Wireless adapters are more than just routers that you shove inside your computers. They are resources you can use to extend your wireless network coverage, thus affecting your control over the network. With the correct adapter, your options are many. Some wireless adapters let you select between efficiency and convenience factors. But more often than not, you can enjoy both resources.
If you are not a fan of cabling, or you just want a wireless capability in your PC, and your motherboard does not support it, then you need the best PCI-E wi-fi card. In most cases, these devices are affordable and available in many options. To make things simple, we have developed this comprehensive guide to help you start the selection process.
Another Top Pick
Best for Congested Environments
Best for Longevity
How to Buy the Best PCI-E wi-fi Card
Wireless adapters are not just routers that you just shove inside your desktop computer. They are a resource you use to extend your wireless network to a broad area, affecting control over your network and more. With the correct card, your options when it comes to connecting to the internet become many.
If you have finally decided to forego the conventional Ethernet cables or move on to a modern means of connectivity, this guide is perfect for you.
Wireless connections are becoming popular and are dependent on them. Whether it's for streaming content, sharing photos online, or completing tasks – wireless connections are highly convenient.
While some PCs have motherboards with inbuilt wi-fi, they often deliver poor connections and are not performance intensive. More so, these devices are also not affordable and are available in several options. Several options can lead to confusion when you want to invest in the best PCIe wireless card.
Thankfully, we have done all the hard work by preparing this comprehensive guide to help you make the right decision. We recommend a few good products and information you should consider when shopping for a suitable product.
Choosing the Correct Wireless Adapter
Selecting the right PCI-E wireless adaptor is not easy. Knowing how to distinguish between several proper adapters can be a hassle. It would be great if you have a specific approach to choose the ideal card for your needs.
Number of Antennas
What is the point of having several antennas sitting in one position? It would be good to consider antennas as components that pickup wifi signals. They are specially made tubes that can carry data.
Also, think of antennas as individual components in a network. For those who have several devices on a network, with each having intensive bandwidth demands - consider a wireless adaptor with many antennas.
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Furthermore, ensure you evaluate the structure of the antennas that are available with the PCIe Wireless Adapter. First consider the size of the tubes. Are they big or small? Some antennas can broadcast over long distances, while others are suitable for small spaces. Also, some can handle large flows of data, while others are not as powerful.
If the brand does not inform you about the signal distance, you can assume that it averages 30 feet. Plus, stock antennas are rarely reliable in performance but are easy to replace. Thus, remember to go for a PCI-E card that supports removable antennas.
Aside from replacement, it will be useful if you can rotate the antennas. This will provide an excellent boost to the quality of your signal, especially in specific circumstances. The performance of wireless adaptors may vary room to room, which is also a key factor to consider.
Speed and Bandwidth Levels
How fast do you need the adapter to be? Speed refers to a combination of many factors that work together. Why? This is because speed is relative to the user requirements of the network. A card that functions well for one computer won't necessarily be suitable for your needs.
The recommended data capacity for a good wireless adaptor should be at least 1 GB. On average, this level should be sufficient for serving each individual in a home network. If you are those who require two or three-gigabit through outputs, then there are adaptors for the same.
Which Operating System Does it Support?
Does the wi-fi card work well when you plug it in? Or are there any variations between native support and being able your new card to function. Native support means that you just have to plug the card in, and the installation process is complete. In most cases, it's easy to extend the support beyond the specifications of your brand manufacturer. That said, you only want to do this when you are sure of what you are doing.
Can you fit the PCI-E wireless adapter in the interior section of your case? For people with low profile cases or PC cases with a small form factor, size can be a crucial factor to consider. You mostly want a card that has the correct height level. To determine the optimal height level of the adapter, you may have to measure the case.
If you have the large PCIe towers, the only issue would be the size of the slot in relation to the card. Yes, that's right! Installing these cards in any type of PC computer, because the slots are often large in physical size.
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Wireless Card Cooling Functions
Your wireless adaptor and the circuit boards in your computer have several similarities. Since they tend to work at maximum capacity, they may get hotter. If you have a powerful PCIe wireless adapter, then you are likely to experience heating issues. The heat can easily compromise the performance of your equipment as it begins to exceed normal temperatures.
Owning an effective cooler can have a significant difference in the performance of the network. More so, aluminum coolers are suitable for the process of cooling a wireless adapter but are also cost-effective.
PCI vs. PCI-E Comparison and Overview
Otherwise referred to as Parallel Connection, any device connected to the PCI bus will also appear to be a bus master, connecting directly through independent links. Alternatively, the PCI-e card provides high speed and serial connections. That said, if you thought that was all there was to it, then you will be pleased to know there is more. But we go further into the topic; let's start with the basics:
What Does PCI Refer To?
PCI refers to Peripheral Component Interconnect. It's a local bus standard that was created by Intel. Today, a large number of PCs come with a PCI bus, in addition to having a general ISA expansion bus. More so, the PCI is also commonly used in some types of Macintosh computers.
What is PCI-Express?
PCI express refers to a type of hardware interface that has high speeds. Intel is the manufacturer of this component, and it's used to connect the peripheral devices in your PCI. Initially introduced in 2002, it has become common among most computer brands today. Nowadays, all motherboards feature a PCI-e slot for graphics cards. It can also be used for components such as hard drives, wi-fi, Ethernet, and SSDs.
What Does PCI-e Stand For?
PCI-e refers to the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express. It's an interface that is used to connect high-speed components to your computer. Each desktop in the market features a motherboard, which has several PCI-e slots. You can use them to add graphics and video cards. More so, you can also use them to insert wi-fi cards.
Cudy WE3000 AX 3000Mbps Wireless wi-fi 6 PCIe Card for PC
Internet connectivity with your PC will be convenient when you have the Cudy WE3000 AX 3000Mbps PCIe card. This unit will provide faster and clearer wi-fi, perfect for unlocking the potential of your router. The router has a 2.4GHz rating, and that provides 574Mbps maximum speed – ideal for extremely long range. pLus the wireless Bluetooth adapter is compatible with the latest Bluetooth technology. Thus, you will enjoy a faster rate and broader coverage than conventional Bluetooth connections.
With the unique WPA3 advanced security, this unit ensures a more secure and individualized encryption system. These include a personal password safety, to protect your network from issues such as wireless hacking. Thanks to the unique 1024-QAM and a 160 MHz bandwidth, you can be sure of powerful and continuous connections.
Plus, this unit can achieve speed 3x faster than the conventional AC wi fi. It even has OFDMA technology that will reduce lag by as much as 75%, perfect for real-time gaming and smooth experience. The makers of this unit have also done well to ensure it's available with several accessories. These include one low profile bracket, an installation guide, and one CD driver.
Ziyituod WiFi 6 AX200 Bluetooth5.0 PCIe WiFi Card
Make it easy to connect your PC to the internet when you have the Ziyitoud wi-fi AX200 wi-fi card. This unit supports the latest wi-fi technology for convenient connectivity. With this wi-fi card, you can enjoy 4k/8K movies, large file transfer, and smart home devices without compromised connections. The inclusion of MU-MIMO will effectively improve the signal gain quality when several users send and receive it. Thus, you will experience minimized LAG such that you can enjoy an ultra-responsive or immersive VR experience.
Equipped with Bluetooth 5, you have the same Tx power, enabling optimal coverage throughout the home. It also ensures double data rates speed for fast transmission, thus reducing the amount of energy consumed. The makers of this unit also understand the importance of owning a dynamic tool for internet connectivity. Therefore, this unit supports various types of windows, and it's also compatible with existing wi-fi devices.
The wi-fi router can deliver from 80MHz to 160Mhz high peak rates, and up to 4x the capacity for optimal quality. Yes, the router will work well, even in dense or congested environments. You will also be pleased with the exceptional security protocols provided by this unit. It is equipped with both WPA2 and WPA3 security protocols for convenience.
Another Top Pick
FebSmart Wireless Dual Band N600 (2.4GHz 300Mbps or 5GHz 300Mbps)
The FebSmart Wireless Dual Band N600 wi-fi card is also another excellent recommendation for your needs. This unit will provide high-speed connectivity on desktop computers, and it's also easy to set up. Furthermore, the wi-fi card is based on the Qualcomm Atheros network chipset for optimal performance. On top of that, the wi-fi card has a detachable antenna – perfect for enhancing network reliability and reception.
The components on the FebSmart N600 are made using heavy duty components. Yes, that's right! Taking the material structure into consideration is crucial for the performance of your wifi system. Therefore, the makers of this card not only considered the wifi strength, but longevity as well – perfect for work intensive environments.
When investing in a PCIe card, it’s good for a unit that offers longevity, especially if you have intensive connectivity demands. Thus, this is nothing short of what you can expect when you have the Websmart Wireless PCIe card. The makers of this unit have done well to ensure it's easy to set up and install on your chosen PC system. It's also compatible with a wide range of operating systems. These include Windows 10, 8, 7, and XP.
Best for Congested Environments
TP-Link AC1200 PCIe Wireless wi-fi PCIe Card
The internet is a crucial resource in our modern-day lives. Enjoy convenient internet connectivity when you have the TP-link AC1200 PCIe wireless card. This unit offers lightning-fast speeds, and it's also highly stable in performance. It comes with heat sink technology, that will distribute heat away from the core components to enhance performance and reliability. On top of that, this router is also built for high-performance computing, such as online gaming or even 4K Ultra HD video streaming.
For the ultimate range, this unit comes with 2x external antennas that ensure a greater coverage level. The router is also dynamic and supports all the common Windows operating system platforms. The makers of this unit have also included a heat sink for the ultimate stability. A heat sink works to dissipate thermal energy produced by the adapter. This, in turn, improves stability, and lower temperatures enhance the lifespan of your wi-fi card. Equipped with two external antennas, this unit will provide a stable connection and coverage.
As you would expect with all high end Wi-Fi cards, this unit also features excellent security mechanisms. These include WEP, WPA/WPA2/ WPA2-PSK, and more, for the best experience when online. Plus, the Archer T42 is easy to plug to your existing port, and it has a convenient software installation process. Aside from the standard bracket, it also features a low profile bracket – perfect for mini-tower cases. The inclusion of beamforming technology works perfectly for focusing wi-fi signals to the devices connected to your card.
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Best for Longevity
TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000 PCIe WiFi Card | Up to 2400Mbps | Bluetooth 5.0
Make latency a thing of the past when you have the TP-Link wi-fi 6 AX3000 PCIe wi-fi card. This unit comes with the latest wi-fi technology for incredible speed and ultra-low latency. Even more, it ensures uninterrupted connectivity, all thanks to OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology. Plus, the wi-fi card can reach NEXT-GEN speed of up to 2.4Gbps, and also supports Windows 10.
The unique performance guaranteed by this card means that it won't compromise the performance of your PC. This is all thanks to the revolutionary OFDMA ultra responsive and real time VR experience it guarantees. Plus, for a broader coverage, this unit comes with two multi directional and high performance antennas that have a magnetized base.
These components work well to enhance the reception capabilities of your Wi-fi network. Also, you will find it easy to replace the magnetized base everywhere on your desktop, until you find a convenient place for signals.
Equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, this unit ensures greater speeds and coverage. The wifi card also lets you connect various other external devices such as headphones and more.
EDUP wi-fi 6 Card Bluetooth 5.0 with Heat Sink, PCIe Network Card
Get a step closer to enjoying quality internet when you have the EDUP wi-fi 6 card with Bluetooth. This unit offers optimized power consumption, and it also supports multi-user high-speed concurrency. More so, the router can also ensure better performance in user intensive scenarios. It can do all this while also bringing longer transmission distances and high transmission rates.
Thanks to the high-quality heat sink, this unit can effectively dissipate the heat generated inside the network card when it's in use. As such, you have a wi-fi card that can maintain a reasonable temperature level, for endless hours of performance. The wifi card also takes up a small space in your PC, without causing compromise to its functionality.
Equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 technology, this unit will expand the range of your signal significantly. Thus, you won't have to worry about weak signals in your room or wait long to transport large files. Yes, Bluetooth 5.0 will work perfectly to solve the problem. Plus, you can also use the technology to connect your earphone, mouse, headphones, and more.
Netis WF2118 Wireless N 300Mbps PCI Adapter
The Netis WF2118 Wireless PCI adapter makes up for an excellent way to connect to the internet with your PC. This unit supports wireless speeds of up to 300Mbps, perfect for video streaming, VOIP phone calls, and online gaming. Plus, the wi-fi adapter features detachable antennas for more robust signal coverage. Thanks to the inclusion of the advanced security feature with the latest WPA2 encryption, this unit does well to protect your network.
The wi-fi card is also compatible with most PCs, and you will find it easy to install each time. The Netis brand has also done well to ensure this unit has heavy-duty components – perfect for longevity. As you would expect with all high-performance network cards, this unit does well to dissipate the effects of heat from your PC. Thus, you have a high-performance PC that won't compromise on performance due to intensive performance hours.
You will also be pleased to know that it's available with a low profile bracket for convenience. The PCIe wi-fi card is also compatible with various types of operating systems. Plus, the WF2118 provides wireless speeds of up to 300Mbps, which you can use to enjoy fast and advanced connections.
ASUS PCE-AC55BT B1 AC1200 Wireless Bluetooth 4.2 PCIe/Mpcie Adapter
Connecting to the internet has never been this easy. Why? Well, the ASUS PCE-AC55BT B1 wireless Bluetooth adaptor is an excellent addition to your computer. This unit offers high-speed internet connectivity, and it's also very durable. It supports Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and an operating frequency of 4 GHz.
More so, the external antenna base makes this unit highly convenient to set up and to use. You will find it easy to set up and install on your chosen PC for high quality internet connectivity. The ASUS PCE-AC55BT Wireless-AC PCI Express Adapter also delivers high performance wi-fi performance - ideal for server functions and mainstream desktop PCs. Thanks to the standard PCI connector, you will be pleased with how this unit offers wide compatibility. As such, it can fit any x1, x2, x8, or x16 slot.
As you would expect with all the high-end PCI cards on the market, this unit is compatible with various types of Windows operating systems. Plus, it even comes with a heat sink, which ensures the wifi card is safe from issues such as overheating.
Ziyituod WiFi 6 AX200 Bluetooth5.0 PCIe WiFi Card
You are one step away from enjoying connectivity as you should. How is this possible? Well, the Ziyotuod wi-fi 6 AX200 Bluetooth wi-fi card is an excellent recommendation for your needs. This unit features the latest 802.11ax technology to deliver peak data transfer rates for your needs. Yes, that's right! This unit can provide 4x the capacity improvement in dense environments when compared to 802.11ac. With this unit, you will enjoy 4K/8K movies, large file transfer, and smartphone devices without dropped connections.
With MU-MIMO and OFDMA, you are sure of a better experience. The MU-MIMO technology provides an exceptional signal gain, even several users send and receive simultaneously. For minimized lag for your PC, this unit reduces lag, such that you can enjoy an ultra-responsive gaming experience. The wi-fi card also supports Bluetooth 4.2 with the same TX power, perfect for coverage throughout the home.
As one of the most dynamic wi fi cards on the market, this unit is compatible with different operating systems. It can also deliver higher peak data rates (over 2 Gbps) and up to 3x capacity improvement – perfect for use in dense or congested environments. As such, you are sure that a unit will double the channel width and provide a faster connection from the router to the desktop.
ASUS Dual-Band 802.11AC Wireless-AC2100 Pci-E Bluetooth 5 Gigabit wi-fi Adapter
ASUS is among something of the leading brands in the tech market. Thus, this is why the ASUS Dual-Band 802.11AC wireless adaptor is perfect for your needs. It comes with a dual-band 802.11ac, which lets you connect over 2.4GHZ and 5GHZ bands for optimal flexibility and speed. Since this unit provides an exceptional 160MHZ capacity, its way more efficient than the conventional 802.11ac. As such, it ensures maximum bandwidth for low latency and high quality streaming performance.
Equipped with downlink MU MIMO, you will find it easy to access simultaneous points for several clients. The PCE-AC58BT is an exceptional boost for your PC with its MU-MIMO functionality, thus allowing it to achieve unrivalled wi-fi speeds. This is regardless of the number of devices that are also connected to the wi-fi.
Thus, the overall downlink capacity improves significantly. Besides that, the wi-fi card comes with Bluetooth 5 technology, which will double the transmission speeds. Equipped with an external antenna base, the ASUS Dual-band wi-fi card provides an extended range of coverage.
When it comes to enjoying the best internet connectivity for your PC, it's good when you have the best resources. In this guide, we have identified some of the best PCI-E wi-fi cards on the market for you to consider. When you have one of the cards in this guide, you will enjoy convenient connectivity, regardless of issues such as congestion of intensive projects. Before buying a wi-fi card, it's good to consider a few key factors, as the information on such products is diverse. Thus, get a good PCI wifi card and instantly enjoy quality connectivity.