Wireless Network Card

It seems like magic. As soon as you install a wireless network card in your desktop or laptop computer, suddenly, in certain hot spots, your computer is able to grasp internet access out of thin air. With a wireless network card, it is easier than ever to feel like you are connected to the rest of the world no matter where you are.

But how do wireless network cards work? And aside from that freeing feeling of instant connectivity, why buy one? Luckily for those asking the latter question, wireless network cards come standard aboard most desktop and laptop computers these days. If you are in the market for a new computer, and feel like a little lacking in the technology know-how department when it comes to manually upgrading, then simply buying new computer is a viable option. Otherwise, if you choose to price and purchase a wireless network card, you will then have to pay for installation as well (or try it yourself, with some risk!) On the other hand, if you are ready to crack open that PC case and get started installing, there are a few things you should know about wireless network cards before you begin.

A Peripheral Component Interconnect (more commonly known as a PCI), is the industry standard device for connecting devices (like the wireless network card), to a computer’s central processor. Basically, the PCI allows all devices to communicate by establishing a common connection, known as a bus. The bus is located inside the computer, and in order to get started connecting wirelessly, you must install the wireless network card to the bus.

If this sounds difficult and you are a laptop owner looking for alternatives, there is help. While out and about at your local coffee shop, you may have noticed some laptops with thick devices protruding from their sides. Those are PC card wireless network adapters and they function to allow a laptop to connect to the internet. That’s why you often see wireless network cards at coffee shops and other places that offer wireless internet – people are using them to harness the internet to work, shop or browse. Held in your hand, these PC card wireless network adapters are essentially the height and width of a credit card. They can generally be found at most electronics or even department stores in prices ranging from approximately $30 to approximately $60.

It’s important to note that you cannot expect to take your laptop with its wireless network card out and expect to get connected to the internet from anywhere. Wireless network cards will specify a range when you buy them. Some wireless network cards can allow you to connect to the internet at arrange of 700 feet or more, but experts warn that the range specified on the packaging is the range you will be able to get only in optimal conditions. The presence of obstructions, such as refrigerators, fuse boxes, metal plumbing, and air conditioning units can hamper wireless network range extensively. For best access to the internet from home, place your router or other internet source in a central location in your home, away from major electronic appliances. If you fear connection issues due to limited range, keep in mind that some cards come with an extendable antenna. Well-positioned, the antenna can help extend the wireless network card’s range immensely.

Wireless internet cards are also a great option when it comes to home or office networking. While many experts still prefer wired networks due to what they perceive as wireless internet’s spotty service and penchant for outages, with the advent of new wireless technology, all that will soon become a thing of the past.

This Wireless Network Card Review is Written/Updated on Aug 3rd, 2009 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed