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For your laptop to connect your wireless network you must have a wireless network adapter or wireless NIC. These adapters are small radio transmitter/receivers that allow your laptop to send and receive radio signals.

Three main types of Wi-Fi adapters are available: Wireless network adapters, PCMCIA cards, and USB wireless adapters. Now some new laptops and PCs come with built-in wireless adapter chips.

All the adapters support Ethernet (wired) or Wi-Fi (Wireless) standards. USB wireless adapters are generally small and connected to a laptop via USB-port. One of the advantages such as the USB-adapter is that it can be replaced between laptops or desktops easily.

Two types of wireless USB adapters are sold by some manufacturers; “Compact” model for the travelers and the “basic” model for the office or home use.

Due to the small size of these cards and the fact that they are easy to install, they are a very attractive option for those who want network setup that is simple.

Some wireless users prefer to buy brand of adapter that matches the router that they have or purchase. Some products even sell the router and adapters as the package specified as a set of home network.

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For security reasons, best to turn off wireless network adapters when not in use. This ability is usually provided by the software adapter.

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