questionswhat's a good wi-fi adapter for a desktop?

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If you don't mind me asking, what is the reason you're switching to WiFi for your desktop? I would always recommend a wired connection, but I'm sure you have a good reason!

Personally I wouldn't go with a USB dongle unless I had to, those have their purpose, but lack in power and have junk antennas, not to mention they're transferring data thru USB. If you have any PCIE slots I would just recommend something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320074

If you only have PCI pretty much anything with decent reviews on newegg.com will be perfect for you.

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Not the absolute cheapest, but excellent on performance and ease of installation (being USB and all).
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=105&cp_id=10501&cs_id=1050109&p_id=8076&seq=1&format=2

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@eraten: Thank you for the responses. We're at an apartment complex that offers free wifi and I'd like to connect my "public" desktop to it for daily use. We have a secure connection that we use for encrypted needs but the bandwidth isn't great.

I do have PCI room but thought USB a better route because of the ability to run an extension cable for flexibility in finding a better position for a stronger signal.

@narfcake: Thank you for the link. Good prices!

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Wifi does not guarantee bandwidth, it is just the mode of delivery of whatever bandwidth exists. I once had wifi in a building like you describe and couldn't get speeds above 50k, and would have had faster speed with a twenty year old modem. What finally gave me the speeds was getting my own broadband subscription.

Answering your question about what adaptor: get one with a lot of gain rating on the internal antenna, or one that can add an external antenna. Walls limit the signal, so do appliances, and even your computer. A dongle is the worst possible idea. Get one that floats around separately on a cable to your computer. Woot once sold a Netgear adapter that connected with USB and had it so you were able to distance the actual adaptor. Another option is a PCI card to install into the computer which has a built in shield to interference, or is supposed to. Check interference and gain ratings. It's technical, but google is around. Get an adaptor that is the same brand as the router.

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@srfoolishbuyer: I agree with you, sir. Nice answer.

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@srfoolishbuyer: My sincere apologies. My eyes saw "sirfoolishbuyer. It won't happen again....maybe. :)