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Darth Gerbil
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Wireless on a mobo

Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:54 pm

Are there any good mobos that have wireless built in, and is it any good?

I ask because my wireless NIC has needed its drivers reinstalled twice in the last three years which is two times more than any other piece of hardware in my system (barring updates, of course). Perhaps built-in wireless cards are more easily managed?
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Re: Wireless on a mobo

Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:35 am

It's a pretty rare feature, but it does exist. IIRC a couple of Asus mobos have had it.

But even if you manage to find a mobo with WiFi I would not count on it being any better than a name-brand add-in card though. AFAIK none of the desktop chipsets integrate WiFi, so the mobos that have it are probably using the same wireless chips as the add-in cards, interfaced over the motherboard's internal PCI/PCIe bus. Same chips implies same drivers. Plus you've got sensitive analog/RF electronics directly on the motherboard, where if anything it will be *more* susceptible to interference unless the mobo designer is really careful...

My advice would be to do a little research, and pick up a well-regarded add-in card to replace the one you've got.
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Re: Wireless on a mobo

Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:07 am

It's a more common feature on smaller boards that have less room for expansion, usually intended for HTPC/streaming usage. These solutions rely on external antennas as well.

As just brew it said, no current x86 desktop chipset supports Wi-Fi natively, so all of these solutions still require drivers at some level. Any differences will depend on what chip is internally used. Most of these chips are interfaced over PCI or PCIe, but to expand on that, some motherboards that feature built-in Wi-Fi do it via an actual Mini-PCIe add-on card anyway.

How do the reviews look for your current card? If it's an older card, it may be a more recent OS-support issue as well. Google for your symptoms using the model number, or just look for a decent new card(or external), as jbi said.

A more direct response is that without knowing your card's model number, there isn't much anyone can say as to if any Mobo + Wi-Fi would suit you better.
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Re: Wireless on a mobo

Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:13 am

Here's a driverless WiFi solution for your desktop PC: ... MB&cat=157
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Re: Wireless on a mobo

Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:15 am

I had completely forgotten about Ethernet -> Wi-Fi bridges.

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