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Making Desktop Wireless

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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February 20, 2010 2:16:39 AM

Hey everybody,

I'm in the process of completing a build for a new desktop. Will have Windows 7 and an ethernet port. But it will be located in the basement and I would much rather it be hooked up to my wireless home network (much like xbox 360, ps3, etc).

My question is which PCI Adapter that I can install (I'm building my new computer myself) would give me the best range/connection? I have a basic DSL through Verizon, so nothing special.

Any input or suggestions would be much appreciated. Newegg products would be the best.

Look forward to hearing from you.
a b F Wireless
February 20, 2010 3:32:19 PM

It’s hard to make good recommendations if we don’t have details such as, it this 32 or 64 bit? Do you need/want G or N? Do you want/need single or dual band? PCI or PCI express? What’s your budget (some could be as cheap as $10 (G only) or up to $70 or more depending on features!). Etc.

These are decisions you’re going to have to consider before purchasing anyway, so to keep the field reasonable (and applicable), the more we know, the better.

If you're using Windows 7 64 bit, make sure it’s supported! Windows 64 bit driver support gets better every day, but it's still important to confirm before purchasing to avoid unnecessary frustration. Some vendors are refusing to update older adapters, even “old favorites”, so these may not be a good choice moving forward.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-...

That aside, I prefer using a wireless Ethernet bridge over PCI/USB for desktops (anything that’s going to remaining stationary).

[wireless router]<--wireless-->[wireless Ethernet bridge]<--wire-->[pc]

Usually costs more, a bit more complex to setup, but you get a much better solution, imo. You don’t have to worry about having an available slot/port of the right type, no OS/driver compatibility issues (even for future OS releases), the signal strength and antenna solution is almost always better, you’re only limited in placement/orientation by the length of the Ethernet wire (up to 100m, even further w/ a repeater), if it comes w/ an integrated switch it can support MULTIPLE devices, some even include a wireless repeater.

The fact you’re in the basement makes a bridge particularly interesting wrt reception issues. It’s usually far easier to move or reorient the bridge than the desktop.

Anyway, as far as the best PCI wireless adapter, nothing beats visiting Newegg.com and Amazon.com and reading the reviews of ppl who’ve actually used it. Regardless of what anyone (myself included) would recommend here, always check those reviews. Sometimes the low-end models work better than the name brands. If I was purchasing one today, I would get one that supports G & N (even if I only needed G at the moment) since it’s more likely to provide a superior antenna solution. And of course, it provides some future-proofing.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not exactly a household name, but that AZIO is reasonably priced and has pretty good reviews (79% rated it 4/5 stars). And supports Windows 7 64 bit. PCI, N (300mbps), WPA/WPA2, about $31 shipped.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In this case we have PCI express adapter, brand name (D-Link), but otherwise similar specs and reviews. But it also uses an additional antenna and costs considerably more ($50 shipped). And you have to be careful when choosing PCI express because even if you have a free slot, many ppl only have one, and it’s often located right next to the PCI express graphics slot. With the proliferation of large gaming cards these days, that particular PCI express slot is often BLOCKED.

HTH

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