Making a Desktop Computer Wireless

We recently responded to an email from a client who wanted to know if her desktop PC could be made wireless, and we realized that the answer might be of benefit to you, our loyal blog reader, so here it is:

In short, yes, you can!

If you’re comfortable installing a card inside your computer, you can get an internal wireless network adapter.  It will have an antenna that will protrude from the back of the PC.  If you’d rather not have to open your computer and install software manually, you can get a wireless USB dongle that would simply plug into one of the USB ports on the front or back of the PC, and would likely automate the software installation process for you.

Unless you’re doing a lot of file-sharing between your own computers, in-house, your wireless connection will not be your bottleneck, so virtually any adapter would be fine.  However, for future compatibility, you’d probably want to get at least an 802.11n adapter, if not one of the latest 802.11ac adapters.

If your wireless router supports it, the only other feature that might be important to consider would be “dual band.”  Virtually all contemporary Wi-Fi devices operate in the 2.4 GHz frequency range, but there are only three non-overlapping channels in that range.  There is a less-common 5 GHz range also available – all 802.11ac devices support it, and “dual band” 802.11n devices support it, too.  If you’re in a Wi-Fi-crowded environment, you might benefit from the option to use the less-crowded 5 GHz range, because your neighbors’ use of their Wi-Fi can impact your throughput.  To decide, open up the Wi-Fi connection dialog on your cell phone or wireless computer, and count how many networks are detected – if you see more than just yours and one or two others, it’d probably be best for you to get a dual-band adapter.

Naturally, if you need more help with the upgrade, Maverick Solutions would be happy to be of assistance; call or email for a no-cost consultation.

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