Wireless internet connection is a crucial part of our everyday lives. From sharing messages, pictures, videos to HD video streaming, you just can’t live without it. As the days when wires ruled the world are almost gone, even if you’re a PC user, you’ll want to connect to the Wi-Fi for your tasks.
Although your motherboard may come with in-built Wi-Fi, you might suffer from poor connectivity and lower speeds. The best way to get rid of speed and connectivity issues is by installing a Wi-Fi card on your system.
So, if you’re looking for the best desktop wireless cards in the market, continue reading this guide to know all about them.
In a hurry? Check out this quick list.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Desktop Wireless Card
A wireless Wi-Fi or Peripheral Component Interconnect card will set you free from a jungle of Ethernet cables going across your house. With this card installed on your PC, you can enjoy uninterrupted internet connectivity from anywhere. Isn’t that great?
So, you need to do your homework before buying the right one. As many companies are offering these products, where they all seem amazing, you might get confused.
Here are some factors you need to keep in mind before buying a Wi-Fi card.
Be it gaming, putting social media posts, or video conferencing, speed is the most important factor. You have to check whether the speed offered by the Wi-Fi card will let you do your daily tasks properly. Therefore, research well, so that you don’t end up buying a slow one.
Your PC may be located farther from the router. In that case, you need a wireless card having a broad range so that you don’t suffer from poor connectivity issues. You can choose PC cards having antennas that work as receivers and transmitters. Some cards come with Beamforming technology. Both these technologies will enhance your connectivity.
Make sure the cards are compatible with the device’s networking standard. Most PCI adapters use IEEE 802.11 ac standard, which offers lightning speeds. Plus, older versions of IEEE 802.11 n, g, and b also work well with the standard. So, check it before buying.
Number of PC Slots
Choose a Wi-Fi card that is compatible with the number of PC slots in your system. Always buy a card that is equal to or lesser than the number of available slots. To assist you, here are the various Wi-Fi PC slots sizes –
- PCI-E 16: 89 mm
- PCI-E 8: 56 mm
- PCI-E 4: 39 mm
- PCI-E 1: 25 mm
Ease Of Installation
Always buy a PCI card that you set up very easily and without getting frustrated. You must be able to install the product within minutes without any professional support. In case you run into some troubles, check out the user manual given with the product.
Also, check whether the PCI card providers have dedicated 24/7 customer support. This will help you fix any issues you might face during the process.
Buy a product that has the best combination of security settings. Set up a password for your network, and also look for WEP encryptions. All this will safeguard your wireless connection from unauthorized access and hackers.
You can choose a product that has dual-band technology rather than single-band. It’s because dual-band will allow you to switch between 5GHz and 2 GHz. So, high-speed gaming and video streaming will be a breeze from now on.
Best PCI Wireless Cards
If you begin searching online, you are likely to be bombarded by thousands of options for PCI cards. As these come with a variety of prices, so don’t think that the costliest one is the best. To save you some time and effort, we have curated a list of the best desktop wireless cards out there.
This is the perfect product for those of you who want to set up their internet connection fast without any hassles. Running on an 802.11 ac chipset, dual-band technology, and offering speeds up to 1200 Mbps, you can surf the internet at great speeds.
Moreover, this is compatible with all common Wi-Fi standards such as IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11a, and IEEE 802.11n. The beamforming technology makes sure the signals are directed towards your PC at all times. And not only that, 2 external antennas offer fantastic Wi-Fi coverage and connectivity.
- Great for HD and 4K video streaming
- The heat sink dissipates heat and protects the core components
- Fully compatible with Windows 10
- Doesn’t work well with other operating systems
TP-LINK AC1200 – Best for those looking for a product that’ll offer broader coverage for a long time.
Ahoy gamers and users who want high-speed computing! This might just be your dream product. The card comes with dual-band technology and offers around 1300 Mbps of internet speed, which also makes it great for Ultra HD video streaming. The dual-band technology gives you the flexibility to switch between speeds and use them at your convenience.
This great product comes with 2 external antennas that’ll offer you a greater Wi-Fi range and a stable connection. Another useful feature of the product is the heat sink, which lets go of the heat efficiently. This protects your system and ensures that you can enjoy high-speed gaming and surfing for hours!
Although you’ll find this product a little expensive than some others, it’s slightly better than the TP-LINK AC1200, in terms of gaming.
- Lightweight and is compatible with a wide range of PCs
- Detachable antennas allow better flexibility and convenience
- Great network connectivity and stability
- The installation process is a bit complicated
TP-Link Archer T6E AC1300 – Best for hardcore gamers who enjoy HD video streaming at high speeds.
This product is great for daily internet use. Offering a steady speed of 300 Mbps, you can easily connect your PC with it and enjoy uninterrupted internet. It comes with MIMO technology that offers strong network penetration and wide coverage for a stable connection. The Clear Channel Assessment (CCA) technology avoids any conflicts in the channel, so you get a smooth internet connection.
It also comes with flexible antenna placement by offering you 2 detachable Omni-directional antennas. This feature enhances your connectivity and wireless performance.
You can go for this if you’re not looking for high-speed gaming or streaming PCI cards like the TP-LINK Archer T6E.
- You can easily install it using a CD coming with the Wi-Fi card
- Advanced security by maintaining WPA/WPA 2 security standards
- Supports Windows 10, 8, 7balong with Linux operating systems
- It is not suitable for high-speed gaming or video streaming
TP-Link Tl-WN881nd 300 Mbps – Best for users who want a decent gaming experience on a budget.
Another high-speed beauty, the TP-LINK Archer T5E is a product you’ll love for sure. The PCI adapter gives solid competition to the other high-speed adapters on this list. With a speed of up to 1167 Mbps, the dual-band technology puts you in the driver’s seat.
If you just want to send some emails or put a comment on Facebook, choose the 2.4 GHz band. For gaming or binge-watching web shows, the 5GHz band will be just awesome.
This wireless adapter has antennas that let you enjoy seamless internet across your whole house! It will not only expand your internet coverage but also improve your WiFi reception.
What’s more? This adapter has powerful Bluetooth 4.2 technology that allows you to connect Bluetooth devices. It can make non-Bluetooth systems use the power of Bluetooth! How cool is that?
- Supports all Windows operating systems such as 10, 7 and 8
- WPA/WPA 2 encryption standards offer you enhanced network security
- Simple installation using a CD
- The adapter is on the costlier side
TP-LINK Archer T5E – Best for households, where some family members use the internet for gaming/ video streaming and others use it for simple tasks.
5. Asus AX3000 (Pce-AX58BT) Next-Gen Wifi 6 Dual Band PCIe Wireless Adapter With Bluetooth 5.0 - Ofdma, 2x2 MU-Mimo And Wpa3 Security,Black
This adapter falls among the most powerful wireless adapters, offering excellent wireless connectivity for all desktops. It can convert normal desktops into ideal machines for games and streaming videos because of its Wi-Fi 6 technology. This adapter has flexible antenna placement with a magnetic antenna base, which lets your tweak these powerful antennas and improve your connectivity.
Plus, you get Bluetooth 5.0 for better coverage and high data transfer speeds up to 2 times than before. Talking about performance, Wi-Fi 6 offers faster connections, wider coverage, and stable bandwidth. Furthermore, it comes with MU-MIMO technology, which offers high-speed wireless connection across multiple devices.
- The adapter allows instant Bluetooth upgrade which will be 2 times faster
- Flexible antenna placement reduces signal interference and enhances wireless signals
- WPA 3 Network security offers an added layer of protection
- Even with awesome performance, the adapter is a bit expensive
Asus AX3000 (Pce-AX58BT) – Best for users who want a quality product with blazing internet service, and have a higher budget.
The Bottom Line
By now, you might have understood that you need an additional Wi-Fi PCI card for seamless connectivity on your PC. Whether you are using a budget PCI card or a costly one, make sure you’ve done your research. You have to look at its ease of installation, PCI-E slot compatibility, Wi-Fi capabilities, omnidirectional antennas, heat sink technology, and dual-band connectivity.
The best internet solution must be value for money. So, check online for experience reviews, and whether your chosen adapter will suit your needs. Always make sure that the PCI card is compatible with your system’s OS. We hope the details given in this article will help you in your search.