If you happen to be looking to buy a PCIe NIC/USB Network Card for your laptop, desktop, or workstation, then there are a few things you need to know. There are many options available on the market and if you have no idea what it is exactly, then this can be pretty confusing. So let’s take a look at some of the important things about buying one of these cards!
Let’s Start With “What’s a Network Expansion Card?”;
The network card is one of the important components of every computer. It is used for connecting to the Internet or accessing shared files or printers. When you install a network card on your computer, it essentially enables you to add cable or a wireless connection from your network to the computer.
The computer can use the cable/WIFI to connect to other devices on the network. These wires are used to connect with devices such as modems or routers. A Network Card takes advantage of these wires or wireless connections so that they can be used for data transfer between computers and devices on the network.
Network cards allow computers on a local area network (LAN) to communicate with each other. You can connect to different networks, like the Internet or corporate networks to communicate with each other using the same type of data transfer method as if they were all physically connected together through cable connections.
Network cards can be used for various purposes including connecting multiple desktops together in a home office setting or connecting desktop computers together for cloud file sharing purposes when there are no mice or keyboards needed.
#What Are The Different Types Of Network Cards?
There are three main types of network cards:
- Wired Network Cards: These cards can enable your computer to connect with a network using an RJ45/Fiber Cable. These will be more expensive, but they usually offer faster speeds than wireless ones.
- Wireless Network Cards: These cards can be installed on any device that has an available USB port, such as a laptop or desktop PC. These are cost-effective and work well in most situations, but they can be slower than wired cards. Wireless Expansion cards are also available in PCI Express for desktop users.
- USB 3G Modem/Nano SIM Card: This type of device is essentially a wireless router with built-in modems that allow you to connect to the Internet wirelessly through your phone’s mobile data connection (4G/5G). They are available in both PCIe/USB connectivity. USB modems are smaller and lighter than traditional routers, which makes them ideal for travel or portability purposes. These devices have a built-in SIM card slot so you can use them as your ISP’s gateway when traveling abroad without needing to carry an extra router with you (though this is becoming less common as providers move away from subsidizing modem rentals).
#So, How To Choose The Right Network Card For Your PC or Laptop?
Choosing the right network card for your PC or laptop can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never dealt with this before. If you’re not sure what you need, there are many different types of network cards. You can find a wide range of options when shopping online or in stores. It’s important to choose the right card for your computer because it will affect how much you pay and how easy it is to use.
Let’s look at some important things to keep in mind when choosing a network card;
#Choosing The Right Type Of Network Card:
When choosing the right network card for your PC, there are two common types you’ll want to know about. The first is a “Wireless WIFI Network Card”, which is designed to work with WIFI networks only. The second one is the “Wired Network Card”, which can be used with both RJ45 and Fiber connections.
The main difference between the two types of network cards is that WIFI cards use an antenna to send and receive signals, while “Wired Network Card” use cables to transmit and receive information.
Both types of cards come in ‘PCI Express’ and ‘USB’ variants to connect to the computer. The PCI Express variant is considered more powerful than the USB version, which means that it can transmit data at higher speeds. This makes it better suited for use with high-end gaming PCs or workstations.
The USB version is popular for use in older computers and laptops, as it doesn’t require any special software or drivers—it just works right out of the box.
If you have a free “PCIe Slot” on your computer’s motherboard, then you can start looking for a PCIe Network card that supports that type of connection. If not, then you’ll need to look elsewhere.
For one, network cards come in different PCIe variants, like mini-PCIe (especially for laptops), PCIe x1, PCI x4, and PCIe x8.
These days most of the latest generation wifi card comes with M.2 Slot compatibility which uses same number of PCIe Lanes as PCIe x4 slot does. So, you should only buy a network expansion card that fits into the free slot on your computer’s motherboard.
To know more about PCIe Slots, you can check out our recently written article about PCI Express X16 vs. X8 vs. X4 vs. X1 Slot: Difference, Use & Compatibility.
#Speed and Latency
Your network connection is the lifeline of your computer. It allows you to access the internet, communicates with other people and devices, and do all the things you want to do. The speed of your network connection is one of the most important factors in this equation.
RJ45-compatible network cards can go up to 1000 Mbps, whereas fiber optic compatible network cards can go up to 10000 Mbps.
Fiber Optic Network cards are designed specifically for connecting directly into the home or office network using optical fibers instead of copper wires like other types of network connections require (standard Ethernet). These types of cards tend to be more expensive than their standard counterparts because they are rare and require special installation by an experienced technician who has been trained on how best to install them correctly into your particular setup.
But the type of network card you choose will depend on what kind of connection you have at home or at work, it can be the Standard RJ45 Ethernet Connection or a Fiber connection.
If you have a standard RJ45 Ethernet connection, you will need to use a standard Ethernet network card. If you have a fiber connection at home or work, then a Fiber Optic Ethernet Card is better suited for your needs.
If you’re looking for a wireless card, you’ll want to make sure it’s 802.11ac (which is WIFI version 5) or 802.11ax (which is the latest WIFI version 6) and not any older version of WIFI.
There are several different features that go into WIFI cards, and the newer versions have more features than the older ones. For example, 802.11ax has a new feature called MU-MIMO that allows multiple devices in your home to use the internet at once without running into interference issues. Another feature that is becoming increasingly important is Beamforming technology, which allows your device to focus its transmissions on specific devices in your home so they can receive them more clearly than they would otherwise be able to do so with other devices nearby interfering with their reception.
802.11ax also uses 256-QAM modulation, which means that it has a higher bandwidth than older versions of 802.11ac and 802.11n while still maintaining backward compatibility with previous versions of WLAN technology. This means that you can still use older routers and access points, but you’ll get better performance from them when using 802.11ax-compatible devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc., which makes it an even more attractive option for people looking for a high-speed connection at home or work where they need reliable security protection as well as fast speeds download/upload data over their network!
#If Buying WIFI Card, Then ‘Which One To Choose – 6/5/2.4GHz’?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the ideal frequency between two devices communicating over Wi‑Fi. It all depends on your needs: if you need to have a long range of communication, use 2.4 GHz; if speed and transmission quality are more important than distance, 5GHz frequencies should be used instead.
The main difference between 5GHz and 2.4GHz WIFI network cards is that 5GHz is much faster than 2.4GHz because it has a higher frequency range and better signal strength. The difference between these two frequencies is mainly due to their frequencies, which are both consistent but are not closely related (i.e., the bandwidth required for one doesn’t necessarily require the same bandwidth as another). 5GHz WIFI cards can support up to 1 GBps while 2.4 GHz supports speeds up to 600 Mbps (Mbps), which means it will be faster but also more expensive than a lower speed card such as 802.11g, which only supports speeds up to 54 Mbps (Mbps).
The 5GHz band, which is newer than the 2.4 GHz one and has more available channels for communication, can help improve network performance by cutting through interference that other devices might cause on those crowded frequencies.
For larger areas, such as estates or large apartment blocks, 2.4GHz is a better choice as it offers greater range and penetration abilities than the 5GHz band. For smaller homes or flats with less interference from networks in neighboring buildings, 5GHz provides faster speeds than its older sibling (2.4) but also comes at a cost of reduced reach due to increased congestion on that frequency band.
WiFi 6E is the new generation of WiFi and it is a high-frequency band (6GHz) with greater bandwidth, lower latency, and better security. The higher frequency reduces interference with other devices and also allows your device to receive signals from farther away.
6GHz is a high-speed, high-frequency, low-power wireless standard that is designed to provide a range of up to 180 meters or a bit more. This new standard can be used in different situations from indoors to outdoor. The new WiFi 6E provides better performance and more reliability than the previous generations of WiFi technology.
#If Buying WIFI Card, Then ‘Is It WPA3 Compatible’?
If you want to buy a WIFI network card for your PC, then you need to consider whether it is WPA2 or WPA3 compatible.
WPA2 is the current standard and was developed in 2004. It has been used in wireless networks since then. However, it has two major weaknesses:
- WPA2 encryption keys can be easily cracked by hackers using brute force attacks (which are very expensive). This means that if you use a vulnerable router, someone else might be able to access your data.
- The WPA2 encryption key also gets transmitted over the air when connected to an unsecured network, which means that anyone who is listening on their own radio could potentially intercept your data.
WPA3 is a new standard that was developed specifically for WIFI devices and requires more complex encryption keys than WPA2. It also uses much more secure ciphers than WPA2 did and will not be cracked by hackers using brute force attacks on your router’s security settings (although they can still try).
If you want to use a new router that supports WPA3, then you should make sure that it supports this new security protocol before purchasing one of these cards for your computer
#Compatibility With The Operating System
With the wide range of options available for computer networking, it can be difficult to find a WIFI Network Card that will work with your OS. You’ll need to check the WIFI Network Card specifications on its manufacturer’s website for OS drivers compatibility information. Some manufacturers offer drivers for specific operating systems, but others do not.
Cost is another important factor when looking for an appropriate network card for your computer. There are plenty of inexpensive options available for those who just want basic connectivity without worrying about performance issues.
#So Now, The Main Question Is ‘Which One To Pick?’.
- Top & Best M.2 WiFi Network Card For Laptop and Desktop – coming soon
- Top & Best mini-PCIe WiFi Network Card For Laptop and Desktop – coming soon
- Top & Best USB WiFi Network Card For Laptop and Desktop – coming soon
- Top & Best PCIe NIC WiFi Network Card For Desktop – coming soon