Gaming via a wifi adaptor?

I’m going to be renting a house for a few months that (I think) only has wifi connectivity. I’m planning to get a USB wifi adapter for my desktop.

Is that likely to result in horrible latency for gaming? (I’ve always used a wired connection.)

Anyone have a not-sucky adapter recommendation? Or warn-offs from bad experiences.

If possible, get an internal one… I have had not-too-good experiences with usb ones.

Hmm, now that you mention it, maybe I already have one. Just checked my device manager, and I see an Atheros AR9485 Wireless Network Adaptor, in addition to my NIC. Derp.

Don’t think I’ve ever made use of it, but I expect it’ll do.

For MMOs, generally not a concern.

And fun fact about my ACER laptop. I bought it, tossed Linux on there, left a minimal W10 partition in case I needed it. Linux had this problem with the internal WIFI adapter, every 15-20s it would just die for 3-5 seconds, then start up again. I figured it was just an off-brand chip marked as something else and the kernel driver was harfing on it. Bought a USB adapter for <$5 off NewEgg, worked perfectly @300MB/s.

Last week I booted into Windows 10 to toss Monster Hunter: World on there to get around a show-stopper running it under Proton. Wait, what’s this? Steam is downloading for 15-20s at 1/2 the speed it should, then dying for 3-5 seconds. Waaait-a-minute! USB adapter is dark. Oh, me of little faith, blaming Linux when it was just a crapper adapter Acer put in there. Switched W10 to the USB adapter. Steam instantly pegs it at 300MB/s. :slight_smile:

Dun knock the USB adapters when the internal ones are probably more cheaply sourced than they are. :smiley:

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Well I read quite a few people saying this about USB adaptors, too, so I guess the bottom line is that they all suck. :neutral_face:

Usb is going to offer a much slower latency. Internal cards do ok. Best latency is ones built into the mobo assuming that there’s no issues with signal inference. That being said generally an internal card isn’t very noticeable. Also note not all wifi router/gateways are the same and all the devices connected to it will add to your gaming woes. Hopefully you’re not stuck with 2g wifi. Although it has a longer range, it has much less bandwidth. These days most ISPs will put up both a 2g and a 5g wifi network in the house so you’re probably good there, just find the right one.

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A USB wifi adapter is never going to give you as good a result as an decent pcie (m.2 or std pice slot) option will. You are absolutely sacrificing to have the convenience of the usb device. The pcie provides more power allowing for better on-board single processing which will translate to latency. Will you notice this latency however, it hard to say. For your every day web browsing and avg mmo type gaming you will likely not see a difference. If you are talking competitive FPS, you will absolutely see a difference.

There are a couple options available for you, it all really comes down to your budget. A pcie wireless device which will give you better performance and stability than a USB would. You could also consider a wireless bridge which would give you significantly more power and stability than even a very good pcie wireless device.

If USB is the only option you want to consider, I recommend you do not go cheap. If you are willing to spend a bit more I would use a wireless bridge myself or a pcie wireless adapter. If you happen to have an old wireless router hanging around, its possible you could convert it into a wireless bridge as well.

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Thank you very much, @Thisnthat and @ugh_zug, for the thorough replies.

It’s looking like there’s an internal wireless adapter in the box already. I’m going to check it out in the next couple days to see if it works.

It wouldn’t be shocking to find it needs new drivers in order to work with newer modems since they’ve certainly received no attention since I purchased the box in 2012.

Yow… A computer 7+ years old? The drivers may actually not even be available anymore, but one can hope (and do great Google-Fu)

I primarily game over wifi as my place is 2 stories and there is no way to get an ethernet cable to the second floor without drilling holes in places that arent supposed to have holes. I did try to do a cable run through the duct-work, but whomever designed the ducting here was a moron. Its multi branches off the main line all going straight to a central location, as in no shared runs. Even rooms next to one another don’t share the run.

At any rate, the only game that has EVER given me trouble is Destiny 2 and its ever annoying Weasel errors. Its too darn twitchy. You should be fine as long as the wifi signal is reliably strong and 0you dont try to do too many online activities at once :wink: