How To Change Your PC’s Wireless Card

The Wi-Fi adapter in your PC is one of its smallest but most crucial components. If yours has gone out, or you want to upgrade to a newer one, here’s how to replace it, courtesy of online casino real money.

What Exactly Is A Wi-Fi Card?

That’s a question you’ll need to answer before you can upgrade your system, and the answer is different based on what kind of PC you have.

Desktop Options

Let’s start with the easy one: desktop PCs. In desktops, access to Wi-Fi (and sometimes Bluetooth, too) generally comes in three different flavors:

A built-in component on the motherboard
A PCI card that plugs into the motherboard
A USB-based adapter
A USB Wi-Fi adapter is the easiest of these gadgets to manage, and it’s also the easiest to replace. Just buy a new one, plug it in, make sure your drivers are installed, and boom—you’ve got Wi-Fi. The other two are a little more tricky.

Modern motherboards often include a Wi-Fi adapter right on the motherboard, especially if they’re for smaller compact PCs. You can usually see the antenna poking out of the back of the main I/O plate, next to your USB ports or monitor output. If this thing is broken or outdated (for example, it doesn’t support modern 5GHz wireless connections), you can’t really replace it without buying a new motherboard or a PC.

Many motherboards and desktop PCs include Wi-Fi capabilities right on the motherboard—note the antenna connections.

Luckily, desktops are flexible enough that you don’t need to replace or repair the broken one. You can just add an additional Wi-Fi adapter in a different form, whether that’s a USB adapter or a new PCI Wi-Fi card. Which type you get just depends on your situation.

PCI cards plug into one of the open PCI-Express slots on your motherboard. The end where your antennas connect is exposed through the back of the PC. These cards have their pros and cons. On the plus side, they are generally inexpensive. The antennas are replaceable, meaning that you can use a bigger, higher gain antenna if you need a better signal, or even hook up a cable so that you can place the antenna elsewhere in the room. On the down side, you will need to open your PC’s case to install the card. You’ll also need to make sure you have an open PCI slot on your motherboard, and that you buy a compatible card. We’ll talk about this a bit later in the article.

USB Wi-Fi adapters, on the other hand, are much easier to install. You just plug it into an open USB port on your PC. Some devices also have an additional power cable. The downsides of USB adapters are that you’ll need a bit of space for it near your USB ports, and that the antennas are generally not replaceable.

Laptop Options

Every laptop sold in the last decade will have some kind of Wi-Fi capability. The most common method for this is the PCI Express Mini standard. It’s a tiny version of the PCI cards mentioned above, formatted especially for the tight internal chambers of a laptop. It also generally includes a plug for a wired antenna, which goes up through the body and hinge of the laptop into the screen housing for better reception.

A newer standard that’s gaining popularity is the even smaller M.2 (sometimes called NGFF) slot. These are similar to slots for M.2 storage drives, but even tinier—most models are about the same size as a postage stamp.

Some laptops have both a Mini PCIe slot and an M.2 wireless slot. Some only have one of those slots. And some don’t have any at all, instead using components soldered directly onto the motherboard. And sometimes, those cards are not easily accessible for user replacement, because the laptop isn’t designed to be opened at all. This is generally the case with super-small, compact laptop designs. Tablets, no matter what operating system they’re running, can generally not be upgraded by the end user.

If your laptop can’t be opened or doesn’t have a PCI Express Mini or M.2 wireless slot, you won’t be able to upgrade its native wireless capability or swap out a faulty component. But you you can still use a USB-based Wi-Fi adapter, and some of them are small enough that they won’t significantly impact your computer’s portability.

Which Upgrade Should I Get?

First of all, if you’re merely replacing your Wi-Fi card because the current one is damaged, just get the same model. You already know it’s compatible, and presumably your network setup hasn’t changed. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—except for the part that’s actually broken, of course. If you’re upgrading to a Wi-Fi adapter with a newer standard, you’ll have to do a little research. And remember, whether you’re working with a desktop or a laptop, if you don’t want to bother opening up the case to replace an existing Wi-Fi card, you can always go the simpler route and just add a USB adapter. With its upgrade, you will have a stable connection to the internet when you play games at America online casino.

Check For Compatibility

If you’re upgrading your desktop with a new PCI Express card, first check the compatibility. You’ll need to check the specs or physically inspect your motherboard to see how many (if any) PCI slots you have open. You can also use an app like Speccy (from the makers of CCleaner), which lets you view information about the PCI slots on your PC, including which are currently in use and by what.


Admin works in Technology development and regularly contributes to blogs around the web with advice, tips, and strategies for business marketing and promotion. Even when he’s not in the office Jake is thinking about new marketing tactics and techniques. He just can’t get enough!

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