What is an external wireless adapter?

Written by fred flanders
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What is an external wireless adapter?
An example of an external wireless adaptor is a USB Wi-Fi adaptor. (bluetooth usb image by gajatz from Fotolia.com)

An external wireless adaptor is a device that can be connected to a personal computer, laptop or netbook device that will allow the user to access a wireless Internet or network signal. A USB wireless adaptor is the most common external wireless device.

USB device

The most common external wireless adaptor is the wireless USB adaptor. When plugged into the computer's USB port, the wireless adaptor will allow the user to access a wireless Internet connection through the USB device.


The wireless USB adaptor is a portable device that can be used on most computers, laptops or netbooks that have an open USB port.


External wireless adaptors are confined to the range of the Wi-Fi signal produced by the router. Signal repeaters can be used to extend the range of the signal.

3G Networks

Some cell phone providers have created USB wireless adaptors that can tap into nationwide 3G wireless networks. By using a 3G USB adaptor, the wireless network can be accessed from almost any location.

Laptop network adaptor

Other external wireless adaptors for laptops include the wireless laptop card. These external cards plug into card slots that are located on the side of most laptop computers. The device does not work with personal computers because they are not designed with the necessary card slot.

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