Wireless Internet Card
What is a Wireless Internet Card?
A wireless internet card (or wireless network interface controller if you’re a techie) is a card that uses a built-in antenna to connect to a computer network, usually a Wi-Fi signal.
In the early days of mobile computing, wireless internet cards weren’t built into laptops. You had to purchase one—they were a bit larger than a standard credit card—and slip it into the slot on the side of your laptop. These days wireless Internet cards come standard in just about every laptop, netbook and mobile device. Desktop computers, however, are still usually built without wireless Internet cards. Though you can buy desktop computers from manufactures and electronics stores with wireless Internet cards included, most people connect their desktop computers to a wired broadband network, so a wireless Internet card is viewed as an extra feature.
Types of Wireless Internet Cards
If you’re buying a wireless Internet card now, you’re probably buying one to connect to a mobile broadband network, i.e. 3G, 4G, WiMAX or LTE. Unless you have a desktop computer, or your laptop is more than five years old, you probably don’t need a Wi-Fi card.
Keep in mind that wireless Internet cards that access mobile broadband networks usually require some type of contract through a wireless internet provider, so make sure to do your research on wireless internet providers and see who has the best network n your area.
You can purchase any of these products from most wireless internet providers, or at an electronics store.
These USB dongles plug into a USB port and draw power from your laptop. Some of them feature small hinges that enable them to fold up for better signal strength.
These are like the old Wi-Fi cards, but much more powerful, some of them even have tiny antennas on them. Not all laptops will have a space for mobile broadband wireless Internet cards, so make sure yours does before picking one up.
These impressive devices are about the size of half a deck of playing cards. They connect to a mobile broadband network, like AT&T’s 3G network, and then connect laptops and other wireless devices to that network through a Wi-Fi signal.