How Much Does a Wireless Adapter Cost?
A wireless adapter is a device that enables you to connect to a wireless router using a PDA or computer through a USB port or the expansion slot inside a desktop computer. It is commonly used by people whose devices lack internal WiFi cards. For example, if you have wireless internet in your home and you have someone over who is using a laptop that is not WiFi ready, a wireless adapter can be used to allow the laptop to connect to your WiFi. Wireless adapters come in different forms, but the most common ones look like a USB stick and are simply plugged into the computer or device.
How much is it?
- The prices of wireless adapters vary quite greatly, ranging from $10 to as high as $100. The cost of an adapter mostly depends on the design type and version of 802.11 protocol featured. The least expensive adapters are the USB adapters with some 802.11g versions retailing at $10 to $30. More typical 802.11n versions from name-brand manufacturers may cost about $30 to $60. The PCI and other semi-permanent models may cost higher, with the newer and more powerful versions retailing at about $100.
- For example, the Medialink 150 Mbps Wireless N adapter retails for $19 to $50.
- Staples.com, for instance, sells their wireless adapters for $15 to as much as $60.
What is going to be included?
- A wireless network functions in a similar way as a television set, radio, or a cordless phone. The adapter enables you to send and receive data from the router via radio waves. The speed of transmission differs depending on the version of the adapter and compression algorithms. Speeds include: 54 Mbps; 100 Mbps; 150 Mbps; 200 Mbps; 300 Mbps; 450 Mbps.
- Wireless adapters are available in several different types. The PCI adapter, for example, is designed to fit in the expansion slot inside a modern desktop computer. The adapter draws its power from the power supply and is also fitted with an external antenna to connect to the signals from the router. PCMCIA adapters, on the other hand, are designed to fit in the expansion slot inside the older versions of laptop computers. They may be fitted with an external antenna for the same purpose as PCI adapters, but they normally have lower radio power.
- The most popular among wireless adapters is the USB adapter. It is easier to use as you only need to plug it in the computer’s USB port of either a desktop or a laptop. Most modern computers support the plug-and-play functions on both Mac and Windows’ operating systems.
- Popular brands of wireless adapters include Belkin, Cisco, Asus, Netgear and Microsoft.
What are the extra costs?
- If you do not have a wireless router, this can cost $20 to $100 depending on the brand and speed.
Tips to know:
- Before choosing a wireless adapter, make sure that it works with your router.
- Wireless adapters have to adhere by IEEE 802.11 standards. What you will notice is that most adapters will have a letter that follows the number. The higher this letter is, the more advanced this network card is going to be.
How can I save money?
- Installing a wired connection is quite taxing as it is normally associated with a lot of drilling, wiring jobs and installing baseboards along with Ethernet cables. This could be expensive especially if there are physical restrictions such as roads involved.
- Unlike their wired counterparts, wireless connections are cheaper to install and the adapters are mobile. A typical router can allow for about 254 simultaneous connections without internet-traffic jam, thus increasing your wireless experience.
- Although owners of the older computers might feel left out, the wireless revolution continues to proliferate making it possible to access wireless-networking from any computer.
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