There are a number of ways to connect your desktop computer to your local network.
These include via Ethernet cables, via wireless adapters and via PCI Wireless cards. Each of these methods has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages but today we will take a look at PCI & PCI-E Wireless cards.
PCI Wireless cards are devices that are installed on your computer and they allow you to connect to a wireless network.
Nowadays as Wi-Fi is pretty much the most common way to connect to the internet and other networks, it is generally quite important that your computer has Wi-Fi capability. A PCI Wireless card is, therefore, one way to connect a PC that doesn’t already have wireless capability to the internet wirelessly.
The most obvious reason to use a wireless network card is to allow a PC that doesn’t already have wireless connectivity to connect to wireless networks.
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Laptop internal wireless network cards also know as WLAN card or Wi-Fi card come in different shapes ans sizes. On the picture above you see two most common internal wireless card types found in laptops.
Two wireless cards on the top have Mini PCI form factor connector and found mostly in older laptops.
Two wireless cards on the bottom have Mini PCI-E (Mini PCI Express) form factor connector and found mostly in newer laptops.
Mini PCI-E connector is not backward compatible with Mini PCI connector. In other words, you cannot install a Mini PCI-E wireless card into the Mini PCI slot.
The wireless card plugs into the Mini PCI or Mini PCI-E slot on the motherboard. Most internal cards have two small connectors for wireless antenna cables, some newer Mini PCI-E cards have three connectors and require three antenna cables.
On the picture below you see an internal Mini PCI wireless card connected to the laptop. As you see, there are two antenna cables connected to the card. One main antenna cable and one auxiliary antenna cables.
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