Help Me Choose: Wireless

• An internal wireless card is a small piece of hardware about the size of a credit card that plugs into your computer’s motherboard.
• It enables your computer to find wireless connections in your coverage area — such as internet hotspots and home or office local networks as well as wireless devices — and connect to them without a cable.
• The speed and range at which your computer can transmit and receive data is based on the wireless standard of your wireless card and the router your computer connects to.


802.11ac (Gigabit WiFi) is the next-generation wireless standard. With improved range and up to 3x the speed of existing 802.11n networks supporting dual-band operation, this card is great for streaming HD media and fast data transfer.

  • Next-generation wireless standard (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) label it as a draft state, so there will likely be improvements to it in the future.)
  • (see previous comment) Improves speed (up to 3x), reliability, quality and range over the current 802.11n wireless standard 
  • Only uses the 5GHz band, which is less prone to interference
  • Peak data rates from 433 Mbps to 1.3 Gbps* when used with 802.11ac routers
  • Compatible with 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g and 802.11n wireless networks
  • The following wireless cards support 802.11ac
    • Dell Wireless 1550 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0 Dual-Band 2x2 WiFi Half Mini Card
    • Intel 7260AC 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0 Dual-Band 2x2 Half Mini Card

802.11n (Wireless-N) is the current wireless standard.

  • Current wireless standard.
  • Transmits and receives multiple simultaneous data streams (MIMO technology) to go far beyond the single-stream capabilities of 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g
  • Peak data rates from 150 Mbps to 450 Mbps* when used with Wireless-N routers
  • Compatible with 802.11b, 802.11a and 802.11g wireless networks.
  • The following wireless cards are WiFi Alliance 802.11n certified:
    • Dell Wireless 1506 802.11n Single-Band (2.4GHz) WiFi Half Mini Card
    • Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6235 802.11n + Bluetooth® 4.0 Dual-Band (2.4GHz/5GHz) 2x2 Half Mini Card
    • Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0 Dual-Band (2.4GHz/5GHz) 3x3 Half Mini Card
Note: Wireless access is subject to wireless provider’s broadband subscription and coverage area. Additional charges may apply.