Is a Wi-Fi Adapter Necessary?
A USB Wi-Fi adapter is a device that allows you to connect to the internet using Wi-Fi by connecting to a router and translating the signal. Without a Wi-Fi adapter, you cannot connect to the internet using Wi-Fi. This USB device is commonly referred to as a dongle.
Most PC’s do not come with a built-in wireless adapter which means that you will need to buy one. The device is not all that costly but it is however recommended to pay a little more for a quality adapter that provides you with sufficient data loading speeds. Sufficient speed is dependent on your personal data and internet usage requirements.
On the other hand, most laptops do have built-in Wi-Fi adapters that provide more than sufficient loading speeds. Unless the adpater in your laptop malfunctions or you find that it is insufficient, you should not require a Wi-Fi adapter. Keep in mind that if the internal adapter is broken, your laptop will not be able to connect to any Wi-Fi anywhere.
An external USB Wi-Fi adapter is designed to go where you go and provide you with internet access no matter where you are. In fact, the little device is also designed to provide you with mobile data if necessary. It works much the same way as most of your mobile devices such as your smartphone or tablet where a carrier will provide you with a data contract plan, prepaid or other means of providing internet connectivity while you are on the move.
Although it is possible to use the Dongle while traveling abroad, it is nor always advisable to do so until you have contacted your carrier. It may be cheaper to buy a data card in the country that you are visiting in order to ensure that you can connect to the internet as and when needed. But keep in mind, these adapters are meant for different things. If you’re a serious gamer, you’ll need a much faster dongle. You can check out this post that goes over the best wireless adapter for gaming as these are different and you need even faster specs for gaming adapters.
Alternatively, you can have the internal adapter repaired or replaced by a qualified technician. Keep in mind that your laptop may still be under warranty before buying an adapter as you may get it repaired or replaced at no additional cost to you.
There are of course other options available to connect to Wi-Fi without buying an external adapter. For a PC, you can replace the mother board with one that already has an adapter integrated. However, this can be a rather costly option and it isn’t recommended unless you are upgrading the motherboard for other reasons where the cost of including built-in Wi-Fi will be minimal.
Be aware that if you are buying an adapter for home use to ensure that it is compatible with your router. You can buy the best adapter available and will only be as good as the router that it is translating a signal from.
In essence, you don’t really need a Wi-Fi adapter unless you have a PC or laptop that does not have an internal adapter. However, if you travel often and need to stay connected, it is recommended to have an adapter so that you can connect to various Wi-Fi hotspots as well as use mobile data as needed.