How much does a wireless Internet adapter?

Wireless networking has become a staple of computing in the 21st century, with the users of laptops and desktops alike cutting the cables between computer and router. As wireless networking proliferates, though, owners of some older machines may feel left out of the wireless revolution. A simple and inexpensive adapter, though, virtually any computer can be a wireless network enabled.


The wireless network works the same way as secure cordless phones, radios and televisions. Using a standard (802.11), created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), wireless adapters send data between the computer and the router via radio waves. Different versions of the standard (such as 802.11b, g, on) use different transmission methods and compression algorithms to transmit data at higher speeds.


Wireless network adapters are widely available in various types. Desktop users, for example, may be well suited for the PCI adapter, designed specifically to fit into an expansion slot available within the desktop. These adapters generally draw power from the power supply desktop, using a large external antenna to communicate strong signals with routers. PCMCIA adapters, by contrast, are designed exclusively to fit into the expansion slot of older laptop computers, sometimes using an external antenna to also produce strong radio waves (PCMCIA adapters with internal antennae achieve the same goal, but with lower radio power). By far the most popular, however, is the adapter universal serial bus (USB); designed to simply plug into the USB port of a computer, these small and easy to use adapters work with either laptops or desktops and generally support plug-and-play functionality on both Windows and Mac computers.


Wireless network adapters adhere to the IEEE 802.11 standard, though different versions of this standard allow for faster speeds. The version is denoted by a lowercase letter attached to the end of the name of the adaptador molex the first version of the protocol, A, is denoted as 802.11a. In general, the later the letter falls in the alphabet, the more advanced the protocol version: 802.11g, for example, supports speeds up to 54 megabits per second (54Mbps). The latest 802.11n version, however, uses the multi-stream technology to double that speed to 108Mbps.


Wireless network adapters have several benefits. Not the least of these benefits is increased adaptador molex freeing a laptop of its tether to an Internet connection is made possible a truly wireless experience. In addition, desktop computers can be located anywhere in a home without complicated wiring jobs, drilling and snaking ethernet cables along baseboards. Finally, wireless adapters erased physical restrictions of a wired router, allowing up to 254 simultaneous wireless connections in a single router.


Wireless network adapters vary greatly in price, often ranging from a minimum of 10 to more than 100, depending on the protocol version supported 802.11 and type of adapter design. USB wireless adapters are generally the least expensive, with some models of 802.11g adapters selling at major retailers by 9.99. A more typical 802.11n adapter manufacturer brand can cost about 50. Models designed for semi-permanent installation, such as PCI adapters, they are available at a higher cost, with the newest and most powerful versions topping 100.

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