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Though most modern laptops come with some version of 802.11 wireless built-in as a standard, some don’t, as well as most desktop PC’s. In this article, we will present the best wireless network adapter, in the form of a five-model review.
If you are still contemplating wireless networking, take into consideration the reasons for doing so. With wireless, you can eliminate the clutter and nuisance that Ethernet cabling has, no more drilling holes for a jack and running cabling through the walls, it allows you to roam free and still have an Internet connection.
However, just know you may lose some speed within your network. Even with 802.11n version, I still have an issue only when trying to create an image of my PC and saving it on my home server. It’s then, I wish I had a wired connection.
Wireless network adapters come in two basic flavors…PCI and USB. Narrowing down a list of wireless adapters is some work, as there are numerous brands and models to select from. The interesting aspect of this device, is no adapter works exactly the same for every computer you plug it into. This is due mostly to the device drivers utilized by the manufacturers. This does not mean the device is faulty, it’s just there are so many variations of computer component setups, it’s hard to recognize and account for every possible combination.
For laptop users, you will need to purchase a USB-based wireless dongle, unless your manufacturer has an internal card you can install. Be cautious of this, because disassembling a laptop is much more difficult than the typical desktop PC.
Desktop PC users, you can utilize PCI, or USB. With PCI, you will be installing an expansion card into one of your desktop PC’s internal PCI slots. Though this option requires a bit more work on your part, it does seem to provide a better quality of signal, and longer range than that found with most USB dongles.
The Linksys WUSB600N combines the best of two speeds, 2.4 GHz and 5GHz, and it supports dual-band operation.
This USB dongle has a feature to help boost the range of the signal, called RangeBooster. This technology provides a significant boost in signal, allowing for better range.
The Linksys WMP600N is the first of three PCI-based wireless adapters in this article. This adapter supports Draft n 2.0 standard, and is backwards compatible to 802.11a/b/g.
As with most PCI-based adapters, the Edimax EW-7728In has multiple antennas, actually three. In addition to other well-designed features, the EW-7728In has multiple security protocols, including WEP and WPA/WPA2, boasting 128-bit encryption.
Though Sabernt is not well-known for communication devices, they do have a great reputation for other computer components and accessories. The PCI-802N comes with two antennas. You will appreciate this model for those desktop cases that are low-profile, as the associated card is surprisingly small.