Internal Wireless PCI-E Desktop Card Reviews 2015

By | January 25, 2015

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The TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 uses a PCI Express slot and is compatible with Windows. It doesn’t state if it is compatible with Linux but by doing a quick Google search you can see this card is used widely in the Linux community (It uses a Atheros AR9380 chipset).
It supports wireless N so it should have no problems connecting to any router out there. For Mac users there is some conflicting answers as to compatibility and there is no out-of-the-box support.
TP-Link Wireless Dual Band PCI Express Adapter (TL-WDN4800)


TP-Link is really dominating wireless adapters with the TP-LINK TL-WN881ND PCI Express card. The TL-WN881ND uses a Atheros AR9287 chipset.
It is a wireless N card and supports all the major Windows operating systems. Once again even though TP-Link does not state that it works with Linux a quick Google search shows that many are using it with Linux, the same with Macs.
If you are a Windows user then the card would be great for the average home user, for someone using Linux or a Mac although it most likely will work you may want to get a card that has out-of-the-box support.
TP-Link N300 Wireless PCI-Express Adapter (TL-WN881ND)


ASUS PCE-AC68 is for users who need some serious bandwidth. It can transfer data at 1.3Gbps with a combined 5GHz band and 2.4GHz band.
As with any fast connection the weakest link will be the slowest device, so if you buy this wireless card be sure to have a router that can match its speeds otherwise a slow router will limit the speed and not use the cards full potential.

It is compatible with Windows but no out-of box-support for Linux or Mac. It uses the Broadcom BCM4360 chipset which allow the drivers to be downloaded for Linux but they currently haven’t updated the drivers for it allowing it to use only 400Mbps.
For Microsoft Window users who transfer large amounts of data from watching movies to editing then this is a great PCI Express card to have. For most people it will likely be overkill and not needed.
ASUS Dual-Band Wireless-AC1900 PCI-E Adapter (PCE-AC68)

Buying a dedicated internal wireless PCI-E card has many benefits and downsides over a USB wireless adapter /dongle. While a USB adapter offers convince of simply plugging it in to a USB port and using it, there are some Cons.
Cons of wireless USB adapters / Dongles
1…The first con of a USB adapter is that it can get in the way when many USB ports are used. USB ports can get filled up quickly with accessories from wireless mouse / keyboards, printers, speakers and so on.
2…The second downside is many stop working when a desktop goes to sleep. This sounds strange and doesn’t happen on all computers but many WiFi USB adapters will have to be unplugged and plugged back in if a Windows computer goes into sleep mode.
3…Many wireless USB dongles don’t have the range PCI Express cards do. There are many USB adapters that have big antennas and do have good range such as the Alf AWUS036NH adapter, but these adapters are big and for a specific purpose, such as wireless penetration.
Pros of wireless USB adapters / Dongles
The real benefit of a USB adapter is that it is simple to use. You don’t have to open a computer case, find a open PCI slot and install a card. A USB adapter can be simply plugged in and be up and working in no time. The disadvantages listed above are becoming less relevant as more people make the move to tablets. If a wireless adapter is needed for a laptop then you will have no choice but to use a USB adapter.
Cons of a internal wireless PCI-E card
As stated above the real disadvantage of a internal WiFi card is having to open up a computer and install a card. Most new computers don’t come with as many expansion slots as they used to, so if you are looking at installing a wireless card be sure you have a slot to do it.
Pros of a internal wireless PCI-E card
A internal card is dedicated to that machine and will not stop working if a computer goes into sleep mode (hopefully). They have larger antennas and better transfer rates then using USB since there are less errors while transmitting.
A internal card opens up USB slots and makes it easy to simply move a desktop where it is needed at any time with no hassles.
They are less prone to errors than a USB dongle. A USB dongle that is sharing a computers USB hub will have more errors due to simply having to share its transferring of data with other devices.
Both wireless USB adapters / Dongles and internal PCI-E cards have their pros and cons for desktop users. I myself have both, I have some USB adapters for more range when traveling or doing wireless penetration testing for a client. At home on my main desktop computer I have a internal wireless PCI-E card.
If you feel comfortable opening up a computer case and installing a PCI card then I would go this route for a main desktop computer. If you need a wireless adapter for a laptop or traveling I would go with one of the many dongles that area available.
Read here for our picks for wireless USB adapter dongles and reviews.

One thought on “Internal Wireless PCI-E Desktop Card Reviews 2015

  1. redkurn

    the tp-link card you mentioned is complete and utter crap, i’ve had 2 and at 20 feet they do not work well with aes security enabled, you have to use tkip or mine are just defective. doubtful.


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