Simple question

I dont really know much about networking in general. So when it comes to me picking a decent wireless adaptor I am a bit at a lose. Was wondering if you guys could sort of point me in the right direction, let me know what kind of things I should be looking for. I have a pretty rubbish internet connection as i live in a student house and it is all we can afford but I would like my adaptor to handle pretty much anything so I can use it when i move out and get a decent, fast connection.

Thanks peaks,
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More about simple question
  1. If laptop go for PCMCIA card, not USB. If desktop, go for a PCI card.

    As for brands, I haven't noticed much difference between little known and big brands -- but for support (driver, firmware updates, user forum etc) a big brand may be worth the extra.

    Read reviews -- especially as to the advantages of Rangemax and Wireless n tech.
  2. thanks for the advice. I have a desktop. Is there much difference between the usb adaptors and the PCI cards?
  3. PCI is superior in my experience -- the only advantage of USB is that it can also be used on other computers easily and (on extension lead) can be moved to optimise reception more than the antenna on a PCI card. Go for PCI.
  4. Schweet cheers buddy. One more question tho. In terms of specs what should I be looking for? Are there any tell tail signs of a good/terrible adaptor?
  5. I'm no expert on the latest stuff as I always buy secondhand (£3 or about $4.50) for my last adapter.

    Suggest you look for reviews on this site or C-Net.
  6. £3 on an adaptor, man that is cheep. The stuff I have been looking at is like £20. Is it the case that your adaptor can prevent you from accessing the full potential of your internet connection provided by your ISP?
  7. "Is it the case that your adaptor can prevent you from accessing the full potential of your internet connection provided by your ISP?"

    Depends on speed of connection. If you had a true 16megabit feed (usually ISPs weasel out and call it "up to" 16 etc) and used Wireless 802.11g you could get the full speed. Wireless never delivers much more than half the claimed speed -- e.g. 11g =54mbs=really just 20mb in real life but that would be good enough to support 16mb.

    The trouble is that wireless reception can be very poor in urban areas. In my case with the router some distance away and one floor down a 16mb feed ends up at about 3mb -- and getting worse with now 33 neighbours detected using wireless and many on overlapping frequencies.

    If you want to be sure of your full speed always use ethernet or, perhaps, mains plug adapters.
  8. Quote:


    Depends on speed of connection. If you had a true 16megabit feed (usually ISPs weasel out and call it "up to" 16 etc) and used Wireless 802.11g you could get the full speed. Wireless never delivers much more than half the claimed speed -- e.g. 11g =54mbs=really just 20mb in real life but that would be good enough to support 16mb.




    So by this do you meant hat if I had an 54mbs connection speed from my ISP, I would actually only be getting about 20mb if I was connecting wirelessly? I had no idea. Also what do you mean by "true 16megabit feed"? Thought you could get a lot better than that? Sorry if all the questions seem a little stupid, really appreciate it ;)
  9. I'm afraid you're right -- even with perfect reception the multiplex nature of wireless means you only get about half the claimed speed and usually much less.

    I mentioned a true 16mb feed because that is the usual maximum in the UK for ADSL. With cable (and doubtless in some countries with ADSL) you can buy higher speeds -- but the ISPs usually advertise speeds as "up-to" because performance is variable depending on where you are in the circuit and how many other users are online.
  10. Well if that's the case i am going to use an Ethernet cable with my desktop from now on! And then the connection relies on your cable being of good quality right?

    So why do ISP's like Virgin advertise 50mb connections?
  11. "And then the connection relies on your cable being of good quality right?"

    If by cable you mean ethernet, no. It'd have to be a very poor ethernet cable to would affect performance. But you're right to avoid wireless if you can because ethernet is simpler, quicker, secure

    As far as Virgin cable is concerned, their speed claims are considered controversial. But a friend has Virgin and often gets around 18mb of an "up-to" 20mb service though performance varies from day to day.
  12. oh right, well i have virgin "up to" 2mb (so low as in student house and it is all house mates are willing to pay for) and it is rubbish. Id your friend connected wirelessly or via an ethernet cable? I am slightly confused about your comment saying 16mb was the highest in the uk for ADSL, what is ADSL?
  13. Virgin do cable and ADSL. If you have Virgin TV, you probably have cable internet. ADSL comes in via BT's phone network -- cable uses optical.

    It's pretty easy to check if you're technically inclined -- a cable feed will have a small modem unit connected to the wall by a fairly hefty screw-on or similar coax connector. That may also be connected to a wireless router.

    With ADSL the modem is usually integrated with the wireless router connected to the wall via phone socket with an ADSL filter.

    My friend has cable.
  14. Ok, well going on that I have cable too. So do you get faster connection speeds with cable? I assume that you would seeing as though the cable is separate from your phone line and is engineered with this kind of data transfer in mind....not sure tho.
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