Networking – Add WiFi ability to old computer

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This might be a really newbie questions but I have an old Windows 7 computer, that is connected to the internet with an ethernet cable–the computer network card does not have WiFi connection ability. So im looking for something that could add the WiFi ability to that computer–so basically be able to connect this computer to the internet/a router/hotspot wirelessly. Ive seen these things called USB WiFi adapter wich are very tiny USB connector that connect into USB ports, however im not quite sure if it does what im trying to do(I dont want to "share" my computer internet connection wirelessly,I just want to connect wirelessly my computer to the internet using WiFi connection. Plus, these devices can be found at really cheap prices like 5$ so I have some doubt on if it does what im looking for). Is this possible using a USB device and wich kind of device I should be looking for?

Thank you!

Best Answer

Yes, an USB Wifi adapter is exactly made for this purpose. It adds wifi capability to a device that does not have one.

For example, you can use it to add wifi to a desktop pc, or add 5Ghz support to an old laptop that only has 2.4Ghz Wifi.

It is also possible to share your internet connection, but not both at the same time. Eg: you cannot use wifi to connect to the network, and also share from that same wifi adapter. So you can't repeat the signal.

Although your question specifies you are wondering about USB Wifi adapters, its not the only option. There are also PCI and PCI-Express versions of these adapters. But they do require you to open up your computer, and you do need to have a free PCI or PCI-Express slot for this to work.

Usually, if you bring your computer to the computer shop, they are more than happy to help you install the card there in the shop if you decide to buy it, given that such install is taking minutes, unless of course you visit the shop at busy hours, in which case they may ask you to come back later when its quieter.