*Best* method of getting a PC onto wifi network


Established Member
Hi all,

Due to changing our lounge around I want to move my router and main PC apart. I could run network cabling round the lounge but I don't really want to if I can avoid it - I want to keep things nice and neat.

There's Powerline obviously but it seems silly to use two powered devices to transmit a signal not very far when there is a perfectly good wifi network. I've always leaned towards Ethernet where possible but using wifi would be by far the simplest solution.

Anyhoo, my question is, back in the day I think the advice used to be to try and avoid using USB dongles for wireless access. That from a performance point of view, managing the USB device presented extra load to the CPU, and that PCI (or these days PCIe I guess) avoided slowing the PC down.

If this was ever true (and I'm more than happy to concede it could well have been hogwash even then), is it still the case? That a dedicated internal card is a better option than a USB dongle from a PC performance point of view?

Thanks in advance for any polite pointers, ;)




Prominent Member
I don't think a USB dongle presents any significant CPU overhead nowadays. I've used this TP-Link USB WiFi dongle in the past and it was pretty much plug-n-play on a Windows 7 PC. If you want dual-band (or higher throughput), there's a higher spec version here. The big advantages of USB WiFi interfaces are ease of installation and ease of positioning for the best WiFi reception.


Distinguished Member
Historically the disparaging of USB wi-fi devices is usually some combination of:

The mechanical seating is not hugely robust (gets dirty, wobbles, and is not always the most convenient location,)
Interface transfer rates much slower than wi-fi so you may not maximise your throughput (esp. USB V1, USB V2 not too bad, and USB V3 + probably OK,)
Small form factors limits antenna size and number - sometimes only 1 antrenna which will curtail max. wi-fi link rates.

My preferred solution would be an internally fitted NIC (so probably PCIe these day, though check your MOBO capabilities,) with an antenna array on fly leads which gives me some ability to experiment with position and orientation to achieve optimum performance.


Established Member
Cheers for the replies guys. I think I'm going to just give USB a stab. I had a look inside my PC and putting a card in the way of the graphics adaptor would be bad for cooling so if I can avoid that I will.

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