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Old 07-01-2012, 02:06 AM   #1
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Default Wifi card

Why is it that apparently nobody can make a PCI or PCIe wifi card that connect reliably, at a decent speed, and introduce no unwanted glitches like the repeated stuttering in video that my ASUS PCE-N13 does?

Joe mentioned it in his vidcard thread -- you can't find a single card that has even close to generally good reviews. Every single one has a significant number of incredibly angry reviews listing off all the glitches and problems.

Weirdly...USB wifi devices seem to get much better reviews across the board.

Is there some reason nobody can make a decent internal wifi card, but USB wifi devices work just fine? Why is it that every bargain basement netbook and laptop can connect to wireless networks without issue, but trying to make a desktop do the same is such a hassle?
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:26 AM   #2
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If I had to get a wireless PCIe card, it would be the bigfoot wireless card hands down at this point.

$$$ granted, but still.
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:33 AM   #3
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I had a Netgear USB adapter for a while on my desktop PC. Worked ok, but tended to lock up every few days, requiring me to unplug and reconnect it. Range was also pretty poor- three layers of drywall and about 30 feet between it and the router meant I had to position it just right in order to get a reliable signal.

I recently upgraded to an Atheros ar5bdt92, which is a PCIe device with an external dual antenna (with its own base). So far it's been absolutely rock solid.

Amazon.com: New Atheros AR9280 AR5BDT92 PCIe Desktop WLAN Card & Lenovo Antenna: Computers & Accessories Amazon.com: New Atheros AR9280 AR5BDT92 PCIe Desktop WLAN Card & Lenovo Antenna: Computers & Accessories


Didn't even need to install any third-party drivers / TSRs. Unlike the Netgear unit, this one was natively recognized and managed by Windows automatically.


blaen99, I think mgeoffriau is looking for something that will work in a desktop PC- that Bigfoot device is PCIe-mini, which is a laptop standard.
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Old 07-01-2012, 01:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
blaen99, I think mgeoffriau is looking for something that will work in a desktop PC- that Bigfoot device is PCIe-mini, which is a laptop standard.
Joe, Bigfoot makes PCI, PCIe, and PCIe-mini variants. Or at least I think they did when I was last in the market for said network cards, for all I know they could have just trimmed it down to PCIe-mini.

/Off to google!

http://www.amazon.com/Protronix%C2%A.../dp/B005JTEREW or
Amazon Amazon
or similar is the solution. Win! A little bit of searching reveals the only great wireless cards available are PCIe, there's an unspoken expectation that desktops get on gbe.
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:16 PM   #5
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Interesting- I've never seen a PCIe-mini card mounted on a piggyback adapter like those. Certainly workable, just seems like a silly solution.

At any rate, I agree that USB is a hokey way to go. My Atheros card has been working nicely.

I assume GBE = gigabit ethernet (as in, wired)? Yeah, mine has on-board gigabit, and I have historically run ethernet cable to all of my desktop machines, but I decided to give wireless a try, as the physical configuration of the apartment I'm living in right now didn't lend itself well to snaking cable down the hall. I've also started using wireless at the office in environments where I need to connect machines to isolated networks separate from the main office LAN.
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:33 PM   #6
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Well, when all of the desktop solutions blow ***** compared to the laptop solutions, Joe, you end up with some interesting solutions.

And interesting, I'm pretty much in the realm of "If the connection matters (Read: any desktop machine), it's getting wired". I don't think I'd trust a wireless connection period, especially in networks that need to be physically isolated from the main office LAN.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:56 AM   #7
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Shared internet connection from the neighbors, so hard-wiring is not an option, unless I go purchase an access point. WAP's seem about as reliable as wifi cards, so that doesn't get me much further.

Additionally, I should clarify something here about my requirements. I don't really care for maximum transfer speed. Something fast enough to stream Netflix would be nice, but I'm not going to be transferring massive files back and forth from this computer.

What I really need is reliability. I do not want a card that introduces problems to other parts of the computer (like this ASUS card does to video/audio playback, which is a no-no anyway, but especially for an HTPC).

I'm going to try the Windows-supplied driver tonight instead of ASUS's. If that doesn't help, I'm going to pull the card and borrow the Rosewill USB wifi adapter that has been working reliably on the other desktop to see if that works fine. If it does, I'll probably order another of those for $15.

blaen99, I'd try one of those PCIe-mini adapters if I hadn't just tossed two older laptops without pulling their wifi cards. I yanked the HD's and RAM before I tossed them as I usually do, but it didn't occur to me that I'd have a use for a laptop wifi card.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:09 AM   #8
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I game on a USB wificard at home. No issues. IIRC it was the cheapest Belkin one I could find, maybe $20?
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
I game on a USB wificard at home. No issues. IIRC it was the cheapest Belkin one I could find, maybe $20?
At this point I'm kicking myself for not just ordering the same Rosewill USB unit that's working great on my other desktop. I wanted something "cleaner" thus the desire for an internal card (and some belief that an internal card would work better), but there it is.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:44 AM   #10
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Did you click on the link I posted to the Atheros card? It costs $23, is natively PCI-e, doesn't require third-party drivers under Win7, and has thus far been rock-solid reliable.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:51 AM   #11
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Yeah, it looks pretty good -- just haven't had a chance to google it yet to see if I can scrounge up any bad reports on it yet. Thanks for the recommendation.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:23 PM   #12
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Bah, just realized that Atheros card doesn't come with a low-profile bracket.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
Bah, just realized that Atheros card doesn't come with a low-profile bracket.
Really?

Mine came with only a low-profile bracket. I had to cut it and JB-weld part of another bracket to it to make it fit in my full-size case.

I got mine from a source other than the Amazon.com site, of course. Specifically I pulled it out of a Lenovo PC we had here at the office which didn't need it. (These cars were supplied to Lenovo as OEM parts- they even have Lenovo stenciled on the antenna base.)

Exact same model, though.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:02 PM   #14
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Hmm. Apparently TP-Link PCIe cards use Atheros chipsets. Maybe I'll try to match up the corresponding TP-Link card and order that if it comes with a low profile bracket.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:12 PM   #15
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sounds like a good usb is way to go. if you do want to get rid of usb and move the thing around, this might work. i was thinking of using it to connect outdoor parabolics at one point

Ubiquiti BULLET-M2-HP Outdoor 802.11n M2HP
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:48 AM   #16
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So, in the interest of full disclosure, I had my first problem with the Atheros card tonight. Long story short: it and my spiffy new GTX 280 graphics card do not seem to get along with one another. Details here:

https://www.miataturbo.net/gaming-91...50/#post898551

So I am now sadface, as I've had to remove it and revert back to using my accursed old USB Netgear WN111.
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:01 AM   #17
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my dual-band wireless N from Linksys has yet to fail me.
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:30 AM   #18
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Don't tease me, bro. I need a link.
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:45 AM   #19
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I <3 the haters, because I am running @ a 5ghz and reading 270Mbps, I also run a network HDD and realistically get a little less than the stated speed.

Newegg.com - Linksys WMP600N Wireless Adapter with Dual-Band IEEE 802.11a/b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI WEP, WPA & WPA2 Personal, WPA & WPA2 Enterprise
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:05 PM   #20
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I think I fixed the stuttering problem, and it wasn't the ASUS wifi card...it was the ASUS driver package for my Radeon 5450. The ASUS disc installed two little programs for monitoring GPU temp (SmartDoctor) and something for (I think) recording screenshots/video during gaming (GamerOSD).

I uninstalled both out of curiosity (at the same time as I disabled real-time Windows Protector) and, lo and behold, super-smooth live TV and recorded TV, no stuttering, skipping, or dropped frames. I reactivated Windows Protector and it's still fine, so I think it was those ASUS utilities.

Now, unfortunately, I seem to be getting the issue where HDMI audio is lost after the PC sleeps or the TV input is changed, but it's intermittent for now.

How bad is it to hot-swap HDMI plugs? I need a way of reinitializing the HDMI connection without shutting the PC down so that I can regain audio without losing the recording.
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