USB WiFi Question


  1. Posts : 1
    Windows 10
       #1

    USB WiFi Question


    If a computer has a built in WiFi card and with Windows 10, can I still use a USB WiFi.
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  2. dmholt57's Avatar
    Posts : 14,551
    19042.867 Pro
       #2

    Yes
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  3. Lance1's Avatar
    Posts : 653
    Windows 10 Professional x64 20H2
       #3

    Yes you can. But make sure Its a 802.11ac USB WIFI Dongle.

    What is 802.11ac, and Do I Need It?
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  4. Try3's Avatar
    Posts : 7,380
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 20H2 Build 19042.868
       #4

    Yes but Windows will only use one of them [the fastest]. There is no method of using them in parallel.

    If, as I suspect, the internal one is slower then you might also wish to look in the bios for a setting to disable it completely.

    If you are going to spend money then make sure you get one that can use 5.8GHz not just "5GHz" / "5.0GHz" because 5.8GHz is becoming more common. I fell foul of that - my new 'Wireless ISP' internet connection is 5.8GHz and one computer's "5GHz" WiFi card could not see it so I had to buy a new one.
    - My 'Wireless ISP' router {"WISP router"} cannot see the new 5.8GHz network either.

    In the light of what was posted below, I offer this "clarification" -

    The 802.11ac standard is currently the fastest widely available standard. 802.11ax exists as a standard but I do not know if it is already being used or not.
    - The 802.11ac standard includes the 5GHz / 5.0GHz band [typically 802.11ac channels 36-44] and the 5.8GHz band [typically 802.11ac channels 147-163].
    - Much 802.11ac equipment only works with the 5GHz / 5.0GHz band
    - Not all 802.11ac equipment includes the 5.8GHz band.
    - If you want to future-proof your purchases as much as possible then always look out for a specific reference to 5.8GHz or channels 147-163.
    - If you want to ensure compatibility of new & existing equipent then you can use a tool such as NirSoft's WiFiInfoView to check the channels broadcast by routers etc - the results include which channels they are capable of broadcasting not just which ones they happen to be using at the time.
    - There is detailed information in List of WLAN channels - Wikipedia
    - To add to the potential for confusion, WiFi standards are going to be renamed. 802.11ac will become "WiFi 5" and 802.11ax will become "WiFi 6". This is discussed in What Is Wi-Fi 6 New Wi-Fi Names Explained - PCMag UK

    International uptake is not uniform. I checked before buying a new "WISP" router and discovered that the TP-Link [802.11ac] AC750 Dual Band Wi-Fi Travel Router sold in the USA can work with a 'Wireless ISP' in the 5.8GHz band but the same model sold in Europe only works with the 5.0GHz band. I mention this router merely because it is the only one for which I have been able to get an explicit statement of WISP 5.8GHz band capability.

    Denis
    Last edited by Try3; 18 Mar 2020 at 12:00.
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  5. Posts : 1,951
    Windows 10
       #5

    Yes you can use a USB WiFi dongle, no need to go in the BIOS/UEFI.

    Just go to Settings to enable/disable which ever Wireless Device or indeed Ethernet card you don't want.

    Settings > Network & Internet > Change adapter options > Right click on the devices and choose accordingly.

    If more than one are enabled Windows just chooses the best connection.
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  6. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 10,477
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #6

    I've found that with the one Notebook I have with the 802.11ac adapter I don't get the ac speed on it because my Router only supports 802.11a/b/g/n, will eventually need to get a new 802.11a/b/g/n/ac model. In shopping for a USB Wireless/Wi-Fi dongle for a client I didn't come across many that were 802.11ac, nearly all were 802.11n.
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  7. Posts : 356
    Windows 10
       #7

    The adapters with internal antennas are smaller and work well when the signal is strong, but those with external antennas are better when the signal is weak.

    USB
    WiFi Adapter 600Mbps EDUP 802.11AC Dual Band 2.4G/5G Wireless Network Adapter USB Wi-Fi Dongle with 2DBI Antenna Support Windows XP Win Vista Win 7 Win 8.1 Win 10 Mac OS X 10.7-10.14
    Last edited by Anibor; 18 Mar 2020 at 09:54.
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  8. Try3's Avatar
    Posts : 7,380
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 20H2 Build 19042.868
       #8

    Berton said:
    I've found that with the one Notebook I have with the 802.11ac adapter I don't get the ac speed on it because my Router only supports 802.11a/b/g/n, will eventually need to get a new 802.11a/b/g/n/ac model. In shopping for a USB Wireless/Wi-Fi dongle for a client I didn't come across many that were 802.11ac, nearly all were 802.11n.
    Thanks for this post. It prompted me to add to my post #4 about the evolution of WiFi 802.11ac standards. The situation is very complicated at the moment because of the lack of clarity about which 802.11ac channels are covered by different WiFi equipment.

    All the best,
    Denis
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  9. Posts : 337
    Microsoft Windows 10 Professional (x64) Build 18363.900 (1909/November 2019 Update)
       #9

    Try3 said:
    - If you want to ensure compatibility of new & existing equipent then you can use a tool such as NirSoft's WiFiInfoView
    I decided to try setting up wi-fi on my desktop in preparation for possible hot spot tethering with my phone. I've got this ancient "2wire 802.11g usb wireless adapter model us-g-at-02" from my old Win 98. It didn't want to connect at first. My computer recognized it, said it was disconnected, but after about an hour after, for some reason, I went back and the wifi was up and running. It's working ok, but I'm probabbly not expecting great perfornmance out of it

    I ran WiFiInfoView, but I don't know how to interpret it. What do you need to interpret to determine my signal strength and modem capabilities.

    Anibor said:
    The adapters with internal antennas are smaller and work well when the signal is strong, but those with external antennas are better when the signal is weak.
    USB
    WiFi Adapter 600Mbps EDUP 802.11AC Dual Band 2.4G/5G Wireless Network Adapter USB Wi-Fi Dongle with 2DBI Antenna Support Windows XP Win Vista Win 7 Win 8.1 Win 10 Mac OS X 10.7-10.14
    That looks good, but not available for a month. Anything else to suggest? Preferred brand?
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  10. Try3's Avatar
    Posts : 7,380
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 20H2 Build 19042.868
       #10

    kitpzyxmsir said:
    I ran WiFiInfoView, but I don't know how to interpret it. What do you need to interpret to determine my signal strength and modem capabilities.
    Try3 said:
    - If you want to ensure compatibility of new & existing equipent then you can use a tool such as NirSoft's WiFiInfoView to check the channels broadcast by routers etc - the results include which channels they are capable of broadcasting not just which ones they happen to be using at the time.
    WiFiInfoView provides information about the network being broadcast not about the reception equipment. So you could use it to find out about your phone's WiFi Hotspot [which is likely to be inadequately documented].
    The network name is in the column SSID.
    The strength of the transmitting equipment's signal is in the columns Signal quality & Average signal quality.
    The 802.11 standard is shown in the column 802.11 Standards.
    The Channel range & Channel width are in those named columns.
    If you want information about the reception equipment then you'll have to consult its own documentation.

    Denis
    Last edited by Try3; 19 Mar 2020 at 23:47.
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