Desktop motherboards that are WiFi enabled are usually sought by gamers and professional streamers. Although they don’t prioritize the WiFi connectivity, you can get the wireless connection only in gaming motherboards.
But do such motherboards require an antenna to fulfill their purpose? Let us understand the need and the role of an antenna in a WiFi Motherboard.
Does the motherboard WiFi need an antenna?
WiFi needs an antenna for better performance. As of its working, it doesn’t require an antenna. But you will have very poor speed while browsing because of the absence of an antenna. Almost all motherboards with in-built WiFi come with an antenna. But usually, they get placed inside the case and you are likely to have poor reception.
Therefore, a WiFi motherboard requires an antenna for better reception and connectivity. But is it worth the money to buy a WiFi motherboard? Let us look into the reality of WiFi motherboards and their actual use case.
The reality of Using WiFi Motherboards
WiFi motherboards have certain advantages and we shall discuss them later. Now, it is important for us to know whether they serve the purpose. Having built-in WiFi is good. But it is not efficient as a wired Ethernet connection.
The ping time in an Ethernet connection is way faster than any WiFi connection. So, many users prefer Ethernet over WiFi for their desktops or any computer in that case.
Another major issue with WiFi motherboards is they might not be compatible with the home network and you may have very low speeds. Certainly, you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars and get low-speed internet connectivity.
Most of the WiFi motherboards have antennas that occupy inside the PC case itself. This will also cause reception issues and loss of speed.
Even if you install an external antenna or extend the current one, you will have the same speed you get with your laptop or tablet. Most of us expect blazing-fast connectivity on desktops which isn’t possible with WiFi.
The next important issue with WiFi boards is the lack of upgradability. You cannot upgrade the card to support higher speeds. Also, you cannot remove the card easily because most of them are soldered onto the board.
When the WiFi card becomes faulty you cannot simply remove it and change it. You have to de-solder it. But when you do that, you will also remove the Bluetooth adapter along with it. So, replacing or upgrading the card is not easy and comes with various difficulties.
All motherboard manufacturers provide in-built WiFi in their premium models and this makes the overall cost of PC build higher.
While the WiFi doesn’t have game-changing benefits, you can simply go with a normal board and install a PCIe card or a USB WiFi adapter.
Alternate for In-Built WiFi for PCs
Instead of buying a WiFi motherboard, you can go with a PCIe card that gives you wireless connectivity with the same or higher speed and doesn’t cost you a lot. But it will cost a PCIe slot and you cannot use it to expand your storage or memory.
Another easy option is that you can use a WiFi USB card that can be inserted into your USB slot. Although it doesn’t provide speeds like the PCIe card, it is a good option for those who require the PCIe slot for other purposes.
The USB adapters cost very less than PCIe cards and since they are placed outside, you can have good reception too.
Therefore, using WiFi motherboards does not give a greater advantage. Still, it does have some advantages for certain users and uses cases.
Benefits of using an antenna for motherboard WiFi
- Better Reception – When there is an antenna with your WiFi adapter, you can receive and send signals better. You will have seamless connectivity despite your location.
- Long Range – An antenna can easily cover a large area and receive signals even from a remote router. Therefore, you can place your desktop anywhere in the house or your office and get good connectivity.
- Better Speed – Without an antenna, you will likely have a poor connection, thus getting very low speeds. With a proper antenna, you can have high speed and better connectivity.
These are the benefits of using an antenna for your motherboard with built-in WiFi. Having an extended antenna is more beneficial and provides better connectivity.
How powerful is motherboard WiFi?
You can get WiFi motherboards with the latest WiFi 6 configuration and it is quite powerful not in terms of providing higher speeds, but in terms of better reception and connectivity.
Like a traditional router, the WiFi onboard can provide good connectivity to the internet with the average download speeds in your particular area. Some motherboards even have dual-band WiFi which has higher reception.
Who prefers to use motherboard WiFi with an antenna?
Those who really don’t have the ability to get a wired Ethernet connection will go for WiFi boards so that they can have an instant connection to the internet as soon as they set up their PC.
Also, you can see gamers getting WiFi boards not because it has wireless connectivity, but rather because the motherboard has high specifications and a faster Bluetooth connection.
So, in reality, only a few people prefer the usage of WiFi boards.
It is not disadvantageous to have a WiFi motherboard. They provide higher specs, and good connectivity, and enable you to place the PC anywhere around the house.
Using it with an antenna is much better and gives proper connectivity. Therefore, if you want to connect to the internet wirelessly, then go for WiFi motherboards with a good-sized antenna.