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How do I choose a wireless adapter / card?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 unnnies

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 04:46 PM

I just got an Acer AX1301-U1312.


I want to get a wireless network adapter/card, but I am confused about my options and possible choices.

Available expansion:

(1/1) PCI Express x1
(1/1) PCI Express x16

The computer is compact so I think the card has to be half-height and it will be about 40 feet away from the router, on a different level of the house. Also I might put a graphics card in later.

Here are some adapters I have considered buying, but like I said, I'm a little fuzzy on what I should really be looking for.

Recertified: NETGEAR WPN311NAR

GIGABYTE GN-WP01GS

ASUS PCE-N13

Would any of these be fine? Do you have other suggestions? Should I just be lazy and get a usb adapter?
Thanks for you consideration.

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 11:41 PM

If you are putting in a better graphics card, you would want to use the PCI-E X1 slot, however, if the graphics card is large the PCI-E X1 slot is underneath the PCI-E X16 slot, then it could be covered up by the cooler on the graphics card. I would go for the Asus card as it is the only card on your list using PCI Express. There aren't many PCI-E wireless NIC's out, you could also take the lazy way out and use a USB adapter.

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#3 RainbowSix

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 10:24 AM

The power supply is only 220W so it is unlikely that a graphics card will work at all, let alone a dual-slot card.

The ASUS one would be your best choice, but opening your system will likely void your warranty, so go with a USB Wireless NIC if you want to keep it. USB wireless NICs don't seem to be as reliable though.

Here's a decent one, if you want to go that route:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16833320040

Alternatively, you could use a wireless bridge. These are meant for blu-ray players, game systems, and other things which don't have a built-in Wireless NIC, but they will work for your computer too.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16833315087

Edited by RainbowSix, 03 June 2010 - 10:27 AM.

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#4 unnnies

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 12:52 PM

Thanks DJBPace07 and RainbowSix.

I totally forgot about the warranty issues, I will have to check that out. RainbowSix, you mentions that usb adaptors are less reliable. Would an extender be significantly more reliable? I should have mentioned that dependability is most important to me. I do not want a finicky device that I will have to trouble shoot a lot.

In that regard the info I have cobble together from the interwebs suggests that a

wireless card > wireless extender > usb adapter

but it seems hard to tell how much better each option is to the next one.

#5 DJBPace07

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 01:36 AM

Opening your system may not void your warranty, it depends on the builder. You should check with Acer or read the user's guide for more information. Usually, devices that are attached via PCI/PCI Express are more reliable, but there is no such thing as total reliability. A wireless extender should be used if you have flaky wireless where you use the PC, otherwise, it may just be best to use a wireless NIC. Have you considered using powerline networking? The speed, depending on the configuration of your home or apartment, is about 200 Mbps. If the room with the router and the room with the PC are on different circuits, speed is reduced, but they are usually very reliable if you live in a house/apartment that can use them. They work by connecting your network to a wall outlet via a router or a powerline NIC connected to a router. You then plug a powerline network adapter into a wall socket near your PC. After that, you run an ethernet cable from the powerline NIC to the PC.

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#6 RainbowSix

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 01:50 PM

If you have an old router, you can flash it with DD-WRT so that it can be used as a bridge.
This is a money saver, but it can be rather complicated to perform and you risk destroying your old router.
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#7 DJBPace07

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 09:14 PM

Flashing your router should only be used as a last resort. I say go with powerline if you don't want to open up your PC or like the reliability a wired connection offers. If you don't want to go that route, go for the Asus wireless NIC then the USB wireless, then the router mod.

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#8 unnnies

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 02:25 PM

WOW. You two have given me a lot to think about. Most generic information on this topic just debates usb vs PCI solutions.

Powerline looks awesome. Though it's more then I was looking to spend and since I only have dsl (average speed 1.3 mbps) I think it's more then I need right now.

I do have an old Netgear WGR614v6 lying around, but it doesn't seem to be flashable with any third party firmware. (to bad really, it will probably never be used again) The signal is weak in this room. My ipod drops out in here all the time verses say, when I'm working in my yard, where the ipod streams stuff like Pandora without a hitch. My computer is schedules to arrive tomorrow, then I'll be able to find out if I can add a PCIe without voiding the warranty. (need the s/n) If my warranty is not in jeopardy, I'll go ahead and put in a card, otherwise I'll use a bridge to boost the signal.

Much thanks DJBPace07 and RainbowSix!




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