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Wireless Network Adaptors
What is Wireless Networking?
Wireless Networking allows multiple nodes such as computers, mobile phone, printers or even NAS units to connect and exchange data utilising a wireless connection standard called WIFI.
Overclockers UK sells a wide variety of wireless networking hardware and accessories enabling you to create your perfect home network whatever your requirements.
Wireless Network Adaptors
Need to connect your pc wirelessly to the internet or your home network? You need a wireless network adaptor! Most PCs have a wired adaptor built into the motherboard but will likely need a wireless adaptor to connect to WIFI. gaming laptops, on the other hand, have both options available as standard.
The wireless adaptors come in 2 forms – Internal and external, with the external models connecting via USB. In general internal PCI or PCIe cards are more powerful but require a little knowledge to install whereas USB adaptors are simply plug and play.
There are many different Network standards so we have created an easy to understand list. This will help you demystify what you are buying and explain why certain standards are better than others.
WIFI – Wireless connection
- 802.11: Supporting a maximum bandwidth of only 2Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. Due to the unregulated frequency, equipment using this standard can incur a lot of interference from household appliances such as microwaves, and cordless phones.
- 802.11b: Utilising the same 2.4Ghz frequency but hitting a much higher bandwidth of 11Mbps. Devices using this standard are generally low cost and not designed for performance use due to the relatively slow speeds and potential interference. The upside to the frequency is the great range and the signal is not easily obstructed.
- 802.11a: Created at the same time as the 802.11b variant but due to its higher cost and shorter signal range it was generally only integrated into business-grade equipment. Supporting bandwidth up to 54Mbps and operating around the 5GHz regulated band meaning much less interference but poor penetrating performance. Due to the different bands utilised 802.11a/b are incompatible. To overcome this some manufacturer’s offer a hybrid allowing the use of one or the other depending on what devices were connected.
- 802.11g: Very similar to the 802.11b standard and additionally backward compatible but operating at a much faster 54Mbps. This means 802.11g has a great signal range, it’s not easily obstructed and performs well. The downside - Appliances may interfere due to its operation on the 2.4 GHz band.
- 802.11n: Known as Wireless N, 802.11n was designed to improve on 802.11g standard. Utilising multiple antennas (MIMO) instead of one and providing up to 300Mbps of network bandwidth. Wireless N offers amazing speed, great signal range and is resistant to external interference. The only downside is that it may interfere with nearby 802.11b/g networks due to its use of multiple antennas.
- 802.11ac: Backwards compatible with 802.11b/g/n and utilising dual band technologies, allowing simultaneous connections to both 2.4GHz and 5 GHz bands. This is the current best wireless standard and offers a bandwidth of up to 1300Mbps on the 5Ghz band and up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4Ghz.