Wireless adapters are available in many sizes and shapes. You should not assume two identical-looking adapters or modules the same in terms of performance and characteristics. Even if they look similar in their outlook, they might not be the same in many ways. Likewise, having a couple of antennae doesn’t mean that the adapter with one antenna is a weaker choice. Choosing the right USB WiFi module requires you to consider various factors apart from the aesthetics. You need to know the complete specifications of the module before you buy. In this guide, you will learn some helpful tips for an informed decision about the right USB wireless module.
Some devices come without built-in wireless support. And sometimes, the built-in WiFi functionality malfunctions because of a fault. In these cases, external wireless modules or adapters override the built-in WiFi functionality of the computer.
A USB WiFi module becomes an alternative to the built-in or faulty wireless functionality, providing reliable and faster connectivity to the network signals via USB port. Almost all computers come with USB ports, one at least.
So, you can use WiFi modules on both desktops and laptops with no or faulty built-in wireless functionality. These modules are plug-and-play devices, so you can conveniently plug and unplug the module into any computer when required.
Setting up your USB wireless adapter requires no special training as it is a simple plug-and-play device. It’s as easy as using a usual flash drive that you connect to your computer or laptop.
To set up your USB WiFi adapter, you simply need to insert it into one of the available computer ports. Then, the computer would recognize this device and ask you for proper driver installation.
If you don’t get this prompt, you can install the required drivers yourself. For manual driver installation, you should insert the CD (compact disc) into the CD drive that you get with your device.
Open the CD drive and run the setup file to begin the driver installation process. Some discs auto-run the installation process, making the process more convenient.
If you are not able to run driver software from the disc, you can search for the device drivers online. You can conveniently find the drivers for your USB WiFi module online through the device model. After completing the installation process, you should position the WiFi adapter and make sure it is near the router.
Also, make sure that the adapter is not obscured by obstacles, such as furniture or cables. After that, you just need to connect to the available wireless access point nearby.
That’s all, you are ready to stream and surf with ease. You will notice that your computer speed has improved after updating the network adapter.
More importantly, there is no need to invest in a new computer just because of the lack of wireless connectivity in your older computer. Now you understand how much money you would save and the convenience you get with these modules.
You may have a question in your mind that how much will it cost to buy and install a new USB WiFi module on your computer or laptop. Fortunately, these modules are not very expensive.
In fact, they save you a lot of money as there is no need to buy a new computer. Typically, you can buy WiFi adapters anywhere between $10 to $100+, depending on the quality, brand, and features.
However, you still need to make sure that you invest in the right module. You can read reviews about the available WiFi modules on the market to secure your investment. We will also list a few reliable WiFi modules below.
Remember that not all adapters are the same. They come with different technical specifications to meet the different needs of different users. You should only be able to buy the right wireless module if you know your exact requirements.
For instance, do you need a wireless module to surf the internet or do you need it for gaming? Be clear about your actual needs and it will help you invest in the right module. Therefore, you must not assume two similar-looking modules are the same. They will have different features and support for devices.
The selection of the right USB wireless modules depends on various factors. Below, we will discuss the most important information about the WiFi modules that you must learn. It should help you make an informed decision about the wireless module you need.
When searching for a WiFi module, the retailer will most probably ask you to choose from either a PCI or a USB adapter. The primary difference between the two adapters is their connection type to the host computer.
If you prefer convenience over performance, you should opt for USB modules. These modules or adapters come with the benefit of straightforward installation, just as you use your usual flash drive. USB modules come in antenna-free, small, and portable packages. However, they also come with advanced capabilities for dual-band wireless networking.
In contrast, PCI adapters incorporate spatial multiplexing and multiple antennas for max wireless-N throughput. However, the installation of a PCI module is difficult than the USB WiFi module.
Keep in mind that PCI adapter installation is not plug-and-play, so you will not have the convenience of straightforward installation. Choosing between PCI and USB wireless adapters depends on whether you want performance or convenience. If you need a WiFi adapter for your laptop, then a USB module would be the ideal choice.
All wireless modules come with the 802.11 number. The letters you see after 802.11 are the supported wireless transmission protocol of the router or module. An 802.11b module offers the slowest and shortest connection. If you need the fastest and broadest connectivity, you should look for an 802.11ac wireless module. These are the fastest wireless modules available on the market.
The most important thing while choosing a WiFi module is to make sure that the module should transmit on your module’s protocols. For example, if your module is 802.11ac, the wireless adapter you choose must also be on 802.11ac. The 802.11ac or 802.11n modules are typically suitable for users who require both the adapter and the router for reliable and fast connectivity.
If you decide to buy a USB WiFi module, the port type of the module will decide your connection speed. If there are just 2.0 USB ports in a laptop, for instance, the theoretical speed will touch a maximum of 60MB/s. In contrast, a 3.0 USB port would offer up to 640MB/s speed.
These numbers have nothing to do, if you have below 60MB/s broadband subscription, or if your protocol is not 802.11ac. However, it is a very significant factor that you must not overlook.
Both frequencies come with certain benefits as well as weaknesses. Therefore, it is necessary to spend some time in research for the right frequency according to your requirements before choosing one. As a simple rule, you should opt for a 2.4GHz frequency adapter if there are many walls in your home. Choosing 2.4GHz also becomes a rational decision if there will not be too many interfaces from additional wireless devices.
Most wireless devices work in the spectrum 2.4GHz and it means that the 5.0GHz frequency will be less susceptible to interference. Though, 5.0GHz transmission may experience signal loss issues for long distances. A few modern-day modules offer support for both 5GHz and 2.4GHz (dual-band modules). Therefore, purchasing one of such devices will allow you to select any band as per the situation.
In the market, you will find an assortment of low-quality USB WiFi module models with claims of great performance. However, such models barely last a few weeks.
Apart from the specifications, you must also pay close attention to the build quality of the module you choose. You should research the best quality adapters in the market to identify the models that offer reliable performance at a reasonable price.
Do not buy a WiFi module that is available at a very low price. Remember that WiFi modules available at extremely low prices are susceptible to premature failures.
Some WiFi modules are larger than others. Most often, the computer setup determines the size of the adapter you can choose. Usually, USB ports in a computer are near one another.
It means that the gadget you purchase must be compact enough to make sure it doesn’t block nearby ports. Moreover, if you have a laptop, a compact USB will have less chance of bumping into hurdles and breakdown when you are repositioning your computer.
It is always beneficial to invest in a wireless module from a reliable brand or manufacturer. Buying a WiFi module from an unknown brand or manufacturer is always a risky deal.
Therefore, you must inquire about the reputation of the brand/manufacturer before spending money on a particular model. To do so, you can conduct online research about the best manufacturers. Reading customer reviews will help you identify the most reliable manufacturer.
WiFi adapters have become so common because of their rising demand every day among tech enthusiasts. Therefore, you can easily look for WiFi adapters in your nearest electronic store. But, one problem with local stores is that you will hardly find an assortment of WiFi modules there.
Moreover, it is also a possibility that local stores will have expensive modules only for their customers. If you are on a budget, you may not be able to find a reliable WiFi module within your budget from the local store. Therefore, what would you do in such situations?
Luckily, most reputable companies and manufacturers also sell their wireless adapters online on their websites. You will find out an assortment of wireless adapters there at reduced prices.
This price difference is because there is no third party involved that took some portion of money from the actual cost of the product as commission. Then, there are online stores, such as Amazon and eBay where you can search thousands of WiFi modules at different prices. But again, it is important to research your potential purchase.
You must not waste your money and time on a third-class USB WiFi module just because it comes at a very cheap rate. You need a wireless adapter that can provide you a lag-free and interruption-free experience without losing the internet connection at all. Using the internet and keep using it for hours has become an integral part of our everyday life.
The world is going through a revolutionary phase in technology and everyone needs to reap its full advantages. The cheap quality WiFi adapters would never allow you to fully enjoy those advancements in technology.
Therefore, you better be choosing a high-quality wireless adapter after knowing your PC requirements than investing in a cheap price module. Remember that an expensive module should not necessarily be the best WiFi module. A module is best only if it fulfills your requirements. Therefore, proper research about the best modules is important according to your specific needs.
Choosing the right wireless module or adapter can be an overwhelming job because there are so many choices available on the market. However, the tips we have shared in this article help make an informed decision.
You should research online about the best USB WiFi module models available and shortlist the top choices among the lot. Go through the complete specifications of the shortlisted models to choose the best one according to your requirements. It is essential to choose a module with a solid exterior build and adapter size. Also, choose the right wireless frequency and USB ports according to your system.
For further details, you can contact us anytime. We are always available to help you with our experience and expertise.
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