PCI-based WiFi adapters - are they any good?

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PCI-based WiFi adapters - are they any good?

Postposted on Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:43 pm

Hi guys. I'm planning to throw in a TP-Link TL-WN851N WiFi adapter into my planned Sandy Bridge build, since currently it'll be troublesome to actually wire a Cat5 network cable from our router, across the hall and into my room where I plan to place my project system in.

My question is, is this setup workable? What kind of problems should I expect from installing and operating such a WiFi adapter? I already know that running a physical wire is still the best solution as far as max bandwidth is concerned, but I really want to get rid of the wire and I wanted to see how much success other people have had with a WiFi adapter in their desktop rigs.

Thanks!
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Re: PCI-based WiFi adapters - are they any good?

Postposted on Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:19 pm

I used a PCI based wireless card for a few months a while back when we were sort of in between houses. While I didn't do anything super bandwidth intensive at the time, to be honest I didn't really notice any difference. Our internet service wasn't near fast enough to saturate the wireless connection, and it was stable enough not to cause me any problems.

So yeah, try it out. My guess is that it will work just fine for you, but even if it doesn't perform up to your expectations, at least you'll have a usable computer until you can get the wiring set up.
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Re: PCI-based WiFi adapters - are they any good?

Postposted on Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:09 pm

PCI WiFi adapters work better than USB dongles in my experience. I used a Belkin USB dongle with a lovely cord and base that let me hunt for the best signal. It died in less than three months. I suspect the designer expected me to eject it or turn off my desktop while it was not in use. 24/7 operation is probably what killed it. This XP system uses a Belkin Atheros chipset PCI-based adapter. The Atheros drivers and utilities work very well. Belkin's, not so much. Belkin for price, manufacturer for quality.

My biggest challenges as a cheap semi-literate consumer have been identifying which crappy no-name hardware packager accidentally sells good products at low prices.

In continuous service for more than two years and rotated through various PC builds and Windows operating systems. BTW, Windows 2000 gave me the most problems with WiFi.
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Re: PCI-based WiFi adapters - are they any good?

Postposted on Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:53 pm

Thanks for all the replies guys. Looks like I'll go ahead and buy the TP-Link WiFi card. I have an old Pentium 4 rig lying around here; I'll most likely test it on that first while I save up the moolah for the project rig.
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Re: PCI-based WiFi adapters - are they any good?

Postposted on Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:07 pm

Wireless bridge is an option as well. The DAP-2553 is pretty damn fast.
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Re: PCI-based WiFi adapters - are they any good?

Postposted on Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:36 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:Wireless bridge is an option as well. The DAP-2553 is pretty damn fast.

Interesting. I'll check this out before committing. Thanks!

I'm not sure if this exact model is available where I'm from, but D-Link should have alternatives.
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Re: PCI-based WiFi adapters - are they any good?

Postposted on Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:41 am

I don't know anything about that PCI card in particular, but one significant benefit many of them offer (including this one) is detachable antennas. This allows you to position the antennas for optimum reception for just the price of a bit of coax cable, or even add an amplified or directional antenna if necessary. Or course many bridges (or access points operating as bridges) offer this as well.
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