Making PC Wireless

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squidgster | 19:05 Tue 25th Aug 2009 | Technology
8 Answers
We currently have a PC connected up to a (wireless) router with an ethernet cable. We have a laptop that connects to it wirelessly around the house.

When I move house shortly, the PC is going to be in an area with no phone socket, so will also need to be able to connect wirelessly to the router.

How is the best way to go about this? Is it a USB wireless adaptor I need? Are these quite reliable? And does it make any difference at all what make it is, or is it best to go for one the same make as the router (Netgear) for better compatability?

Any advice? Many thanks!


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have the choice of a long Ethernet cable to the router (30 metres or even more), or wifi. If you want wifi, then yes just get. USB adapter. Netgear are a good brand, so look for one f theirs. Ebuyer and Amazon will sell them T good prices.
the make is irrelevant - any adapter will talk to any router.
USB and PCI wireless adapters are (in my opinion) equally (un)reliable.
A USB adapter is easier to install - you just plug it into a USB slot - whereas to install an internal (PCI) adapter involves opening the PC case, removing a blanking plate and installing the adapter (if there is a free slot).
If at all possible, go for a wired connection - simpler, cheaper, less hassle.
I'm with fo3 - run a wire - desktops are a big metal box with a big magnetic thingy on top (monitor)

if you wanted to disable a wifi adapter That combination is a good way of doing it

vagrant is right ... on paper ... but in practice some adapters do a better job than others

if you must - I'd get a usb adapter and an 18" usb adapter so you can try the dongle in different positions
Some more "premium" USB Wi-Fi adapters come complete with a dock and a trailing USB cable, for more customisation in your positioning. I, for one, use one such adapter for my desktop PC in the main bedroom, with the wireless router in the lounge, through two walls. Signal is great.

Brand can be important though. My wireless router is Netgear, but when I used a Netgear adapter, my PC would freeze every few hours and require a reboot. The WG111T doesn't like non-Intel based systems, so avoid that one if you have an AMD cpu, otherwise it worked fine.

Getting good wireless performance is, thankfully, more science than art unlike what a lot of people suggest. Good positioning, and taking a few initial steps (like switching to an uncrowded channel) will set you in good stead. Does it perform as well as a cable? On paper, no, but in practice if you're using it for the Internet rather than file transfers from one PC to another, it's basically transparent and it significantly more flexible post setup.
fo3nix and AC know their onions and I wouldn't disagree with what they are saying, however...

I installed the cheapest no-name USD wireless adapter I could find on ebay on my mother-in-law's desktop about a year ago. The signal goes through two walls, one of them a proper external wall (into their extension) and there has never been a problem.

For the sake of another few quid though, if it was me I would go with the Netgear recommendation.
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Thanks everyone very much for your answers!

It's kind of an open plan style living space, but just don't fancy having an ethernet cable trailing from one corner right the way over to an opposite corner.

I had reckoned on trying a Netgear USB adaptor, though do have an oldish AMD Athlon system, so now not so sure about that.

It will purely be used to connect to the internet - not fussed about connecting between computers etc for file sharing or printing etc. I think I'll probably just try and pick an adaptor to try and keep my fingers crossed!
hammer - you are absolutely right ... and that's why I hate wifi
I've had matched kit that wouldn't work together - but worked with different mfr's kit

and the cheapest possible kit out performing the expensive stuff

What I try to do is buy locally (I live close to CCL) - it makes taking stuff back easier

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