Wifi Network Cards

I'll make it quick,

Building a new PC, but I've run into a small issue:

I have no access to wired internet with my current living condition. Much to my own chagrin, I need to get a wireless network adapter; my motherboard does not have a built in wireless solution (see below for full system specs). Problem is, I've never dealt much with networking and I'm having trouble picking out a good card. Here's what little knowledge I've managed to acquire on the matter:

  • I've heard people say PCI network cards are no better than USB wireless networking solutions. I have trouble believing it.
  • Average-Good internet speed is ~13-16mbps Down and ~4-8mbps Up
  • ...that's it

I've seen cards capable of putting out/recieving upwards of 300-500mbps and I'll be damned if my connection allows more than 50mbps. In what ways do more expensive more capable network cards help/hinder my connection?

How does the frequency of the cards affect my connection? Common frequencies I've been finding lie in and around ~2.4gHz, but I've seen cards that go up to 5.0gHz.

Lastly, what are the differences between PCI, PCI-Express, USB Wifi cards?

Edit: Please recommend any brands of wifi cards you like/trust and why. I've been considering the TP-Link N300 PCI-Express Adapter 2.4gHz, 300mbps.

I use my computer for practically everything; gaming, browsing, watching streams, (I do not stream myself but I've thought about it), graphics work, etc... It's a general purpose machine with an emphasis on gaming. I do share my connection with other devices, primarily of family members, most of which are also using wifi.

Thanks in advance



Computer Specs:

AMD A10 6800K (richland) APU

Asus F2A85-V Motherboard

Corsair Builder Series CX430W Power Supply

8gb (2x4) Adata XPGv2 2400mHz RAM

NZXT Phantom 820 Case

Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200RPM HDD

(No aftermarket cooling)

The only network interface or wireless card brand you can turst is Intel.They are the best.

A pci express Intel wireless card is 25-35 dollars.

Make sure to have as little electronic devices/walls/closed doors/etc. as possible between your wifi antenna and the router.

You can also do some research on registry tweaks and advanced wifi configuration to make it even more faster/stable.Since Vista windows does some things that slow the connection down sometimes.The best solution is installing 64bit Xp drivers but it doesn't always work.


Intel isn't the only person you should trust with this.

I've had really good stuff from Asus and even killer.

I can tell you that the PCE-AC66 Wireless AC card from asus is a customized Broadcom device. It uses Broadcom drivers.

I lost you at "The only network interface [...] brand you can trust is..."

This statement reeks of bias and fanboy-ism. Not to say that you're either of those things, but you also didn't provide me with any information as to why you trust intel so much. The only thing you told me was that 'Intel is the best; use their products in this way' assuming I'd just follow suit. If you could further elaborate as to why you seemingly love intel, I'd be happy to consider Intel. :)

Can you elaborate on that, or are those just based on personal experience you've had with Asus and/or Killer? More insight into either would be helpful (how long they lasted, how you used them, what products, how much they are, etc...)

Are Broadcom drivers better in any way, or was that just a statement of fact? If you could elaborate, I'd appreciate it, thanks :)

There are a bunch of brands like Asus, Rosewell, Linksys, D Link, and others. None of those really matter because they use Realtek, Broadcom, Atheros, or Intel chipsets. Intel and Realtek are the better ones in my opinion. Most likely your computer already has a Realtek LAN card in it for wired connections. WLAN cards are fairly standardized 2.4 ghz / 5 ghz, a/b/g/n etc. The difference is mainly driver support and product quality. 

2.4 ghz is the more popular connection and also travels a farther distant.

As far a/b/g/n try to atleast get a/b/g/n compatable. It will leave all standards open just in case. N is the newest standard. 

Dual antennea is good if you will be going through multiply walls, floors. If the signal is going through brick, solid wood, metals, or atleast 3+ drywall go for dual antennea. 

Other than that just pick middle price points or higher, $15. Read customer reviews, etc.

Additional post to answer the pci e, pci, usb. Windows and usb drives are ok* but pci e is better.

*USB tends to have more driver issues thanks to Windows. 

PCI legecy is a different type of slot on the motherboard. It's almost the length of a pci e 2.0 x16 lane. This slot is often unused because only sound cards or networking card ever use the interface. 

Also your board has 3 pci legecy lanes. The 3 at the bottom. 2 pce x1 only the very top one is usable with a double wide graphics card. 

Current owened WLAN.

Intel x 2 (pci e), Realtek x 2 (usb), Realtek x 1 (pci e), Broadcom x 1 (pci e).


I know rosewill is Neweggs oem rebranding house name, but I'm using one of thiers and it's pretty good. No hic-ups.

You, sir, are a nice person. I like you. <3

However, I'm on a budget. :| a budget that i sorta blew on an impulse buy on Newegg...

Thanks to my new NZXT Phantom 820, I have not much room left for an "all bases covered" wireless solution. I'm also notably far away from my router 90% of the time, and i won't be lugging around my 32lb steel case anytime soon to get a better connection, so I think 5gHz is out of the question. What im thinking, considering the information that you've given me, is that i'll need a duel antenna, 2.4gHz, compatible, PCI-E wireless network card. One with good, trustworthy drivers that comes at a very resonable, if not steal of a price. Any recommendations or is the card i was already considering a good enough fit?

Here are 3 I was able to find. 

  • Asus N15 (open box special on Newegg) uses Realtek chipset.
  • TP-Link n300 (the one you found.) uses Atheros chipset.
  • Rosewell N250 (currently out of stock) uses Realtek chipset.

 I wouldn't see any reason to avoid open box, even if they forget the driver cd it is online.