PCI vs PCI-E
I'm trying to decide between getting a wireless adapter that's pci or pci-e. I've read in some places that pci-e gets a better signal and better throughput. My internet speed is around 15-20 mbps. What speed adapter should I get? 54mbps? 108mbps? or 300mbps? I hear the higher speed adapters hold much stronger signals. My computer is about 60-70 feet away from the router. I originally had a 54 mbps pci adapter that, at times, was able to get 5 bars (excellent) for signal strength on Windows 7. I'm a gamer and would prefer that most fastest and most reliable signal possible.
PCIe does provide more bandwidth than PCI, but we're talking about their respective INTERNAL BUS speeds, not the bandwidth they support over wireless (in that regard PCI or PCIe has no relevance). At these types of speeds (15-20mbps), which bus you use is not very important (even the older PCI bus supports 1000mbps!). Granted the PCIe bus is the road less traveled (so far), but unless you’re REALLY hammering that PCI bus (e.g., Gigabit PCI network adapter and lots of local file transfers), it’s just not going to matter.
As far as faster adapters providing a stronger signal, there isn’t a direct correlation. There are plenty of wireless B adapters that outperform wireless G, maybe even N adapters, in terms of signal strength. It almost doesn’t matter anyway since your environment is far more likely to affect performance than the technology itself. Radio interference from other wireless routers and 2.4GHzx devices (cordless phones, microwave ovens, radio control equipment, even wireless mice and Bluetooth), obstacles, etc., are your biggest challenges. In fact, some N devices support dual-band (2.4GHz and 5Ghz). Obviously a nice feature to have available, esp. for avoiding the more congested 2.4GHz freq. But there’s a downside. All other things being equal, 5GHz will have LESS range than 2.4GHz! IOW, faster isn’t always better.
Technically, unless you need it for local file access/streaming, you only need as much speed as your ISP provides. Of course, it never hurts to have more for future-proofing. N equipment does tend to offer better antenna solutions over G, even if you only use N in G mode. Until recently G has been assumed, with N needing justification. I believe we’ve reached the point that has begun to shift, w/ N being presumed and G needing justification, esp. given the recent certification of N and the falling prices for N we’ve seen over the past couple years. So unless you’re on a tight budget, I just can’t see investing any further in G equipment.