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Looking for a wifi PCI card..

Community Veteran
Posts: 14,020
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Looking for a wifi PCI card..

Hi all
My PC is 64bit (emachines EL1352). Now I'm in need of a pci wifi card (don't like usb dongles for wireless - my 3g dongle as much as i love it takes around 2 minutes to start working).
So I've hit ebay.. yes there are 64bit pci cards however none specify what chipsets they use and I still have an old 32bit card that worked brilliantly as an AP (ralink 2500 chip  Wink) and I can't help but wonder if 32bit cards are any use with 64bit slots? - The driver software is also 32bit but I used a gigabyte program that could set the card into AP mode on startup without even logging in (not many cards support that!).
So do I need to splash out on a new card or is there life in the old MSI PC54G2 ?
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
15 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

By "64bit PCI slot" do you mean a PCI Express 1x slot? Or do you really mean something more obscure for server motherboards?
Community Veteran
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

Not a clue! All I know is there is one slot in there.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
pwatson
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

Are you perhaps comparing apples with oranges?  The performance of a 3G USB dongle can't be used to predict the performance of an 802.11.b/g/n USB stick...
Community Veteran
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

If the eMachines is a normal home machine, and these specs are correct, yes you need a PCI Express 1x card. The slot has a much shorter connector than older PCI slots.
Community Veteran
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

Hi
Got a pic of the slot and board:

I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

Quote from: ejs
If the eMachines is a normal home machine, and these specs are correct, yes you need a PCI Express 1x card. The slot has a much shorter connector than older PCI slots.

Looking at that (mine is the 2GHz single core) it looks like it might be a PCI-e x16. Can a normal PCI card use that?
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
pwatson
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

So something like a TP Link TL-WN781ND then?
http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/?categoryid=243&model=TL-WN781ND#spec
Certainly cheap enough..  
http://www.dabs.com/products/tp-link-150mbit-wlan-lite-n-pcie-x1-adapter-7X91.html?utm_source=google...
You still may find you get better performance from a USB stick on an extension cable as you will be able to position it for best performance more easily?
Community Veteran
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

Quote
Supports ad-hoc and infrastructure mode

I'm really looking for something that supports AP mode too. The onyl cards I've known to do this easily are those with ralink 2500 chipsets. Unfortunately they've gone the way of the dinosaurs.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

No, you can't put an old PCI card into a PCIe 16x slot.
You can get internal cards with the antenna on a cable.
AP mode is more of a software feature - isn't there some Win 7 software to add a virtual AP with any wifi card?
pwatson
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

OK - Can you explain exactly what you're trying to achieve?  Presumably you want to connect this machine via wifi as you can't cable to it?  You also want the interface to act as an access point?
Wouldn't it be easier to buy a wifi range extender/AP and connect it via ethernet to the PC?  Or use homeplugs of course!
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

Quote from: ejs
AP mode is more of a software feature

Not really. My old MSI PC54G2 can be set (by a great bit of software from gigabyte) by its hardware to go straight into AP more when the system boots up without running the software AP. It is one of the reasons I love the card so much as its been very flexible and highly reliable (never overheats, never stops streaming etc - unlike every wireless router we've had that will overheat and conk out this card is 100% reliable).
Quote from: ejs
- isn't there some Win 7 software to add a virtual AP with any wifi card?

Not a clue. Never tried to use a wifi card with this machine before.
Quote from: pwatson
OK - Can you explain exactly what you're trying to achieve?

Yes. My old machine had a wifi card in it that was permanently in AP mode. I didn't need to login and run the software AP as the card went straight into AP mode and thus the machine could be headless and not only work as a wifi AP but also a router / firewall / webserver all in one. It was a great little setup. Unfortunately that machine is rather noisy and now we have this quiet one there is no way the old noisy one is getting used again. Our router is great but it doesn't cope with streaming for longer than a couple of hours.
Quote from: pwatson
  Presumably you want to connect this machine via wifi as you can't cable to it?  You also want the interface to act as an access point?

On the contrary, yes I can cable it. I just prefer to have a wifi AP built in which I can turn on/off, control access to (via firewall) and hopefully do away with the poxy router that let me down after 2.5 hours of iplayer streaming last week!
Quote from: pwatson
Wouldn't it be easier to buy a wifi range extender/AP and connect it via ethernet to the PC?

For the garden yes. For streaming to the Wii and various other things no. The setup I had previously was very flexible as it allowed us to do many things (plus with the help of some additional hardware a usb operated button could be used to turn it on and off thus saving unwanted EM radiation lol.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
VileReynard
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

You can (usually) put a 64 bit PCI card into a 32 bit PCI bit slot.
Not many PC's come with 64 bit PCI slots!

Community Veteran
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

We've established that its actually a PCIE x16 slot.
Looks like I'm out of luck. Why is it that wifi cards appear to have gone backwards? - Years ago it was easy to find a ralink 2500 based card and put it in AP mode. Mesh networks were formed based on these cards etc. For some stupid reason though, as the years have gone by and they've got better and faster they've dropped one of the features that was so popular and incredibly useful. It's madness.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
pwatson
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Re: Looking for a wifi PCI card..

What OS are you running on the PC?  The Windows 7 soft AP function has already been mentioned...   Asus have SoftAP on RT2500 based USB dongles for XP and Linux solutions are also available (e.g hostapd)