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What Is a Wireless Internet Adapter?

Learn what a wireless adapter is from computer expert Yoav Erez in this Howcast video about wireless network technology.

Transcript

So let's say you have a computer that's old and you really want to connect it to your wireless network, but it just doesn't have any wireless capabilities in it. Well, a wireless adapter is what you need. Wireless adapters come in many different kinds, and shapes, and forms. And they change according to size, wireless standard and functionality, but most of them look just like this guy. This is the USB wireless adapter and it's one of the newest ones, so it's really, really small, which I really like about it because that's means you can kind plug it into your computer and forget about it. As you can see, it has a USB interface that goes into your computer either your laptop or your desktop and on the other side, we can't really see it because it's inside, but it has a tiny little wireless radio antenna that connects to your hot spot, to your router, or if you go to a coffee shop or an airport it'll log you into the network.

So, finally a few notes when you buy a wireless adapter that's important to remember. If you're getting a USB wireless adapter, it's important to check that you actually have a free USB port on your computer where this will plug into. The second thing is where are you going to use it? If you're going for range, if your laptop was really far away from where your router is, you might want to get a bigger wireless adapter. I know that this 1 looks cute and it's very convenient and comfortable, but they do sell larger wireless adapters that kind of go from the computer with the cable and you have a big antenna on the desk. It's not as pretty, but it worlds much better. The other thing to notice is the wireless standards, so they're basically 3 wireless standards out there today. Wireless B, G, and N. B is not really used that much anymore because it's kind of old, so G and N are the 2 frequent choices. Where N is the newer, faster with more range. I would stick to N at this point, they're maybe a little more expensive but it's definitely worth the extra dollars.

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