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Old 21st Nov 2012, 17:08   #1
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Wireless Adapter - PCI vs USB

I'm moving my PC to the spare bedroom and I'm going to have to get a wireless adapter for it but have no idea where to start because I've had a cable connection for years now.

What do you wireless people use and what would you recommend? I hope to make a purchase either tonight or tomorrow.

We have a Virgin Superhub in the living room and 60 meg broadband.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 17:51   #2
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I would go for home plugs instead. I have a belkin pci-e Wi-Fi card in a rig and it has been a headache.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 17:54   #3
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USB on a fly lead for 1 simple reason, your PCI slots are inside your case (which is probably on the floor) putting the antenna on the back of the big metal box under your desk is far from ideal antenna placement.

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Old 21st Nov 2012, 17:55   #4
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Yea, PoE plugs would be my choice too, especially seeing as the Virgin 'Superhub' wireless is utter pants.

If you have to go wireless then a PCI card my have better signal pickup (given the right model, 2-3 antennae).

edit: but SP! does have a point about placement.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 17:56   #5
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A bit of drilling to get a cable connection across? Unless drilling isn't an option due to restrictive landlords or the such... Really - it takes so little effort to get a cable connection to anywhere in a small-moderately sized house.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 19:00   #6
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PCI leaves more room for the wireless card manufacture to put better components and have more power to receive a signal. However, as time moves on, and technology improves, in power efficiency, and smaller designs. I don't think there is much of a difference. Some PCI/PCI-E cards comes with an antenna that has a cable, so you can put it anywhere you want. Like ASUS or Gigabyte motherboards with Wifi built-in.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 20:23   #7
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I didn't actually consider getting a cable purely because it would be a lot of work, but now that I think about it, perhaps it would be doable and I'm looking into it. I reckon I'd need at least 25m of cable.

The homeplugs look nice, but dang they are expensive compared to the alternatives!
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 20:33   #8
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Homeplugs > PCI/PCIe w. breakout antenna > PCI/PCIe with fixed antenna > USB of any kind

USB tends to be unstable and slow, in my experience. If you go for an internal card, get an antenna with a cable rather than a directly attached one if you have signal strength issues. Homeplugs tend to work best, at least in my house. Very stable, low latency, no worrying about signal at all.
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 07:49   #9
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If you have a proper wireless router (not a Virgin Superhub), wireless should work without any issues at all. I have a 7-year-old Linksys WRT54G v2.2 and I've never had any signal or speed issues. Wireless is also an open standard unlike homeplug.
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 08:28   #10
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In my office at home the wi-fi signal is really poor - purchased a usb wireless module and usb extender, now works a treat now it has further reach and no drop outs on signal
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 09:44   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LennyRhys View Post
I didn't actually consider getting a cable purely because it would be a lot of work, but now that I think about it, perhaps it would be doable and I'm looking into it. I reckon I'd need at least 25m of cable.

The homeplugs look nice, but dang they are expensive compared to the alternatives!
Lenny, cable costs peanuts and these houses have loads of places to hide it. I have run a set of cables up the inside edge of my flu for the fireplace, they come all the way up into the loft and I drop them down the walls with a set of push pull rods and then burst holes and fit face plates.

If you can get under the floor, into the loft and have a fire place you are sorted.

If its possible to lift some floor boards at the top of the stairs, you can even run cables through the gap between the plasterboard and under underneath of the stairs.
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 09:48   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivoryspike View Post
...PoE plugs...
PoE is power over ethernet, which isn't what home plugs are. Sorry to thread crap.
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 10:25   #13
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This is a good one as it supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz: http://www.asus.com/Networks/Wireless_Adapters/USBN53/
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 13:36   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaRkA DaHl View Post
Lenny, cable costs peanuts and these houses have loads of places to hide it. I have run a set of cables up the inside edge of my flu for the fireplace, they come all the way up into the loft and I drop them down the walls with a set of push pull rods and then burst holes and fit face plates.

If you can get under the floor, into the loft and have a fire place you are sorted.

If its possible to lift some floor boards at the top of the stairs, you can even run cables through the gap between the plasterboard and under underneath of the stairs.
Yeah that's why it's such an attractive option for me - it's cheap and I enjoy DIY

I've already done a bit of recon and it would be pretty simple to get a cable upstairs... I just have to OK it with the boss when it comes to drilling holes

As simple as USB adapters are, I just don't think I could deal with the compromise having used cable for years!
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 15:59   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Margo Baggins View Post
PoE is power over ethernet, which isn't what home plugs are. Sorry to thread crap.
Yea quite correct, I meant Ethernet over power plugs not the other way around.
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 17:39   #16
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IMHO, cable is always the best option!

BUT - if not, I'd go powerline ethernet.
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 17:41   #17
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I recently went completely to home plugs after getting fed up of crappy wireless from my BT homehub (although the wireless is actually OK, but just too far too stream HD content) - I have 1 homeplug plugged into my switch and 2 futher plugs...1 into my pc and another into my laptop that sits underneath my TV. I have an 80 Meg line (it runs at that speed due to being right next to the exchange) I can finally stream HD content from my PC to the laptop. Also really easy to setup just plug and play....highly recommend them.

Edit: not too expensive I got the following from Scan: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/zyxel...ptor-twin-pack @ 30 for a pair I think very reasonable
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 17:49   #18
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I have a PCI one in my rig that has the cable to move the antenna where ever I please really, I'm on the second floor of my house and the router is downstairs on the ground floor. Never dropped below 75% signal as far as i am aware.
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 18:00   #19
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Cable all the way - I've never had a wireless card (both USB and PCI) that didn't eventually crap out on me and require disabling / enabling to reconnect to the network... Gigabit ethernet also beats wireless by a factor of 20!
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Old 22nd Nov 2012, 19:55   #20
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As a real world example, I have a dual Cat 6 cable run through the attic. The two parts that took the longest were cutting the coving in the right way (I am a perfectionist) and nailing in the cable holder things onto loft beams. Since you seem to have a simpler project - run a cable from downstairs upstairs, and possibly though walls - you don't have very much coving (if any) to cut, and there is less nailing things down and routing cables. Depending on the layout of your house, I would say that the easiest option is cable up through the ceiling/floor, then along the skirting board through any walls and to its destination. One length of cable trunking for completion's sake, and there you go. Add in a wall jack if you really think it is necessary, or if you want to keep your computer arrangements modular.
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