Desktop wifi advice?

#1 Posted by Spiritgod (210 posts) -

Hello fellow Bombers. I've come once again seeking advice.

In the next few months, I'll be moving my desktop PC around the home in order to stream video from the Internet to various televisions. I've never had to do any form of research on this subject, since every PC I've ever owned has been set next to the router. So, in the next couple of weeks I'll have to purchase a wifi card or adapter to keep the desktop connected. Does anyone on this board have in suggestions on brand, or anything else that might help me decide on what route to take in this venture? Any help is highly appreciated, and thanks in advance.

#2 Posted by kn00tcn (158 posts) -

running a long ethernet cable is not an option?

probably avoid those little usb wireless adapters, doubt they'll be picking up the signal as well as large antennas, etc

#3 Edited by Spiritgod (210 posts) -

@kn00tcn said:

running a long ethernet cable is not an option?

probably avoid those little usb wireless adapters, doubt they'll be picking up the signal as well as large antennas, etc

Ethernet is definitely out of the question. And yeah, I was thinking mostly on a card that installs to the motherboard.

#4 Posted by EXTomar (4497 posts) -

Although not optimal there are solutions like wireless bridges or even "home plug" power line technology. On the other hand you should be able to go into Best Buy or Wal-mart and just by a USB Wifi adapter for $20ish. An actual PCI card usually cost double if not more where I have never seen any more stability or speed over using the cheaper USB.

Online
#5 Posted by Spiritgod (210 posts) -

@extomar said:

Although not optimal there are solutions like wireless bridges or even "home plug" power line technology. On the other hand you should be able to go into Best Buy or Wal-mart and just by a USB Wifi adapter for $20ish. An actual PCI card usually cost double if not more where I have never seen any more stability or speed over using the cheaper USB.

Are there any limitations to using USB? The main function I need is to stream HD video over the wireless network. Are there any speeds I need to be made aware of?

#6 Edited by myketuna (1652 posts) -

I think a USB adapter will be cheaper and should be your first choice. It should be fine for most things as far as I'm concerned. They're pretty small and you won't feel too bad if it doesn't work (I hope).

That being said (and if the USB adapter doesn't work for you), I hooked my buddy up with this D-Link one when he got my old rig as a hand-me-down. He lives on the second floor of his house across from his router which is downstairs. We didn't try a USB one, but I never had any problem with D-Link stuff and this one was pretty good. Most PCI adapters come with external antennas and although I haven't tested them against USB, I figure they must be able to get a better signal than the internal antennas in USB adapters.

As far as speeds, just make sure you get a wireless adapter (USB or PCI) that matches whatever your router gives off (a, b, g, n, or ac (still pretty new)). Thankfully, if you buy any wireless adapter, it will usually work with everything that is "below" it in the hierarchy of wireless speeds (a<b<g<n<ac). Other than that, most wireless adapters I've seen are either 150 Mbps or 300 Mbps. A 300 Mbps should be the one you go after if you're dealing with HD video streaming and gaming, etc. However, you also gotta remember the actual speed you get depends on a bunch of stuff like your router speed, the type of wireless signal (a,b,g,n,ac), and walls, interference, etc. I'm no expert on this kinda stuff, but this is all I know about the subject, so hope I helped.

#7 Posted by Subject2Change (2966 posts) -
#8 Posted by Spiritgod (210 posts) -

@myketuna: The more I think about it, the more USB doesn't seem like a leap of faith. I've checked my router specifications and 300Mbps is the highest it can handle, so I'm pretty much stuck with that. I still have concerns on...

Well, let me just clarify what I'll be using it for. For those that have heard, Madden 25 Anniversary edition comes with NFL Sunday Ticket if you buy from Amazon. I've asked Amazon a few questions to try and figure out exactly what the promotion entails. From what I've gathered, the promotion is only for PC use, meaning you can stream every football game from the Internet. So, basically I'm trying to stream live HD content from somewhere other than where my router is, and want to make sure that the video, which will be viewed by several friends, doesn't have any quality issues while we watch.

I think my biggest concern is will I be giving up performance if I use USB over PCI? Is 300Mbps good enough to stream live HD content via wifi? Distance on the other hand shouldn't be a huge concern as the room I'll be connecting my desktop to is literally a brick wall away. And to add a little further detail. The room that houses the router is an old garage made into an entertainment room, and the room I'll be connecting the desktop is right next to the entertainment room, I'm adding this info so that those who read this will know that it isn't just a brick wall, but essentially two walls back to back that the signal has to go through. I still don't think that is enough interference, but I also haven't attempted this before...so I could be wrong.

#9 Edited by myketuna (1652 posts) -

@spiritgod: Well, I don't think so. The USB adapter should be pretty good depending on what you get. You'd have to check reviews and do some research and all that before getting one, but if it's 2 walls, it should be fine. And again, they're usually cheaper than PCI, so just try it out and see if it works. If it doesn't, then it might be because you need a little more "juice" and you can check out a PCI adapter at that point, but 2 walls doesn't seem like it's that much of a thing. As far as the speed (300Mbps) is concerned, it should be enough to stream HD video via wifi. I stream HD stuff to my Roku via wifi all the time. I don't think I'm getting 300Mbps either.

I also don't know how power line ethernet works, but you might want to look into that also. I've never messed with it myself, but it seems like that would be best if you can pull ethernet speeds over a power outlet. You would need 2 ethernet cables, I would guess. One cable from the router to the outlet in the router room and one from the desktop room outlet to the desktop ethernet port. I don't know if it's that simple, but if it is, that would be even easier.

#10 Posted by Spiritgod (210 posts) -

@myketuna: I think I'm going to do a bit more research on Powerline, and sorry,@subject2change, I saw your post but didn't understand the technology, so I ignored it. I think Powerline might be my best bet, but will need to do a lot of research before making a final decision.

#12 Posted by Spiritgod (210 posts) -

@dfl017: I actually have the PCI card below the one you listed in a maybe pile.

I guess the reason why this decision is a bit hard for me, is because I'm on a very limited budget, so this USB adapter, PCI card, or Powerline adapters will have to be a one and done type thing. I can't afford to buy something cheap, regret the purchase, and buy something else. Whatever I decide will have to handle live high definition content being streamed to it, otherwise it'll be a useless piece of hardware that I'll never use.

USB seems like a decent technology, but from all my research I'm not convinced it can handle a live HD stream. Powerline I still don't understand fully, but from what I did understand the technology is pretty cool, but the technology is reliant on the overall power usage in the house it's being used, and since I haven't a clue at how much is too much power usage, I might have to skip this technology for now. I don't know, I'm still searching around, but I do appreciate everyone's feedback.

#13 Edited by shinboy630 (1133 posts) -

I use this PCI card for my wifi needs on my desktop. I play and stream games over my wifi and it has never really given me any issues. As a side note I try to buy Asus boards for whatever I can because every one I have had has been pretty solid.

#14 Posted by myketuna (1652 posts) -

I use this PCI card for my wifi needs on my desktop. I play and stream games over my wifi and it has never really given me any issues. As a side note I try to buy Asus boards for whatever I can because every one I have had has been pretty solid.

I've actually tried that one out myself. It works great as well. I believe I got it for that same buddy's mom's computer. Her computer however is on the first floor and not the second, so we didn't go too huge on speed (it's only 150Mbps). But if that works for your streaming games, it should definitely work for HD live streaming.

#15 Posted by Subject2Change (2966 posts) -

@myketuna: I think I'm going to do a bit more research on Powerline, and sorry,@subject2change, I saw your post but didn't understand the technology, so I ignored it. I think Powerline might be my best bet, but will need to do a lot of research before making a final decision.

Not a problem, was at work and couldn't go into further details. However do some research on them, they are your best bet if your apartment/house has good electricity.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.