Wireless USB adapters VS. wireless PCI adapters

I'm thinking about getting a wireless card for my backup computer, and I'm not sure what to go with. I'm tempted to try the Hawking wireless USB adapter with the external antenna.

But I've heard rumors that USB adapters don't have nearly the power or range of a PCI card, and I really want to know whats better before I buy.

Thx, Borgslayer

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Most PCI cards have an external antenna port which gives you more flexibility.

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An AP in client mode is just-plug-and-play in the LAN port, independent from the OS you installed in your computer.

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I lean towards USB adapters WITH EXTERNAL ANTENNA CONNECTOR. Hawking makes one. There are others on the market as well.

To me this is the best of both worlds. A PCI card will not typically have good range when stuck behind your metal pc. You can buy a remote antenna with cable, but their thin cables typically are lossy.

A USB adapter can be placed higher,, and often, even with it's typically weaker stock antenna (antenna is more important that power) it can work better due to better placement.

Furthermore, USB extensions do not lose power like antenna cables.

Finally, if it has an external antenna connector, you can directly attach a higher gain directional antenna (again, avoid antenna cables, if possible) and improve range and power over a PCI.


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If your spare m/c is an older one you may or may not have problems getting it to recognise the USB adaptor (Buffalo). We tried to do just as you, and found that our old Dell laptop recognised the adaptor for about a week, and was very good. Then it decided not to recognise the device any more, and despite a lengthy correspondence in these columns I never did manage to find out how to keep it 'recognised'. The device is still in use however, as we found it was much faster on our main pc than the onboard D-Link card. It also seems to work faster still when both adaptors are working at the same time - but they don't always 'get on'.

I looked at using a PCI card instead of the USB, but, found as many threads dealing with these not being 'recognised' as for our USB (with or without additional power supply), so decided not to bother in the end. Old laptop is rather heavy, and ready for replacement anyway...

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