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Question How to replace ethernet adapter with wireless adapter?

Jun 24, 2020
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My daughter lives in rural Wyoming. Before moving there, she had a tower computer built for her that she uses for her voice artist freelance work. The computer does not have a wifi adapter, but does have an ethernet card. She's tried a Netgear Nighthawk A7000 USB adapter, but it frequently disconnects and sometimes won't connect to her wifi network at all. We've spent hours on the phone updating drivers and trying different things, but it doesn't improve.

She's thinking about installing a pci-e wifi adapter, but it appears she doesn't have any open slots. (She ran the HWINFO app and sent me its report.) Can she just remove the ethernet card and replace it with a wifi adapter? Does any software or driver need to be uninstalled? Does something need to change in the BIOS? I know just enough to really screw things up...

Her configuration is:

Motherboard: MSI B150 PC MATE (MS-7971)
Chipset: Intel B150 (Skylake PCH-H)
BIOS date: 7/27/2016. BIOS version: C.80
Power supply: EVGA 500 watt Quiet PS
OS: Windows 10 Home (64 bit), Build 18363.900 (1909/November 2019 Update). UEFI Boot.
Motherboard Slots: 1xPCI, 5xPCI Express x1, 1xPCI Express x16
PCI Express Version Supported: v3.0
USB Version Supported: v3.0
Ethernet Adapter: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
ISP: It's wireless that's transmitted from a mountaintop to a small dish on the side of their house.
Router: Linksys EA6350

Thanks!
 
Before you buy something else try a USB extension cable. Many times the problem is the signal is being blocked by the case or something else in the room. Moving the adapter around may help.

The USB adapter you have is one of the highest rated USB adapters. The PCI card may not be better if the problem is the walls between the router and the pc are absorbing the signals.

I would be sure to try the 2.4g and 5g radios on your router maybe one works better.
 
Reactions: Shreveman
Jun 24, 2020
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Before you buy something else try a USB extension cable. Many times the problem is the signal is being blocked by the case or something else in the room. Moving the adapter around may help.

The USB adapter you have is one of the highest rated USB adapters. The PCI card may not be better if the problem is the walls between the router and the pc are absorbing the signals.

I would be sure to try the 2.4g and 5g radios on your router maybe one works better.
She's going to give that a try. She also thinks that her Netgear adapter worked erratically after her computer woke up from its sleep state. She turned off the sleep mode and seems to be having good luck with the Netgear. We'll wait a few more days and see if it remains stable. Thanks!
 
Jun 24, 2020
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I doubt she has all her PCIe x1 slots used up.

She just needs a PCIe x1 card like this to install - https://www.newegg.com/asus-pce-ac55bt-b1-pci-express/p/N82E16833320333

Also, the ethernet connection is built into the motherboard, it can't be (nor needs to be) removed.
You were correct -- she sent me a picture of her motherboard, and there were some open PCIe slots. Th HWINFO app said they were all "in use", but apparently that doesn't mean there were cards installed in all of them.

I haven't seen the inside of a desktop computer in quite some time. I didn't realize the ethernet connection was built in to the motherboard. Thanks for the tip!
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
That is a good adapter as bill001g said, I own 3 of a similar model, the biggest issue seems to be this for a stable connection: "ISP: It's wireless that's transmitted from a mountaintop to a small dish on the side of their house. " That is bound to have interference and dropped connections at times.

I suggest shutting off the system overnight not just putting it to sleep, and if you have issues, a reboot is the first thing to try.
 

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