What Is an Internal Wireless Card?


When you purchase a computer, you have the option of purchasing a desktop or a laptop. Once you bring the computer home, you can either hook the computer to the Internet via a wired connection or a wireless connection. If you choose the wired connection, you plug your network cable into the desktop or laptop and then plug the other end into either a router or a high speed modem. If you choose a wireless connection and you have one available, your computer will be relying on an internal wireless card when you choose the appropriate connection and begin to browse the Internet.


  • An internal wireless card is simply a small pocket-sized piece of hardware that plugs into the motherboard of your laptop. Depending on the make and model of your internal wireless card, it will pick up the following signals: 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11.n. Please check the included documentation to see what types of wireless signals your internal wireless card connects with.


  • When you purchase a laptop today, an internal wireless card is already installed. Depending on the make and model of the laptop that you purchase, an internal wireless card will be either underneath the keyboard of your laptop or beneath your laptop. If you remove the keyboard, you will see the internal wireless card. It also has a small antenna attached to it to help pick up a wireless signal.

    When you purchase a desktop computer, it rarely comes with an internal wireless card. Most people typically hard-wire a desktop computer or purchase a USB wireless card that you simply plug into an empty USB slot. If you want an internal wireless card for your desktop, simply purchase one and then open your computer and look for an empty slot. The internal wireless card will plug into that empty slot which is typically a PCI slot. Once you close the computer and install the software, your internal desktop wireless card will be available for use.


  • Wireless computing unlocks you from a wired connection. If you configure a Wireless LAN, you have the ability to move around your coverage area freely. If you are at a coffee shop or the airport, you have the ability to purchase a connection and browse the Internet. Basically, with an internal wireless card, you have the ability to get on the Internet wherever a connection is available. For example, you can now check email and obtain Internet access while flying on AirTran airplanes at 10,000 feet.

Connecting to the Internet

  • With an internal wireless card, your computer will automatically find wireless connections in your coverage zone. Once found, click the connection. It may require a password for authentication, or if it is an open, free connection, you will just connect to the Internet.

Upgrading an Internal Wireless Card

  • If you have an older model laptop, you can go online and purchase a new internal wireless card that takes advantage of newer wireless protocols such as 802.11n. Many websites sell internal wireless cards. Before purchasing one, please contact your computer manufacturer to see what type of internal wireless card your laptop requires.

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  • Photo Credit Internal wireless card:Dell.com
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