compare USB vs PCI-E WiFi

USB vs PCIE Wifi Adapter Comparison – Which is better? (Guide)

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

We have different Internet connection technologies, but most of us only know a few of these technologies mainly because cable and Fiber-Optic Internet is always available. But if you recently moved or plan to move to WiFi-based Internet service from hard-wired services, you will definitely have to consider PCI-E and USB WiFi technologies for your PC.

Some people end up assuming that the two technologies are good given they perform the same duties. For curiosity, some of us would want to know the existing difference between them and any similarities before deciding. This is what this brief is all about.

PCI-E WiFi adapter Overview

Now you’re wondering what a PCI-E WiFi adapter is, what it’s made of and how it’s used? For people who already have desktop PCs with a space PCI-E slot, it’s easy to get a wireless adapter with at least one antenna communicating directly with the WiFi router.

But users will have to open the computer and install the PCI-E WiFi card. This process is easy for people with long years’ experience working with computers. If otherwise, it’s always important to get some professional help.

USB WiFi adapter Overview

Another Internet technology is the use of a USB device that provides connectivity to the WiFi router. Although there are some USB WiFi adapters with an antenna, not all of them come with the antenna. Checking your PC, you will realize that there are a couple of USB slots available on each side. Desktop computers have USB slots on both the back and the face of the computer.

The only advantage that USB WiFi adapters have over the PCI-E is that no installation is needed. Any person can easily and quickly use these devices to establish a connection. You actually have to insert the adapter on the USB slot of your computer and connect to the Internet.

USB WiFi vs. PCI-e: The Difference

There’s always a hotly debated argument for the PCI-e wireless and USB WiFi solutions. Many people wonder whether there are any differences between them beyond the physical and installation differences. The fact is each of these Internet technologies has their merits and demerits.

The USB wireless adapters don’t necessarily come with an antenna. This is what lowers their signal reception and eventually, performance. But some models have one antenna for improved signal strength.

On the other hand, The PCI-e wireless adapters have up to three antennas, which increases signal reception from the WiFi router and, ultimately, signal strength and Internet speeds. This is one main reason why people love PCI-e wireless adapters.

Unfortunately, the hustle of Installing and Uninstalling PCI-e wireless card on the PC is formidable. Consequently, some users don’t want to open their computer, install, and uninstall when need arises. USB wireless adapters are very easy to install and uninstall.

PCI-E has more power but less Flexibility

PCI-E basically packs two antennas connected to the WiFi Router, giving it more power and a stable connection. The antennas work to boost the WiFi signal reception. There are some of these devices that have more than two antennas for a stronger WiFi signal reception. The RoseWill RNX-AC1900PCE has three antennas to increase the card’s potential for high-speed internet connection.

Besides the reception strength, PCI-E connections have less Flexibility, mainly because after installing them on the computer’s motherboard, it’s not easy to move it to another computer. The user will have to take it apart, taking care of the static electricity and transfer it to another PC.

USB Wireless Adapters: Less power, More Flexibility

USB-wireless adapters are simple and easier to use and carry along. People just have to insert it on a USB port on the computer and instruct it to connect to the wireless signals. But remember USB wireless adapters don’t necessarily come with antennas. This indicates that the signal reception will not be as strong as the case of PCI-E adapters.

But remember, some USB adapters have single external antennas. Such models as Anewkodi Model have an external antenna for improved signal reception, but they still don’t match the signal quality of PCI-E adapters.

PCI-E vs. USB adapters: Which one is for me?

Given the above pros and cons of each adapter to the other, you might want to know which of these two Internet connectivity options is the best for you. The choice depends on personal requirements. People that use desktop computers that they don’t intend to change or carry along soon can opt for PCI-e wireless adapters for their high signal quality. But if you intend to change PCs soon and don’t care much about the signal strength, the USB wireless adapter is a good option.


What is better WiFi USB or PCI?

These two will work perfectly well for Desktops, but if you want greater speed and a more stable and reliable signal, it’s important to choose PCI-e. The PCI wireless adapter is better for people using desktop only and is serious gamers.

Is the WiFi adapter better than Internal?

Having a USB adapter doesn’t mean that it’s better than all the other WiFi technologies, including the Internal Card. The fact is how each of these connections connects to the PC doesn’t have a big impact on the internet signals and reliability.

Are USB WiFi adapters worth it?

Yes, they are good technologies for the Internet, but you should remember most of them don’t pack an external antenna. This is the reason why they’re not very powerful. Though Buying a High-quality adapter, you can get a good transmission and have a stable internet connection.


Choosing between these two Internet connection technologies is not a very complicated process. The two devices work the same, but USB Wireless adapters have a weaker signal reception, which eventually affects the internet quality. The PCI-e wireless adapters take a lot of time and expertise to install and uninstall but have the best signal quality.

People will choose the PCI-e adapters for the stronger signals and internet speeds while others will go for USB wireless adapters for their ease of installation and use. It’s convenient and comparatively easier to use.

What Internet Service is Available in My Area?

Jill Burns
Jill Burns
Read More
My internet and cable provider that shall not be named was raising my monthly bill. I later found out that there were were better discounts with no contracts. Now I'm only paying a fixed $92 dollars a month for cable and internet
John Hollaway
John Hollaway
Read More
Without warning from the provider, I get a bill thats $30 more expensive than the last month. I had a word with the customer service about the constant drop outs My friend told me about your website Theme Scene and now im getting wifi for $29 per month
Marie Williams
Marie Williams
Read More
If I called you earlier I would have saved myself 10 months of grief with my previous provider. Thank you

Disclaimer: is an independently owned internet & cable and home services comparison review website on a mission to provide unbiased reviews. is NOT an internet, cable TV, Satellite or phone provider

The information may be subject to change without notification of those changes. The information found on is strictly for entertainment purposes only.

Leave a Comment

Discover the cheapest internet & Cable deals in your area

Fill the form below: