USB Wi‑Fi Vs Motherboard Wi‑Fi

USB Wi‑Fi Vs Motherboard Wi‑Fi: Which Is The Best For You?

If your motherboard doesn’t come with inbuilt Wi‑Fi card, then the easiest and cheapest alternative for a normal user is to go with USB Wi‑Fi dongles. As they are small, easily portable, and also cheap mostly normal users choose them over fancy PCIe Wi‑Fi cards.

But if your motherboard does have Wi‑Fi capabilities, then who wins, your onboard Wi‑Fi or the USB dongle, let’s discuss it in this post:

USB Wi‑Fi Vs Motherboard Wi‑Fi: The motherboards with latest Wi‑Fi 6 can easily give around 1000Mbit/s, 9608Mbit/s max (although it’s not possible because internet providers can’t give that much) speed. On the other hand, good USB Wi‑Fi dongles can give around 30-50Mbit/s easily, So, motherboards clearly take on USB Wi‑Fi.

But there are also other factors that affect the overall Wi‑Fi speed.

For example, if you are using a motherboard that comes with older versions of Wi‑Fi, like 802.11g that only supports 2.4GHz and can give up to 54Mbit/s on paper, then more likely a latest good USB Wi‑Fi adapter is going to beat that onboard motherboard.

On the other hand, if you are comparing a cheap $5 USB Wi‑Fi dongle with a $500 Wi‑Fi motherboard, then also it will not be fair enough. So, I have tested both of them fairly and used the latest of them. Now, let’s dive deeper:

Motherboard Wi‑Fi Speed:

A motherboards Wi‑Fi speed depends a lot on what version Wi‑Fi they have. Depending on their Wi‑Fi version, the speed can vary from 11Mbit/s upto 9680Mbit/s. Personally, I don’t suggest buying motherboards below Wi‑Fi 4 (802.11n).

In Wi‑Fi 4, you get 90-100 Mbit/s speed on average, as high as up to 600 Mbit/s. Moreover, it also supports 5GHz frequency. So, compared to the USB Wi‑Fi adapters, motherboards with Wi‑Fi 4 is a lot better.

Also, if you are buying a latest motherboard, they mostly it will have Wi‑Fi 5, Wi‑Fi 6 or Wi‑Fi 6E. These are far better than the latest Wi‑Fi adapters.

Note that, which internet connection you have also matter. If you are going to use a 50Mb/s internet connection, then you don’t need to go with motherboards with Wi‑Fi 6, Wi‑Fi 6E, as they also cost higher.

Also, if you don’t buy a motherboard with Wi‑Fi, this is also okay. that will be also perfectly fine, a good USB Wi‑Fi adapter can easily give you 50-60 Mb/s.

Overall, it depends on what internet plans you are going to use, and also do you really need that much speed? Now, let’s have a look at the USB Wi‑Fi adapters, when you should consider using them?

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How Fast Is USB Wi‑Fi?

USB Wi‑Fi dongles give speed around 30Mb/s to 50Mb/s depending on their quality. But, the cheap adapters don’t give much speed. They only gives 10-20Mbit/s.

So, we can clearly see that USB adapters are not as good as motherboard Wi‑Fis in terms of uses, but what about the connectivity issues?

Is Motherboard Wi‑Fi Better Than USB Wi‑Fi?

In general, motherboard Wi‑Fi is far better in terms of speed but also for getting constant speed. It is very common to see connectivity errors in USB Wi‑Fi adapters. But onboard Wi‑Fi is pretty good in this case.

You don’t have to face connectivity issues in onboard Wi‑Fi as likely.

I have used different types of USB Wi‑Fi adapters and motherboard Wi‑Fi. With USB adapters what happens is, after using them for few months or 1-2 years, they start showing errors.

Like, I got the error where I have to remove it and reinsert it every time I boot my PC, otherwise, it doesn’t work. Sometimes, the internet speed also reduces drastically.

So, you might see issues like this in USB Wi‑Fi adapters in the long run. That’s why, if you do anything where constant and high-speed internet is important, then I highly recommend going with motherboard Wi‑Fi or PCIe Wi‑Fi where speed is consistent.

Now, let’s discuss when you should consider buying onboard Wi‑Fi.

Is It Worth Getting A Motherboard With Wi‑Fi?

Getting a motherboard with Wi‑Fi is worth it for users who need constant as well as high-speed internet connection. Otherwise, as motherboards with Wi‑Fi are still expensive, so for general users who don’t need such high speed, USB Wi‑Fi adapters are enough.

So, if you are looking for internet connection for tasks like watching YouTube, Netflix, scrolling the web, then a good USB Wi‑Fi adapter will be perfectly fine. As they are cheap, you can carry everywhere, and also sufficient for normal users, you can go with them.

Note that, USB Wi‑Fi adapters also come in different varieties. So, for getting the best performance in USB adapters also, you should go with the premium ones, that come with antennas.

You can easily get a good USB wifi adapter around $13-$15, but if you want wifi with a motherboard, unfortunately, the budget motherboards don’t come with wifi features. You at least have to buy a $150 motherboard, below than no such good motherbaords are available with wifi.

Moreover, make sure to buy 5GHz Wi‑Fi adapters as they can give better speed and stable internet connectivity than 2.4GHz Wi‑Fi dongles.

What Wi‑Fi In A Motherboard Do?

Wi‑Fi in a motherboard allows connecting the PC with the internet from any router or mobile wirelessly. Without it, either the user has to use a USB Wi‑Fi adapter or Wi‑Fi cards for accessing the internet on that computer.

So, make sure to check if your motherboard has one or not before buying. If not you have to install any device later on.

Also Read:

Do Wifi Routers Go Bad Over Time?
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Wrapping up:

In this post, I have discussed which one a normal user should use between a USB Wi‑Fi adapter and motherboard Wi‑Fi, which one can give better speed and stable internet connection.

If you have any question further regarding this topic, feel free to contact me. See you in the next one, bet techy:)

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