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Do Desktop Computers Have WiFi?

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Connectivity is very vital for any desktop computer, especially in an office setting. While you can use a wired connection for a stationary PC, a Wi-Fi connection is more convenient.

However, to connect to a Wi-Fi, your desktop computer should have a Wi-Fi adapter. This guide will show you how to check if your PC supports Wi-Fi and how to painlessly set it up.

Do Desktop Computers Have Wifi?

Yes, most desktop computers have WiFi. However, some older models do not have WiFi adapters, which means they do not support this kind of connectivity. To connect a desktop computer to a wireless connection, you can either use a USB WiFi adapter, install a dedicated WiFi card, or buy a motherboard with inbuilt WiFi support.

Before we can go through each of these options, let’s first see how you can check if your desktop computer supports WiFi.

Man wondering if his desktop computer has wiFi

How to Check if Your PC Supports WiFi

Follow the steps below to check if your desktop computer supports WiFi connectivity.

  1. Click Start and choose the Control Panel option
  2. Click on Network and Internet and choose Network and Sharing Center
  3. Click Change Adapter Settings
  4. If you see Wireless Network Connection under available connections, it means that the computer supports WiFi connections.

In case Wireless Network Connection is not listed, there is another way to check if the PC is WiFi-compatible.

  1. Go back to the Control Panel and then Click Hardware and Sound
  2. Under Devices and Printers, click on Device Manager
  3. Double click on Network Adapters
  4. If you find an adapter with the name WLAN, Wireless, or WiFi, it means the computer supports wireless connectivity
  5. However, if only the local area network or Ethernet is listed, the computer does not support WiFi

If your computer does not support WiFi, read ahead to discover the different ways you can connect it.

How to Connect a Desktop Computer to WiFi

There are three common ways to make a desktop computer WiFi-compatible. These include:

A white iMac desktop with a wireless keyboard, mouse, and an opened book with a mobile phone beside it

Using USB wifi adapters

This is the simplest way to connect your desktop computer to WiFi. All you have to do is plug the USB into the computer and maybe install some drivers. As long as the USB adapter does not get rejected or is not recognized by the OS, you can plug it into any functional USB port and your computer will be ready for wireless connections.  

While this is the simplest way to set up WiFi in your desktop computer, it comes with a lot of downsides. For instance, when the computer goes into sleep mode, it will automatically disconnect and go offline. To prevent this, you might have to tweak some Windows settings or even get into the motherboard’s BIOS to find a solution.

Alternatively, you can entirely disable sleep mode and have your computer up and running all the time. Although this is not the worst idea, it is not often recommended.  There is also the possibility of buying a bogus USB adapter especially if you are shopping online. 

Check to see that it has speeds that your router can support. You should also shy away from cheap USB WiFi adapters if you are looking for uncompromised connectivity.

Otherwise, you mostly depend on WiFi connections, we recommend you invest in a PCIe adapter.

Using  PCIe WiFi Adapters

If you are looking for stable connections, we would recommend PCIe over USB WiFi adapters. Based on our experience, we find that PCIe WiFi adapters parallel built-in WiFi chips in terms of connectivity. They can connect over long distances and keep you online even when the system goes into sleep mode.

Woman looking at her keyboard while using her desktop at her office

PCIe WiFi adapters have a few minor compromises which can be ignored if you are not looking for a perfect connection. First, they are more expensive than USB adapters and might not be a good option for people on a budget.

Secondly, you need to install them into the system before you can start using them. While this might not be a problem for someone who has done it before, newbies might have problems.

You might also not have a slot to install the PCIe adapter if your motherboard comes with a small form factor or you have installed too many hardware into available slots. If this is the case and you cannot do without any of the hardware, you will have to consider using the less appealing USB adapter.

Using a WiFi-enabled Motherboard

The best option if you know you can’t do without WiFi is to future-proof your desktop computer by getting a motherboard with built-in WiFi capabilities. This is the best route to take if you don’t want the many compromises of USB adapters or don’t have enough space to install a PCIe adapter.  

Conclusion

Adding WiFi to your desktop computer is not rocket science. As long as you have a modern model that supports wireless connectivity, you will be up and running in no time. The most common ways to set up WiFi in your computer include using a USB WiFi adapter, installing a PCI Express slot, or buying a motherboard with built-in WiFi capabilities.

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing as a guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets on FancyAppliance.com.