapter. but i thought it was better to get an adapter by the same people as your router.
and you can get more out of the adapter?? how?