By Ki Grinsing
When we talk about wireless laptop adapter, there are only two reasons why we need it. Firstly the type of the laptop is from old generation that doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi adapter. Secondly, you need to upgrade the existing Wi-Fi adapter to the recent generation of the wireless technology to perform much better in connecting to the latest network technology.
Wifi Speeds up to 450Mbps
The recent generation of the wireless technology is the wireless N (802.11n) which can deliver the speeds up to 450Mbps using three-spatial streaming MIMO antenna technology. The lowest wireless N technology is the N150 delivering the speeds up to 150Mbps. To obtain the maximum data throughput between your wireless laptop adapters to the network, the adapter should have at least the same wireless technology. If your existing wireless network is powered by the high performance router such as wireless N600 router, your adapter should support at least wireless N300 technology maximum data throughput.
3 types of wifi adapters for laptop
There are three types of wireless laptop adapters you can install to your laptops: the USB wireless adapters; the Card-bus wireless adapters and the wireless express-card adapters (for laptop with Express-card ready). The USB wireless adapters are very flexible adapters; you can install them to the laptops or to the desktop computers. Card-bus and Express-Card wireless adapters can only be installed to the laptops, and the Express-card adapter can only be installed to the laptop with Express-card slot ready.
USB Wireless Laptop Adapters
With USB adapters, you have lots of choices ranging the USB adapters with N150, N300, N450 or N600 wireless technologies. The prefix N means the device used wireless N (802.11n) standards and the “numbers” after the N is the speeds. For example USB wireless N300 means the adapter delivers the speed up to 300Mbps. But the adapters with N600 don’t mean the maximum speed is 600Mbps, but it support dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz bands) and each band delivers the speed up to 300Mbps.
N150 USB Wireless Laptop Adapters
Examples of the wireless USB adapters with N150 technology you can consider Buffalo N150 USB adapters including WLI-UC-GNM AirStation and WLI-UC-GNHP high power adapter. The WLI-UC-GNM is a very small and compact USB adapter and supports both Ad-hoc and Infrastructure. While the WLI-UC-GNHP is the high power adapter that uses hi-gain Omni-directional antenna for extended range and speed. You can adjust the position of the antenna for fine tuning, but this one can only support infrastructure mode.
You can also consider the TP-Link TL-WN722N 150M high gain adapter which supports Ad-hoc and infrastructure modes. The adapter includes 4dBi Omni-directional detachable antenna and USB cradle for flexible deployment.
Click here for USB wireless adapters with single 2.4GHz band.
N300 USB Wireless Laptop Adapter
With N300 Wireless USB adapter you can connect to any high performance routers including routers with N300 or N600 technology for maximum data throughput with the high speed up to 300Mbps. For example Buffalo N300 USB wireless adapters including the WLI-UC-G300HP and WLI-UC-G300N N300 adapters. Both are high power USB adapters with WPS/AOSS support ideal for streaming HD video and smooth gaming.
You can also consider Atheros based USB wireless adapters such as TP-LINK TL-WN821N. It can support both Ad-hoc and infrastructure modes with MIMO antenna technology. The good thing with this adapter is that it adopts CCA technology to automatically avoid channel conflicts using its channel selection feature. And it also supports roaming technology to guarantee efficient wireless connections.
N600 Wireless Laptop Adapter
Wireless N600 adapters are selectable dual band adapters that can operate under 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands. The adapters are ideal solutions in connecting to any wireless simultaneous dual band networks. The adapters can select the best radio band for better performance. For example Linksys AE1000, Netgear WNDA3100, DWA160 D-Link dual band USB wireless adapters.
Linksys AE1000 shipped into the market to support Linksys E series wireless routers with N300 and N600 technology including new generation Linksys E3200; E2500 or the previous E series generation including Linksys E3000. WNDA3100 is shipped into the market to support Netgear wireless N300 and N600 wireless routers including WNDR3700; WNDR37Av and WNDR3400 wireless dual band routers.
Express-Card Wireless Laptop Adapter
Express-Card technology offers dramatic increase in bandwidth because it has a direct connection to the system bus over a PCI Express x1 lane and USB 2.0. Express-card uses lower voltages than the previous CardBus slots (1.5V and 3.3V versus 3.3V and 5.0V). For example, you can consider Linksys WEC-600 dual band wireless N Express-card adapter or D-Link DWA-643 Xtreme N – ideal for any types of laptops with Express-card enable. Connect the adapters to any wireless N300 or wireless N600 routers for maximum data throughput.
Card Bus Laptop Wireless Adapter
Old generation laptops do not include Wi-Fi adapters but mostly include Card Bus slots (PCMCIA) you can use for any types of wireless Card-bus adapters to connect to the wireless network. If the laptops still have one USB port available, USB wireless adapter is a preference rather than Card Bus adapter. For example you can consider Cisco-Linksys WPC300N Wireless-N Notebook Adapter or Cisco-Linksys WPC600N Ultra RangePlus Dual-Band Wireless-N PC Card.
The Linksys WPC300N supports wireless N (draft 802.11n) single 2.4GHz band with MIMO antenna technology to let you connect to the wireless N network with 2.4GHz band. But the WPC600N supports wireless N (draft 802.11n) dual band you can select when connects to any simultaneous dual band routers such as Linksys E3200 or Linksys E2500.