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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    WiFi: Integrated or Card?

    Please help me understand: Is it more sensible to have a laptop with integrated wi fi or instead to use a card because the card can be upgraded and paired with a matching rooter, or have I missed something?
    Tusca

  2. #2
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: WiFi: Integrated or Card?

    Having the laptop with integrated wifi is a more straightforward option provided you choose one which supports 801.11g (max 54 Mbps) as well as b (max 11 Mbps). An example of this is the Intel PRO/Wireless 2200bg.

    If you want to go outside the standard offerings and get a 108 Mbps-capable router, or a "pre-N" MIMO router, then, yes, it would be better to get a 'matching' laptop wireless card. But these can cost lots of
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  3. #3
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    Re: WiFi: Integrated or Card?

    When I purchased my laptop 3 years ago, I thought I'd be happy without the integrated WiFi. I immediately purchased a PC Card WiFi adapter once I found that I wanted to use the laptop outside of the home office.

    I am happy with the add-on card, however due to the age of my laptop, and the physical dimensions of the PC Cards, when I go to use my USB 2.0 PC Card, I must disconnect from the wireless network.

    In my opinion, a laptop computer should have everything required, as an internal device if possible. Your ability to expand and upgrade devices will not be limited by doing this.
    Christopher Baldrey

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Re: WiFi: Integrated or Card?

    Thank you for your answer John.
    You're right that it is because I've heard of cards faster than 54mps that the question occured to me, but you imply that the "faster" cards would make only a nominal difference, is that right?
    Also i read in Woody's latest book that it was important to match the card with the rooter so I was concerned that an integrated one may not match, but perhaps i've misunderstood.
    Are the integrated cards upgradeable anyway? Is there a particular make I should look out for?
    Thanks again,
    Tusca

  5. #5
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: WiFi: Integrated or Card?

    I would say that it is important to match the wireless card with the router only if you are going beyond the standard 54 Mbps maximum of the 802.11g standard. Otherwise it won't make a great deal of difference, and all cards 'should' match any 11g router.

    In practice, most wireless speeds are disappointing, because the data transfer rate is often less than the maximum, sometimes considerably less if you have the wireless card a long way from the router, and the signal has to pass through several brick walls.

    The main question is probably, "how fast do you need?" If you are not transferring huge amounts of data (video streaming, say), then stick with the standard. Beware that the "pre-N" MIMO routers 'may' not exactly follow the 802.11n standard when it ends up being finalised, and both the router and the requisite card cost
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  6. #6
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    Re: WiFi: Integrated or Card?

    Also, being a Laptop, one will be connecting to different servers where ever they go. So the matching will only be good at the "home Base" where the matched router is.

    I think it would be a waste of time and money to spend the extra for a very slim increase, unless one was to do a LOT of data transfers to and from their laptop.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: WiFi: Integrated or Card?

    The big advantage of the MIMO or Pre-N routers is that they often have better range and coverage than 802.11g - for some people this makes the difference between having an effective home wireless network and not.

    When travelling it is much better to just have an integrated adapter though, easier to manage, more flexible configurations if you have any other PC Cards, probably consumes less power, etc.

    StuartR

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    Re: WiFi: Integrated or Card?

    A couple of little memes to add.

    - An internal Wi-Fi is often just a PCI card (about the size of a matchbook, but thinner of course). So, there may be possibility of upgrading even an internal wi-fi (with some difficulty).

    - An external PC card Wi-fi adapter may stick out far enough to prevent you from conveniently storing it in the case, or present a hazarard of getting broken off.

    - If you have an external wf adapter with a replacable antennae, then you can buy/design your own antennae to pull in weak or distant signals. Hobby!

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