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


Wireless provides the simplicity of cable-free connectivity to the Internet, home or office local network, as well as to other wireless electronic devices such as printers, storage, wireless peripherals, and other computers on the network. Dell offers options for wireless connectivity whether you require a basic connection or the next generation in Wi-Fi access.


For wireless access, you'll need:
  • Broadband Internet access like DSL or cable (not dial-up)
  • A wireless router to connect to your cable or DSL modem
  • An internal wireless card or USB adapter for your desktop

Wireless Terminology
  • Single Band (2.4 GHz)
    • Single band supports only the 2.4GHz band
    • Lots of wireless devices (phones, computers, appliances, etc) use this band – therefore, it’s very “congested” or “noisey” and can inhibit performance
  • Dual Band (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz)
    • Dual band supports both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band
    • 5GHz band is much less congested, therefore providing a better wireless experience especially for things like wireless display (WiDi / Miracast)
    • There are more & wider channels in the 5GHz band compared to 2.4GHz
  • Antenna Configurations
    • 1x1 = 1 send antenna and 1 receive antenna (150Mbps throughput for 802.11n / 433Mbps for 802.11ac)
    • 2x2 = 2 send antennas and 2 receive antennas (300Mbps throughput for 802.11n / 866Mbps for 802.11ac)
    • 3x3 = 3 send antennas and 3 receive antennas (450Mbps throughput for 802.11n / 1.3Gbps for 802.11ac)

Wireless Standards
  • Current generation of standards are 802.11n , 802.11ac and WiGig
  • Tri-band WiFi combines 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 60GHz into a single module. The third WiFi band over 60GHz is called WiGig which provides up to 4.6Gbps up to 10 meters away (near range)
  • WiGig is currently used for docking station applications which provides the ability to connect to a WiGig based docking station that enables connectivity to Ethernet, USB, HDMI, Display Port, or VGA port
802.11AC Features802.11AC Benefits
Gigabit Speeds3x the speed of 802.11n
Better RangeWhole home coverage with fewer dead spots
More ReliableIdeal for media streaming
Ideal for mobileMore WiFi bandwidth for your mobile devices
CompatibilityBackward compatible with 802.11a and n at 5GHz band

Wireless Performance Comparison
Antenna Configuration802.11n802.11ac
Single stream (1x1)150Mbps433Mbps
Dual stream (2x2)300Mbps866Mbps
Three stream (3x3)450Mbps1.3Gbps
The system you are configuring may or may not include all of the options listed here

If you want...Choose...
A basic Wi-Fi connection to an 802.11 b/g/n wireless network (2.4 GHz).Dell Wireless™ 1801 802.11n 1x1 Single Band Wi-Fi + BT 4.0 LE M.
A Wi-Fi wireless network supporting dual-band (2.4 and 5GHz) operations that supports 802.11A, 802.11AC, 802.11G and/or 802.11N standards.Dell Wireless™ 1802 802.11n 2x2 Dual Band Wi-Fi + BT 4.0 LE M.2
Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 802.11AC 1x1 Wi-Fi + BT 4.0 LE M.2
Dell Wireless™ 1820 802.11AC 2x2 Dual Band High Speed Wi-Fi + BT 4.1 LE M.2 (support MU-MIMO)
Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 802.11AC 2x2 Wi-Fi + BT 4.1 LE M.2
A wireless card that supports WiGig docking stations with three bands (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 60 GHz)Intel® Tri Band Wireless-AC 18260 (Douglas Peak) WiGig + 802.11AC 2x2 Wi-Fi + BT 4.1 LE M.2