You no longer need to be inconvenienced by ethernet cables to have your PC internet-ready. Sure, you may argue an ethernet connection is better than wireless in some situations; if you are a gamer or someone who typically needs a strong internet connection without downtime. However, technological advancements today allow you to use the best WiFi card for PC to get the same results.
A WiFi card allows you to upgrade your motherboard's wireless network connectivity by receiving signals from your router, thus allowing you to connect from a distance. You can get a WiFi card with different capabilities such as 2.4 GHz or 5GHz, with different WiFi chips, and more.
If you wonder which wi-fi card is best for you, keep reading this article so you can explore five options that will guide you to your best wi-fi card.
1. TP-Link WiFi 6 Archer TX3000E PCIe WiFi Card
This wireless network card is your ultimate buy if you are a gamer using a WiFi 6 router. It supports 2.4GHz and 5.0 GHz wireless bands so that you can work with 574mbps and 2402mbps, respectively. These speeds will eliminate sluggish connections so you can work without stress.
The card also uses OFDMA and MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple inputs, multiple outputs) technology to minimize lag. With OFDMA, you will enjoy the strongest wi-fi signal even when sharing the router with other PCs or users.
The card also comes with two high-gain external antennas with a magnetized base so you can position them anywhere on the case for better signals from the router. Additionally, the PCIe wi fi card is equipped with the latest Bluetooth 5.0 for better speeds and coverage, so, as a gamer, you are also able to connect your headphones, game controllers, and keyboards for the best experience.
The package is quite affordable and will be compatible with all Windows 10 (64-bit) PCs.
2. ASUS PCE-AC88 Dual-Band Wireless Adapter
- Dual-band 4x4 AC3100 Wi-Fi with speeds up to 2100Mbps (5GHz band) and 1000Mbps 2. 4GHz band.
- External magnetic antenna base allows flexible antenna placement to maximize coverage. Note- support MU-MIMO technology
- Individual antennas can also attach directly to PCIe Card for compact installation. Modulation-1024qam.
- Custom heatsink effectively dissipates heat for improved stability and reliability. Os support-windows 10 86x64, Windows 7 86x64.
- R-sma antenna connectors enable compatibility with a variety of aftermarket antennas. Quoted network speeds and bandwidth based on current IEEE 802. 11AC specifications. Actual performance may be affected by network and service provider factors, interface Type, and other conditions. Connected devices must be 802patible for best results
This Asus is your best WiFi card for PC for online gaming. It is a WiFi 5 card with 4x4 WiFi support. It can offer speeds of up to 2100Mbps and 1000Mbps, so you never have to worry about losing your connection in the middle of a game.
Additionally, if you use a powerful router, this wifi card will also support MU-MIMO technology with strengths that can rival WiFi 6. Like the TP-Link option above, this Asus wi-fi card also comes with external antennas with a magnetic base so you can position them better to communicate with the router.
While it is a great wi-fi card and one you should have as a gamer, it also comes with a high price tag and lacking Bluetooth compatibility. Should you want to use Bluetooth with the PC, you can use a USB adapter for that. It supports PCs running on Windows 7 and newer operating systems.
3. EDUP PCIe Wifi 6 Wireless Network Card
- EDUP PCIe Wireless Network Card with Wi-Fi 6 Technology, Compatible with OS Windows 10 64bit for desktop PC.
- EDUP WiFi Card supports OFDMA and AX MU-MIMO technology, Upgrade your Wi Fi speeds up to 3000Mbps. Frequency 5. 8GHz up to 2400Mbps, Frequency 2. 4GHz up to 600Mbps.
- EDUP PCI Express wireless network card with two 6dBi high-gain dual band antennas; Compatible with IEEE 802. 11 ax/ac/b/g/n
- EDUP WiFi 6 Card with high quality heat sink; Works with PCI-E X1, X4, X8, X16 slot. ( Not for PCI slot )
- This wifi card supports Bluetooth 5.1 Technology, ( Note: you have to insert the power cable to the Motherboard 9-pin interface for Bluetooth function)
This card comes with WiFi 6 technology so that you can enjoy better speeds even on a budget. It costs less than the other two options above but also does not compromise quality. It is a good buy if you want to upgrade your PC wireless connection.
It supports MU-MIMO, OFDMA, and Bluetooth 5.o. Like the TP-Link wifi card above, this EDUP model uses the WiFi 6 chipset and offers high internet speeds of 3000 Mbps on the 5.8GHz frequency and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz frequency.
While it comes with two high-gain antennas, they do not come in a separate set, meaning you will have to find one best position to receive the strongest signals from your router. If you want to position them without obstructions, you can opt for aftermarket antennas.
It is the best wifi card for pc running on Windows 10 or Linux and Chrome. It also comes with a quality heatsink and is available in a red color option.
4. Rosewill N300 PCIe WiFi Wireless Adapter
- Complies with IEEE 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n Wi-Fi protocol standards for 2.4GHz wireless LAN
- Wireless adapter speeds up to 300Mbps high-speed internet; ideal for lag-free online gaming, smooth HD video streaming and solid internet calls
- Two high gain 5 dBi detachable antennas for optimally tuned and wide range wireless coverage; compact size and reliable wireless connectivity wherever you go
- Compatible with Windows XP/7/8/8.1/10
- Supports 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2 Advanced Internet Security
This wi-fi card is your go-to option when you only need to get your PC connected to the internet wirelessly. It definitely is not a card for your gaming PC, but it will allow you to send emails and stream music without having to stay glued to the ethernet cables.
In terms of speed, this affordable wi-fi card offers speeds of 300 Mbps and does not come with a 5.0GHz frequency. As a Wifi 4 card, it will support different operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 10.
It also comes with two high gain 5 dBi detachable antennas, but you also have to find the best position for the optimum wireless range from the router. The card lacks any Bluetooth connectivity.
5. FebSmart PCI Express WiFi Bluetooth Adapter for PC
- 1.FS-AC85BT offers lighting fast speed and stable wireless connection at 2.4GHz 300Mbps and 5GHz 867Mbps max throughput on PCs. The 2X2 MIMO and TX Beamformee technology allow connected device get long range,stable,few loss network for internet surfing,file downloading,online gaming and 4K ultra HD video streaming.Fully support dual mode Bluetooth 4.2 with enhance data rate (EDR) for home use earphone and speakers.
- 2.Wi-Fi Protocol: IEEE 802.11 AC; Operation Frequency:5GHz and 2.4GHz;Channel Utilization: 2.4GHz 20/40 MHz,5GHz 20/40/80 MHz; Bluetooth Technology:Dual Mode Bluetooth Version 4.2 ;Selected Qualcomm Atheros Wireless AC network solution make sure device get max Wi-Fi throughput and enough bandwidth.Equipped 2X 3dBi external detachable omni-directional dual band antenna will enhance Wi-Fi stability and Wi-Fi reception range.
- 3.The added on Heatsink will let PCIe WiFi card core components stay away from over heat, and ensure users connected device stays at peak speed. Advanced 802.11ac features such as 2-Stream MIMO and Transmit Beamformee to increase network capacity,as well as maximal likelihood decoding,low-density parity check,maximum ratio combining for robust link connection.
- 4.System Requirements: Plug and Play on Windows 10(32/64bit), Windows Server 2012 2012R2 2016 2019.Need to Install Driver on Windows 7, 8,8.1(32/64bit) Windows Server 2008 2008R2(32/64bit).Warning: NOT for Windows XP/Vista System; Wireless Encryption: WEP,WPA/WPA2 ,WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES).
- 5. PCI-E X1 design will compatible on PCI-E X1, X4, X8, X16 slots. Based on PCI-E 2.0 comply with PCI-E 1.X,2.X,3.X. Low profile and full size bracket inside make sure able to work on slim and standard PCs and working stations.
This wi-fi card will not support heavy gaming, but it is a great buy if you are just getting started with gaming and have a tight budget. It comes with two frequencies; 5 GHz that supports speeds of up to 876 Mbps, and 2.4 GHz that supports speeds of up to 3oo Mbps.
It also uses Beamforming technology to enhance data transfer prioritization and uses 2x2 MU-MIMO technology to support several devices without lag. The card also supports Bluetooth, but the older 4.2 version. It comes with a custom heatsink to prevent overheating.
This wi-fi card comes with dual-band antennas and will support a desktop PC running on Windows 7 to 10 and Linux.
Factors to Consider When Buying The Best WiFi Card for PC
Before buying any wi-fi card, it is best to understand exactly how it works, and then you will purchase the most compatible one for your PC.
A wi-fi card adds wireless connectivity to your PC when you install it on the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, PCIe, slot on your motherboard or through a USB port. The card acts as a receiver and transmitter to enable WiFi reception on your desktop PC.
It initially connects to the wireless router nearby, then transmits the data to your PC so you can surf, game, or stream without having to connect through an ethernet cable. To use the wi-fi card successfully, you will need to be close to the router.
When you want to buy the best WiFi card for PC, these are the essential features you need to consider to guarantee fast and stable WiFi speeds.
a) WiFi standards
The Wi-Fi standard also points out compatibility. When buying the best wi-fi cards, you need to compare the strength of your router versus the strength of the card you want. In simple terms, if you have a WiFi 6 router, it is best to buy a wi-fi card that uses a WiFi 6 chipset as it will match the internet speeds you need for gaming or other heavy tasks.
There is no penalty if you buy a lower-performance wireless adapter, but doing so will interfere with the needed wireless capability.
b) Frequency bands
When looking for the best wi-fi adapters, it is important to understand the frequency bands and how they can affect your performance. WiFi cards can support two wi-fi bands; 2.4 GHz and 5.o GHz. In most cases, it is best to buy a card that supports these frequencies for maximum performance when you also have a dual-band router.
A 2.4 GHz frequency band is slower than the 5.o GHz band. However, it is your best option when you live in a big house or have your PC farther away from the router. The wi-fi network data can travel through thick walls when communicating to the WiFi adapter.
The 5.o GHz frequency, while stronger than the 2.4 GHz frequency, does not transmit wireless internet through obstructions such as walls. As such, you need to be near the wireless routers to enjoy the high bandwidth connections.
c) Omnidirectional antennas
PCIe wi-fi cards come with antennas to improve data transfer. However, you need to understand how the construction of the card and antennas can affect your connection.
In some of these wireless adapters, you will find the antennas come in a separate base that you can mount on any part of the case to better communicate with the router. In other PCIe wi-fi cards, the antennas will be mounted on top of the card, thus limiting the number of positions you can mount them in.
Depending on your layout, you can choose any of these two options. You can get wireless cards with mounted antennas when your PC is closer to the router, or you can opt for the card with a detachable antenna when your router a longer distance away.
d) Operating system
You need a PCIe wi-fi card that offers native support to your PC. Understand your operating system, from Windows, Linux, and even Chrome, to get the most compatible PCI card.
Most WiFi 6 PCIe wi-fi cards only support Windows 10 (64-bit) PCs, so if you want to get this card, make sure you have this OS. Additionally, you will also find several options like the EDUP PCIe wi-fi card that support Linux systems.
How to Install Your Best PCIe WiFi Cards to Your PC
When you have found your most compatible PCIe WIFi card, you can follow the following steps to install them for better internet speed and network performance safely.
- Shut down the PC. Make sure you completely unplug every cable and that the power button is off. Additionally, it is safer to install the card when the PC case is on a hard surface rather than a carpet which could produce static shock.
- Open the case. In some models, you may need to open up the back of the case, while other PCs allow you to pull the sides automatically when you pull a button.
- Locate the right PCI slot. You may need some online research, such as YouTube videos, if you are not very tech-savvy to get the location right.
- Follow the PCIe adapter instructions to insert the card correctly. In some PC models, you will need to use a screwdriver to connect the card tightly.
- Close the case.
- Place your antennas in the best positions for the best data transfer speed and stability.
Just like you need Bluetooth adaptors for a PC that lacks Bluetooth compatibility, you also need PCIe wireless cards to connect your PC to the web. You will make a choice between your best internet speeds for your PC use so you can buy the best card.
Use this article as a guide to your PCIe WiFi card for different tasks such as gaming, streaming, and simple surfing. These cards are not very expensive, and with the right PC and router compatibility, you are guaranteed to find the best wi-fi card.