Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may earn a small commission for qualifying purchases.
Show Page Contents
Do you want to build a PC, or are you looking to replace a faulty motherboard that just isn’t doing well anymore? As you start looking for motherboards, you will come across a lot of jargon that you need to sift through.
One of those is going to be a WiFi motherboard, and that can be very confusing for people who want to take a look at replacing their motherboard. What does a WiFi motherboard mean, and why does it matter so much?
For starters, not all desktop motherboards come with WiFi built-in out of the box. That doesn’t mean that your computer won’t be able to connect to your network when all is said and done. But it does mean that you might need extra hardware.
However, WiFi motherboards will always come with the internal equipment needed to connect to your wireless network from the get-go.
What Does A WiFi Motherboard Look Like?
Whenever you are buying a WiFi Motherboard and assembling a desktop computer with one, you will see that all the WiFi-related equipment is hard-wired into the motherboard and it is located near the back I/O port.
There will also be antennas that you can connect to the back of your computer case, and they will receive the signal from your router.
Keep in mind that a motherboard with WiFi integrated into it is going to be more expensive than a motherboard with no WiFi. The difference in price might be as low as a few dollars or as high as a few hundred dollars. But there are ways to connect to WiFi if you get a WiFi-free motherboard, as you will see below.
But first, why spend that extra money? What makes having built-in WiFi so important, and is it really needed for a desktop computer?
The Advantages Of A WiFi Motherboard
It Is Portable
If you don’t have a WiFi motherboard inside of your desktop, then you need to connect directly to your router with an ethernet cable. This can clamp down on your portability because not only are you moving your desktop from place to place, but you are also doing to be dependent on an ethernet cable as well.
And many traditional routers only have a handful of ethernet ports, so if several computers need to be plugged directly into the router, it can quickly become a battle for space to connect to a network. With a WiFi Motherboard, you can have more connections to the router and get more work or gaming done without any trouble.
It is One Less Cable to Worry About
Even if you aren’t building a high-end gaming computer and plan to use this computer for work or even day-to-day internet searching, there’s a chance you will have a lot of cables and USB devices. Mice, keyboards, headphones, accessories, and more will all take up the USB ports on your desktop.
While an ethernet cable does have its own port, and you can plug it in quite easily, another cable can increase the risk of everything getting tangled up.
The more cables you have, the higher the risk of them all getting tangled and intertwined with one another. That can lead to a messy and disorganized workspace, as well as a tripping hazard that can damage both you and your computer if you or your chair gets too tangled up in the wires.
It is Very Fast
Finally, a WiFi card gives you high connectivity and stable wireless connections. If you want high-speed gaming and high download speeds right out of the box, then a WiFi motherboard is one of the best options you can get for your computer.
That doesn’t mean that without a WiFi card you aren’t going to get very fast speeds. But an integrated card won’t be as unstable as an antenna-based connection for your router.
What If You Don’t Have Onboard WiFi?
If you don’t have a WiFi motherboard, don’t have any fear about not being able to connect to your WiFi network. You can connect, but you will have to use antennas to connect to the WiFi. These antennas might come with an expansion card or a USB port, but for the most part, they can be screwed onto dedicated WiFi jacks.
Then you can get high-speed WiFi access once everything fully connects to your router and signal.
WiFi cards offer high-speed connectivity and are upgradeable and replaceable, and all you need is a free PCle slot that most WiFi cards have. Plus, they are pretty affordable whenever you compare them to traditional WiFi Motherboards.
Most of the time these don’t involve opening up your computer, as they are strictly on the outside. However, for some of them, you will need to get inside your desktop — if you feel like you can do this, then go for it! If not, don’t be afraid to ask for help or watch a guide on how to do it.
Is a WiFi Motherboard Worth it?
Onboard WiFi Is very streamlined and optimized, but you do lose out on upgrading your WiFi once the new thing comes out. So if your motherboard card comes with WiFi 5, and everything else updates to WiFi 6, then you will need to get an entirely new motherboard to ensure that everything works as intended.
If you want to save money, then this might not be the best for you as there are not a ton of WiFi motherboards within a mid-range price range. However, that extra cash does allow you to run on your network the second your build is complete.
Still, if you want to build your desktop on a budget, then there are plenty of ways to access WiFi without needing to spend that extra cash on a WiFi motherboard. Whether it is worth it or not, that all depends on you and what you want out of your computer.