I have been researching for a while now and I can't seem to find a solid and up-to-date answer.
My question is, which has better performance dollar for dollar: a USB WLAN device or a PCI WLAN device? (I.e. a $40 usb device or a $40 pci device?)
Im not going to be shifting it, it is staying in the one place and the router is approximately 10m away through a 10cm brick wall. I do believe they have installed a repeater though. My laptop gets full reception anyway.
one advantage of the usb adapter is you can move it about to gain a better reception
i have my wireless router about 10m away--though my walls are thick victorian brick--and with the pci connector i cannot get a decent signal--though the front of the pc is facing the router so the case blocks the aerial as well
with a usb adaptor i can move it to get a much stronger signal as its on a 2m cable
so in my case pci = 1 bar most of the time and 2 bars now and then
The PCI WLAN card is a lot better than the USB thing. Features, connectivity, power etc etc can all be rightly configured with it.
It's a lot more reliable since you're going to be working from a stationary place and aren't planning on moving around.
If you do encounter problems, it is very simple to just add a pigtail or change the direction of the antenna/s.
Hells!! Even a patch of copper cutout stuck to the side panel of the case will give you amazing reception.
The USB Wlan adapter is pretty unreliable when it comes to removing and putting it back in 10 times a day. Drivers, USB recognizing factors, loose contacts, port speeds , port current etc etc add too many complications to having it on a stationary rig. It's ok for guys who are mobile all the time, since they accept a level of wear and tear over a period of time.