How to Add WiFi to a Desktop – The Easy Way

Unlike laptops, most desktop PCs can’t connect to a Wi-Fi network. This is because laptops come with an integrated Wi-Fi receiver which is lacking in most PCs.

This is because laptops are designed for portability, whereas, a desktop computer will just sit on your desk. Therefore it makes sense why most desktops don’t support wireless connection.

But with that being said, your desktop PC might be located in a particular area of your house where dragging the cables might not be the most convenient task. Furthermore, you might not be a fan of having too many wires congesting around your desktop computer.

As such, having your desktop connect to a wireless network can make things a whole not easier. Keeping this in mind, we have put together a detailed in-depth read to help you add wifi to your desktop PC.

So without further ado, let’s get started:

Use a USB WiFi Adapter

Using a USB wifi adapter is by far one of the most convenient and inexpensive solutions to get your desktop PC connected to a wireless network. This works similar to how you plug in a Bluetooth dongle into the USB port and get Bluetooth functionalities on your old desktop.

All you have to do is insert it into one of your spare USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 ports and voila – your desktop can now connect to your wireless network.

Furthermore, this little device is super cheap and easily available. You can go on Amazon, and find dozens of wi-fi adapters from as low as $5 to around $20. However, we would recommend that you don’t go for the cheap ones as they can delivering spotty connections with slow speeds and can sometimes disconnect

Here are a few buying tips for Wifi adapters:

  • First of all, make sure that the wireless adapter is rated for speeds your router can support.
  • Also, check the rating and reviews and see if there are complaints of disconnectivity and slow net speeds.

Install an Internal PCIe Wi-Fi Adapter

Installing a PCIe Wi-Fi adapter is a bit more complicated than simply plugging in a USB wi-fi adapter.

But that being said, it does offer better long-distance wireless connection, better stability, and better throughput. Also, since it gets installed inside your computer, you don’t have to give up a USB port.

Now, to add a PCIe Wi-Fi adapter to your computer, you will need to open up your PC, and then insert/install the device on a PCI Express slot, or PCI Express Mini slot, whichever you have on your motherboard.

As such, it goes without saying that if your motherboard doesn’t have any spare slots left, or if the motherboard configuration is too congested, then you can’t install the PCIe Wi-Fi adapter.

This is why it is absolutely important that you first check whether you have room to install the device, before ordering it. In terms of pricing, it is slightly more expensive than USB wifi adapters and will cost you anywhere between $15 to $35 on Amazon.

Here too we recommend that you check the reviews and ratings before buying to make sure it works flawlessly with your wireless network.

Upgrade to a WiFi-Enabled Motherboard

This is by far the most expensive solution on how to add wifi to your computer, but it is also the most reliable and stable alternative.

This option mostly makes sense if you are upgrading your PC, to just get a Wifi-enabled motherboard in case you are planning to connect to a wireless network.

This solution leaves all your USB ports intact, and you don’t have to worry about having any spare PCI Express slots, or enough room on your motherboard.

A Wifi-enabled motherboard typically comes with a Wifi antenna built-in. But, you can also find models that come with external antennas.

You are free to place these antennas anywhere on your desk, and not have them poking out from the back of your PC. This gives you a lot of flexibility to position the antennas such that you get the full signal from your wireless network.

Wrapping Up

So this was our quick guide on how to add wifi to your desktop PC. We hope you found the read to be useful and that it helped you in connecting to your wireless network.

Following the guide, if you are looking for a quick fix, then going with a USB wifi adapter is by far the best option. It is cheap, easy to implement – just plug into your USB port, and it gives you an instant connection with your wifi network.

However, if you have a lot of peripherals and don’t have a spare USB port, then going with the PCIe Wi-Fi adapter makes the most sense. However, you do have to open your PC, and you also need to have a spare PCIe slot and enough space on your motherboard for the device to fit.

In most cases, users would either choose a USB wi-fi adapter or a PCIe wi-fi adapter. However, if you are planning to upgrade your PC soon, then we highly recommend that you consider getting a wifi-enabled motherboard for the best experience.