May 1, 2019
Hi all.
I need some help , i need to connect my pc to wifi but i have no space for pcie wifi adapters and i have a usb wifi adapter but his performance is very poor , i receive middle to strong wifi signal with the usb adapter.
The question is wich would be better a wifi extender and connect trought ethernet or a powerlink. The distance router-pc is approximately 9 meters with walls. The usb is connected trought a 3.0 port

USB Adapter link:
Powerline is usually much better. As long as there isn't an issue with the electrical wiring. Performance can be similar to a direct Ethernet connection. Even if not as fast latency is about the same.

WiFi extenders just repeat a signal. You place them about halfway between and they repeat the signal. As a signal will degrade on the way to the extender. It is repeating that degraded signal. Each time it hops an extender. There is a performance impact. Also extenders usually require using a different SSID. Forcing you to manually manage connections on mobile devices.

Powerline adapters also come in WiFi varieties. You get the benefit of a low latency signal over your powerline to the WiFi plug. Rather than repeating your WiFi. It acts as an Access Point. If you give that Access Point the exact same SSID, Network Key and Encryption type as your main router. Your devices will connect automatically to the strongest signal. These WiFi plugs also normally have Ethernet jacks. Allowing you to hardwire a stationary device (PC, TV, Game Console) and connect mobile devices wirelessly.

MoCA adapters are also an option. They use the COAX cables for TV instead of Powerline. As far as I can tell they are just as good but there aren't as many options. They aren't as likely to run into interference. But they can cause issues with some TV providers.

Mesh has much of the same problems as WiFi extenders. As they are repeating signals. They just cost a lot more and allow all mesh devices to use the same SSID. Something Apple's Airport did a long time ago.

My order of preference for mixed Wifi/Hardwire networks would be
  • Ethernet run to Access Points (or routers set to act as Access Points)
  • Powerline (or MoCA) Ethernet Adapters to Powerline WiFi access points or Powerline Ethernet to Powerline Ethernet to Access Point
  • Mesh
  • Range Extenders

The TP-Link WPA8630 V2 is quite good for WiFi + Powerline. They label it Range Extender but it is an Access Point. Careful on the selections as some are Powerline only.
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PC nics especially USB ones are extremely hard to compare. USB device are primarily designed for the portable market where size and battery life is important. Many times they will sacrifice performance for those options. The tiny units have tiny antenna and do not put out the full legal power but they almost completely hide in the USB slot making them easy to carry around.

Some USB device with external antenna put out more power but that alone is not proof. There is lots of direct ship from china garbage being sold on amazon etc that pretend they are "long range" but only put out 25% of the legal maximum power.

In general the best option are PCIE cards that have the ability to extend the antenna away from the back of the case with cables. These also tend to be the most expensive device. There are USB devices that do put out full power and have good antenna. I know the asus ones come out well in many reviews but they are also the most expensive.
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I never had much luck with powerline. I average about 80 Mbps, at best, on a house with copper wiring that was built in 2005. (This was with large video file transfers) I used powerline adapters as a last resort for the basement. This is not just me, but a common consensus among reviewers. The speed of the connection quickly drops with distance.

A better option is to grab a cheap 2nd router, and put it into bridge mode. Bridge mode is like AP in reverse. So the data propagation would look like this

modem <--> router wan<---> router wifi <---> Bridge Wifi <---> Bridge LAN <---> Computer Ethernet

As you aren't repeating the wifi signal, the lag time is reduced compared to wifi range extenders.
Thanks for you good and detailed response. I will go for the:

Another thing , is usb adapter another posible solution for day to day basics? i see that my usb adapter is cheap and are others usb with external antennas

The reason I listed the more expensive TP-Link. They are the only ones I know of which use 2x2 MIMO to communicate over the Powerline. Which gives them a huge boost in range, robustness and speed. While cheaper units work. Real world performance is far more limited.

I've installed quite a few of these. Those big ones are the only ones I recommend. The AV1200, 1300 and 2000. Not the square edge AV1000. I haven't tried the AV1000 but found no mention of MIMO.

The decent USB adapters are generally the ones with triple external antennae. From a good brand like ASUS. Removable antennae are better. As mentioned so are PCIe cards with antennae leads.
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