Confused over PCI or USB wireless adaptor

  Colin 20:48 09 Apr 2006

I have moved this thread click here from consumerwatch as I think the networking section is more appropriate. BT do not recommend using a USB ADSL modem to achieve the higher speeds with their new 8MB connection. They recommend a wireless ADSL Modem/Router. However, BT only sell USB wireless adapters with their wireless networking kits. Is this a contradiction as if a USB ADSL modem is not recommended how can they only sell USB adaptors?

  keewaa 22:15 09 Apr 2006

USB wireless adapters are not concerned with the adsl signal coming down the telephone line, but only the wireless communication to the wireless router. Therefore it is not a contradiction. USB modems are cheap and the PC has to do more work compared to ethernet.

  ade.h 22:38 09 Apr 2006

I think BT is a little bit foolish to sell only USB adapters when the other formats tend to be more reliable and effective, particularly given that much of BT's customer base is unlikely to be well aquainted with networks. What appears to be the most convenient interface to install can in fact be more difficult to use efficiently.

  Colin 23:33 09 Apr 2006

Thanks for the replies. Am I right in thinking that a USB adapter is just as good as a PCI adapter? The USB adapters must be easier to set up. However, I'll wait until my 8MB connection is up and running and see how my USB modem copes before committing to an upgrade.

  keewaa 23:50 09 Apr 2006

As ade.h says PCI tends to suffer less problems, and may allow antenna addition for poorer signals, however some people find USB adapters work fine. Can only say generally but not for individual cases.

  mgmcc 08:55 10 Apr 2006

<<< However, I'll wait until my 8MB connection is up and running and see how my USB modem copes before committing to an upgrade. >>>

I suspect what is actually behind this is the fact that USB modems are almost certainly USB 1.1 which supports a (theoretical maximum) data transfer speed of 12Mbps. An 8Mbps ADSL service is getting too close to the USB 1.1 speed and so it becomes necessary to move to a Modem/Router to overcome the USB speed limitations.

As regards Wireless Network Adapters, I personally favour a USB WiFi adapter simply because I can move it between desktops, laptops & MacMini. I have never had a problem with it (Belkin 802.11g) but I know that others do advocate using a PCI card for a desktop PC. However, you come back to the need to use a USB one with a USB 2.0 port to avoid the 12Mbps limitation of USB 1.1

  Colin 12:21 10 Apr 2006

Thanks, keewaa & mgmcc.

mgmcc - I think you've hit the nail on the head. I've just checked the specs for my Zoom 5510 ADSL USB modem and it is only USB 1.1. I'll now probably by the Linksys WAG354G ADSL2 Modem Router with a USB adapter. However, I would be intertested in other suggestions. This will give me a little job to do over Easter!

  mgmcc 20:46 10 Apr 2006

PC World have an Easter Special offer on at the moment - Linksys Router and USB WiFi Adapter, both with "Speedboost". The Cable Router bundle was £50 and, from memory, the ADSL version with built-in modem was about £15 more. Might be worth a look.

  Colin 08:46 11 Apr 2006

Thanks, mgmcc. I'll have at look at that.

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