Do you need a WiFi card when building a computer

In a world of technological progress and global digitalization, rapidly advancing technologies have touched every modern user. Access to the World Wide Web is no longer limited to the use of a computer alone. Today, almost everyone in the family, from young to old, has one or more different devices with access to the network. It is very handy in this case to install a Wi-Fi access point and transmit the signal to any connected device. Modern devices, such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, have built-in Wi-Fi receivers or cards, making it easy to link them together in a network.

A network card, or network adapter, is a part of the computer that determines how it interacts with the network. With the exception of older devices, many laptops and computers are already equipped with a network adapter when they are manufactured. This makes it possible to connect to the Internet without having to buy a separate element. But despite the built-in adapter, you can and should buy an additional external device, expanding the possibilities of data exchange.

So, here is about whether you need a WiFi card when you are going to build a computer.

What is a WiFi card

The computer can be connected to the Internet either physically via a cable connected to the network port of the PC, or wirelessly, for which the use of connectors is not required. A Wi-Fi network card makes it possible for the computer to receive a signal from the wireless network. It can be plugged into the PCI port of the motherboard or into a USB port on the computer, or more rarely into an Ethernet port (this type of connection is mostly used with older devices). A Wi-Fi card that plugs into a USB port of a PC or laptop is the most convenient in terms of mobility, as it is easy to connect it to another device if necessary.

In addition to the method of connection, there are differences in speed and adapter power. Some cards are only capable of receiving signals, while others are also capable of transmitting. Adapters equipped with SoftAP function provide the creation of a Wi-Fi access point. The range of signal receiving and transmitting can be performed over long distances up to hundreds of meters, as well as limited to a small access area. As in the case of the router for home use, there is no need to use too powerful network cards, unless of course, you are going to give out Wi-Fi to all the neighbors or to adopt someone else’s signal. Besides, the price will depend on the model’s power, but it is not reasonable to overpay for a card that will work in a small area. The more powerful adapter models are suitable for large areas of offices.

How does a WiFi card work

Wireless Internet access is provided by a network card and a router or modem working together. Wi-Fi technology works on a certain frequency range. Data is exchanged with the network by means of a router or modem, which uses radio waves to communicate with the airwaves. A network card, which reads and converts the signal into an electronic one, is used for the computer to receive the radio signal. All devices equipped with an adapter and within range of the router’s transmitter will receive the signal. To digitize the data so that they can be detected by the device, the adapter is equipped with a chip and special software that manages the operation of the module. For correct functioning, the necessary drivers must be installed.

Types of WiFi cards

All adapters are divided into two main categories:

  • External. Such network devices are connected via a USB port of a computer or laptop. They are not characterized by high data transfer speeds, but nicely compensate for this drawback in price, which is why they are the most popular today. These adapters look like USB memory sticks. To get started, you need to insert the device into a free port and connect to the wireless connection.
  • Internal, or embedded. They are connected to the PCI connector of the motherboard. To install this kind of adapter you have to remove the cover of the system unit. The size of the built-in network card is larger than that of the external one. This kind of device has a good bandwidth, resulting in a high data transfer rate. The price of the issue will be much higher than that of external adapters.

Do you need a WiFi card on your PC

Many desktop PCs don’t have built-in WiFi, which makes sense given that it will be standing on a desk or floor and is not a portable device. In an ideal world, you could route an ethernet cable from your switch or router to your PC for better connectivity and performance than WiFi, but that’s not always possible. Adding WiFi capabilities to your PC is the next best option for when you don’t have ethernet for whatever reason.

If you have to rely on a wireless connection, you can buy a PCIe WiFi card and install it on your computer. They are a little more expensive and require a little work to install, but they usually provide better performance compared to using a USB WiFi card.

When choosing a network adapter, pay attention not only to the functionality, because you will not use all the features of the card, and the price for a wide range of functions will increase several times. Pay attention to several factors, such as the size of your room in which the WiFi network will be used, the distance between the router and your computer, the thickness of the walls. An important role in the reliability of products is also played by the manufacturer. It is better to choose a trusted manufacturer. It is desirable to buy adapters of the same manufacturer as the router or modem, thus providing the best compatibility of devices.

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