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What is a Wi-Fi Adapter

What is a Wi-Fi Adapter & How Does It Work — The Ultimate Guide

What is a Wi-Fi Adapter

A Wi-Fi adapter is a combination of a radio transmitter and receiver. It allows the users to choose between two bandwidth frequencies – 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. And, the latest laptops have built-in Wi-Fi adapters to send or receive data from a DSL router.

Wi-Fi adapters are also integrated into the DOCSIS routers. Turn the Wi-Fi adapters into a gateway by connecting a modem. However, you need to check whether the device is compatible with the modem/router. Otherwise, you may face connectivity issues when using a Wi-Fi adapter.

Is the Wi-Fi slow even after choosing the 100 Mbps internet plan? Then, the laptop relies on IEEE standards. And, you have two ways to resolve this problem. The users can buy a new router that can transmit/receive 5 GHz bandwidth. Or, you can get a Wi-Fi adapter to increase the data transfer speed.

Buy an advanced Wi-Fi adapter for the laptop. It will cost less than getting a new wireless router. Moreover, there are many Wi-Fi adapters available for PCs or laptops. Look for the right one and ensure it uses effective security protocols. This will prevent hackers from accessing the device data.

What is the function of a Wi-Fi Adapter?

A Wi-Fi adapter enables the PC’s or laptop’s built-in wireless functionality. It converts data from a binary electronic form into radio frequency signals. And, transmit and receive RF signals to share the data to the connected devices.

Wireless adapters work similarly to a radio or television. These devices receive signals and convert them into an output – sound or sight. A Wi-Fi adapter receives signals and converts them into data for transmission.

However, different types of network adapters work differently. Do you use a USB Wi-Fi adapter? Do you know how this networking equipment works? It sends and receives data to the available Wi-Fi networks in the form of radio waves.

The device will receive an IP address once the Wi-Fi network authorises access. And, you can then get access to the wireless network. However, an error message will appear if the Wi-Fi adapter fails. Thus, check the Wi-Fi password to avoid communication failure.

What are the different types of Wi-Fi Adapters?

Before buying a Wi-Fi adapter, ensure that it tailors your home or office needs. The latest computers or laptops can utilise several kinds of network adapters. However, certain factors need to be considered before that. Determine whether the adapter has a single or dual-band signal range.

Do you need the internet for media streaming or gaming? Select a Wi-Fi adapter with high data transfer rates – It should be 500 Mbps or more. Additionally, you need to check the wireless router’s security settings. Get an adapter that matches the router’s security options. Confirm that the network adapter is compatible with the device’s OS.

And, here are the different adapter types that you should know about:

Integrated Adapters

These adapters are mostly found on laptops, tablets and smartphones. And, it offers more convenience than any other Wi-Fi adapter. However, certain limitations are associated with the integrated adapters.

It is a factory-installed device and can’t be accessed easily. Moreover, you can’t upgrade this adapter to the latest IEEE standards. Its external antennas take time to send or receive radio signals to the devices.

USB Adapters

It supports all devices including laptops and computers. And, these adapters are easy to configure and use. Doesn’t the device have a USB port? Then, you can’t connect a USB adapter there. Additionally, you need to check whether the USB port is working or not.

A computer’s rear USB ports are preferred for adapters, because they tend to provide more power to Wi-Fi antennas. There are also “nano” USB adapters available for the laptops. These devices need stronger Wi-Fi signals than standard adapters.

Besides, the USB adapters are easy to install. Some are considered as plug and play devices. But, there are adapters which require a CD for the installation. Most laptops lack optical drives these days. And, you need to download the adapter’s software in such cases.

PCIe Adapters

You must have heard about this Wi-Fi adapter, right? It fits into the PC’s motherboard slot. And, one must have the technical skills to install this device. Most PCIe adapters have adjustable antennas. And, it helps to extend the device’s wireless signal range.

Do you have a laptop or Notebook? Then, go for the Mini-PCIe wireless cards. Moreover, these adapters use MIMO technology to offer more throughput. Always choose PCIe adapters over USB adapters for a faster data transfer. But, ensure the router or modem has MIMO support. Otherwise, the PCIe adapter won’t work on the device.

Desktop PC Motherboard Adapters

This adapter works similarly to PCIe. Manufacturers install this network adapter on a PC’s motherboard. But, like PCIe adapters, they are not built inside the card slot. Moreover, you will find the antennas outside the PC’s case. But, do you know why? It is for providing better signal strength and less network interference.

Have you used a PC motherboard for 4-5 years? Replace it with a Wi-Fi-enabled motherboard. Ensure that the adapter is compatible with the router. And, it should support 802.11g or 802.11n standards. Or, get a Wi-Fi adapter that works with 802. ac wireless standard.

Benefits of Using a Wireless Adapter

An advanced network adapter offers several benefits. You no longer need to connect the PC to an ethernet cable. Get uninterrupted internet services using this device. Moreover, the users don’t need to install additional hardware to use Wi-Fi.

Do you know what the best part about this adapter is? It lets you connect multiple devices simultaneously. Don’t spend on a new laptop if the existing one doesn’t have wireless functionality. Get a new Wi-Fi adapter instead to use the internet.

The latest adapters support beamforming technology. Improve the browsing experience by installing the right wireless adapter. However, you need to reconfigure the PC’s wireless configuration. Otherwise, it might generate issues with sending or receive data.