Adding WiFi to a desktop computer is easy to do with some options easier than others.
There are basically three ways to add wireless to a PC including an external USB adapter, internal WiFi card, and built-in Wi-Fi.
Here are the top three option for installing wireless to a desktop PC.
3 Way to Get a Wireless Desktop PC Setup
- … USB WiFi Adapter
- … Internal PCI Wireless Card
- … Built-in WiFi on Motherboard
A USB WiFi adapter is a very good option and the most popular way to add wireless to a desktop.
There are many available and depending on the unit bought are very low-cost items
Some are built for range with larger antennas and some are small almost hidden once plugged in.
Wireless 802.11 standards have evolved becoming faster over the years with new versions able to work in the 5Ghz band while older units only work in the 2.4GHz frequency.
Dual Band refers to an adapter that can work in both bands and is usually the best option.
The wireless protocol used also matters since new ones can transfer data faster.
Main WiFi Protocols
802.11G or Wireless-G – Speed up-to 54Mbps
802.11N or Wireless-N – Speed up-to 300Mbps
802.11AC or Wireless-AC – Speed up-to 866 Mbps
While older protocols still work getting a Wireless-AC unit is the best option.
Basically when looking for a USB adapter getting a Dual Band Wireless-AC unit will be the best and fit into almost any network.
Here is an example Dual Band 802.11AC USB Adapter on Amazon
BrosTrend 1200Mbps USB WiFi Network Adapter; Dual Band AC 5GHz WiFi Speed 867Mbps, 2.4GHz 300Mbps; for Desktop, Laptop, PC of Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 /Vista/XP; USB 3.0; AC 1200 (AC1 Model)
Read Here for Our Picks of Best Wireless USB Adapters
If you have some technical skill installing an internal wireless card is a very good option.
Depending on the computer USB can sometimes bottleneck slowing down a connection.
An easy way around this is to install a PCI wireless card into the PC.
They also are out of the way and don’t take up any USB slots.
Be sure to check that there is an open slot to use and the type of expansion slot which is usually PCI.
Installing a card is not difficult but does require opening up the computer and inserting the card which may not be for everyone.
If you are wary of opening the case a USB adapter would be a better option.
Here is an example Dual Band 802.11AC PCIe Wireless Card on Amazon
TP-Link Archer T6E AC1300 PCIe Wireless WiFi Network Adapter Card PC Heatsink Technology
Some motherboards have WiFi built in and don’t have the option setup.
This is not common but depending on the motherboard your computer may already have built-in WiFi.
Check the boards documentation to see if it has this feature.
Setting up WiFi on a Desktop PC is easy to do with any of the above options.
The easiest way is to simply buy a wireless USB adapter with many units available in all shapes and sizes.
If you are a technical person installing an internal WiFi card is also a good option and can often see the best performance since there is no bottleneck from the USB.
Both internal and external Wi-Fi card work well and most setups will have no problems with either.
As always be sure to read reviews on Amazon, here, or elsewhere to be sure a unit is the right pick for you.
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