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A good Desktop wireless adapter

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  • Desktops
  • Wireless Adapter
  • Wireless Networking
  • Product
Last response: in Wireless Networking
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June 27, 2012 3:21:50 PM

I have been using a Rosewill RNX-N180PCe Wireless adapter for my desktop, but it has stopped working for me. Now I need a new adapter, but I'm not sure what I need. I have a MI424-WR Rev. F router in the basement and my computer is on the second floor. I don't mind what kind of connector it has as long as it lasts for a long time (the old one is now six months old) and has good connection for online gaming. Thanks in advance!

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June 27, 2012 4:58:16 PM

For desktops, I don't recommend either PCI/PCIe or USB wireless adapters, but rather a wireless ethernet bridge (aka, client bridge, gaming adapter).

[wireless router]<-- wireless -->[wireless ethernet bridge]<-- wire -->[desktop]

A wireless ethernet bridge uses the LAN port of your desktop. The wireless and its configuration are entirely confined to the bridge itself. Your desktop isn't even aware there's wireless in the picture. As far as it’s concerned, you're connected via wire. The implications are numerous.

You never have any compatibility issues, either now or in the future, since you don't have driver dependencies of any kind. Every OS minimally supports wired ethernet, so it works everywhere, all the time. And that creates a cost savings since you can migrate that same bridge to the next system when the old system is retired. Or use it to wirelessly enable other wired-only devices (IP cameras, printers, smart TVs, etc.).

Ever found it annoying to not have internet access for your OS installations because the wireless network adapters were not available until AFTER the OS was installed? Not a problem w/ a wireless ethernet bridges because in most cases the installer has the wired ethernet adapters out-of-the-box.

Since the wireless ethernet bridge is only limited by the length of the ethernet cable (100M w/o amplification), you have virtually unlimited placement and orientation options, which can be important for getting the best wireless signal. In fact, being able to get the wireless chipset and antenna AWAY from potential sources of electrical noise coming from your desktop could be just as important for good reception. And while PCI/PCIe and USB wireless adapters can be augmented w/ aftermarket antennas or extension cables, those are still limited to relatively short distances (<10 ft.).

You can connect *multiple* ethernet devices w/ a wireless ethernet bridge if you plug in a switch. Some routers (which already have an integrated switch) can be reconfigured as a wireless ethernet bridge. Here again we have a cost savings since we don’t need a PCI/PCie or USB wireless adapter for each and every device. So if you have a wired-only network printer or VOIP adapter in the vicinity of that same desktop, you can use the bridge to give them wireless capability too.

A wireless ethernet bridge preserves WOL (Wake On LAN). So if you like to keep your desktop shutdown or on standby most of the time, but need remote access, you can still wake your computer remotely. You can NOT do that w/ a wireless PCI/PCIe or USB wireless adapter. Yet another cost savings since you’re not running your PC 24/7 for the sake of an occasional remote desktop session.

Some wireless ethernet bridges can be configured as a WISP (Wireless ISP) router. They perform the same functions as a wireless ethernet bridge, but just like any other router, create a firewall and local network behind the bridge. So now you can take the bridge with you on the road and use it w/ open wifi situations to keep your laptop behind the safety of your own network. Some can even be configured as a VPN client so you have all your communications secured over that otherwise open wifi connection.

Yeah, I’m a big proponent of wireless ethernet bridges, they’re awesome, at least for situations where portability is not a concern. The one disadvantage they do have is being a bit clumsy to carry around due their larger footprint, AC adapter (although some can be powered off a USB port), ethernet cable, etc.

Here’s just one example of a wireless ethernet bridge. There are numerous others w/ various features and pricing.

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

Just something to consider.

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June 27, 2012 5:58:50 PM

Thank you for that great explanation! I'll look around and see what I can find.
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July 4, 2012 3:26:05 AM

Best answer selected by outspace.
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July 5, 2012 1:00:54 AM

This topic has been closed by Area51reopened
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