So, that old Pentium 4 laptop you got in college hasn’t given up the ghost, and you see no reason to get something new. You’ve got it all tricked out with the best RAM efficiency and maximizing software so that you can just barely eek out a streaming video on Netflix. Hey, good for you. Not contributing to the mountain of e-waste produced every year in the world is a noble endeavor. The only problem is hardwired Ethernet ports are starting to go the way of the wooly mammoth. It’s time for you to join modern civilization and add a wireless network adapter.
With a laptop, here are your three main options for adding wireless networking capability to your computer.
1. USB Adaptor
The easiest, most cost-effective solution to adding wireless capability to your laptop is to get a USB WiFi adaptor. Take it out of the package. Stick it in the USB port, and bam! These handy little devices are about the same size of a flash memory stick, so they can be easily stored when not plugged into your device. However, this also means they can be easily lost/damaged. Their main downside is reception. Walls and physical obstructions greatly diminish the strength of the signal. Nevertheless, they are cheap, costing fifteen to twenty dollars on average, and they work fairly well.
Also known as a CardBus, most laptops have a port somewhere on their chassis that allows for an auxiliary device to be seamlessly and effortless installed in your laptop. The CardBus adapter is a good choice for adding wireless capability to old faithful. It provides excellent signal strength and abilities. The downside is that they tend to cost a little more than the other options, and you must have a vacant CardBus slot.
3. Mini PCI
A mini PCI interface, like its big brother the PCI, must be placed internally in a system. The result is a wireless adapter that offers the widest range of features, speed and reception, and at the same time, it does not take up your CardBus or dangle. They are inexpensive (about twenty dollars) and permanent. The downside is, of course, that you must perform laparoscopic surgery on your laptop.
There could be any reason why you want to add a wireless network adapter to your laptop, but making the selection is holding you back. Knowing your options will help you make the right choice for your needs.
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