How To Add Wi-Fi To A Motherboard (2023)

Most motherboards do not come equipped with an onboard Wi-Fi modem. You will need a different Wi-Fi card or a USB Wi-Fi adapter if you want to access the internet wirelessly on your desktop PC. Without any of these equipments, you cannot access the internet unless you use an ethernet cable.

Today, we have brought you this article to give you a step-by-step guide on how you can add Wi-Fi to your motherboard. However, before we start, let us see if your motherboard is equipped with an in-built Wi-Fi adapter.

Table of Contents

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Does My Motherboard Have Wi-Fi?

The Wi-Fi adapter on the motherboard, if it has one, is usually located near the I/O Panel. I/O panel is a series of input and output ports on one side of the motherboard. And in the I/O panel, you will see a Wi-Fi antenna connector. This connector holds the Wi-Fi antenna that comes with the motherboard.

To check if your motherboard has Wi-Fi, check for the Wi-Fi antenna connector on the I/O panel. This connector is a gold-plated circular slot. Some motherboards will also have the word Wi-Fi written near the connector.

If your motherboard has a Wi-Fi adapter, you need to insert the antenna in the Wi-Fi slot in your I/O panel.

How to Add Wi-fi to Motherboard?

There are basically two ways you can access the internet on your motherboard if you do not have a built-in Wi-Fi card. One is through the Wi-Fi card, and the other uses a USB Wi-Fi adapter.

Using a Wi-Fi Card

How To Add Wi-Fi To A Motherboard (1)

The Wi-Fi card acts as an adapter for the motherboard. The card sits on one of the expansion slots on your motherboard.

Follow the steps mentioned below to insert the Wi-Fi card on the motherboard.

(Video) How To Add WiFi Bluetooth & Wireless To Your PC

Turn Off the PC

How To Add Wi-Fi To A Motherboard (2)

Since you need to access the motherboard, turn off the PC. Also, make sure that the PC is not connected to any wall outlet. Now, press and hold the power button for ten to fifteen seconds to discharge any capacitors.

Remove Side Panel

How To Add Wi-Fi To A Motherboard (3)

To remove the side panel, remove any screws holding the glass panel in place. These screws may be located on the sides or the back side of the case.

Once you remove the screws, gently take the side panel out of the PC case. Now, you should have a clear view of the motherboard.

Locate PCIe X1

How To Add Wi-Fi To A Motherboard (4)

Now that you can access the motherboard search for the PCIe x1 slot. The Wi-Fi card sits on this particular expansion slot on your motherboard.

All the PCIe slots are usually located next to each other. The longest slot with one plastic lock is the PCIe x16 slot. Parallel to this slot, you will find PCIe x8, PCIe x4, or PCIe x1 slots, depending on your motherboard.

The PCIe x1 is the shortest PCIe slot, so it will be hard to miss. Furthermore, the PCIe slot will be perpendicular to the side containing the I/O panel. So when you insert the card, the antenna connector port will face the back side of the CPU case.

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Remove Expansion Slot Cover

How To Add Wi-Fi To A Motherboard (5)

Once you have located the PCIe x1 slot, remove the expansion slot cover on the PC case corresponding to it.

Remove the cover’s screw to take it out of the PC case. You need this screw to secure the card in place. So make sure that you do not lose this screw.

Insert and Secure the Wi-Fi Card

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The PCIe x1 slot will have two partitions. You need to align these partitions with the gaps on the Wi-Fi card.

Gently insert the Wi-Fi card into the PCIe x1 slot. Press gently on it until you can’t press it any further. The card might wiggle a bit.

Use the screw you previously removed to stop the card from any movement.

Install Drivers

How To Add Wi-Fi To A Motherboard (7)

The Wi-Fi card you just installed should have a driver CD that you can use to install its drivers. If your system does not have a CD or a DVD drive, you can download it from the internet.

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You can use an ethernet cable to access the internet to download the driver.

Using USB Wi-Fi Adapter

How To Add Wi-Fi To A Motherboard (8)

Alternately, if you do not want any hassle with removing the side panel and inserting a USB card, you can also use a USB Wi-Fi adapter. This adapter sits on any one of the USB ports.

Using a USB Wi-Fi adapter, you do not need to install any driver. The system will automatically install it for you.

PCIe Wi-Fi Card Vs. USB Wi-Fi Adapter

How To Add Wi-Fi To A Motherboard (9)

Both Wi-Fi card and Wi-Fi adapter lets you access the internet wirelessly on your desktop PC. However, both PCIe and USB adapters have their advantages.


You must remove the side panel and the expansion slot cover to install a PCIe Wi-Fi card. This can be a hassle if you are a casual PC user.

USB Wi-Fi adapter, on the other hand, has a pretty simple installation. Insert the dongle to the USB port, and you can access wireless internet.

(Video) How to Install a Wi-Fi Card into a Desktop PC


The USB Wi-Fi adapter is pretty small, so you can also use it easily on other devices. Although you can remove the PCIe Wi-Fi adapter, it can be a tricky job.


The USB Wi-Fi adapter will have difficulty connecting over long-range due to its small size.

In contrast, the Wi-Fi card will have a separate two or three antennae that can access routers that are further away. Along with this, the connection stability will also improve when using a PCIe Wi-Fi card.


What do I do if my motherboard doesn't have WiFi? ›

What Happens if My Motherboard Doesn't Have Wi-Fi? You don't get Wi-Fi. Don't worry, you can still connect to the internet, you just need to either connect an ethernet cable into your motherboard or get a Wi-Fi card/dongle.

Can you add wireless networking to a motherboard? ›

You can connect your gaming PC to WiFi with a WiFi adapter or a cabled hotspot. Some PC motherboards are WiFi-enabled, or add-on PCIe cards and USB WiFi adapters provide you with WiFi connectivity through your wireless home network at a reasonably low cost.

Can you add a Wi-Fi card to a motherboard with WiFi? ›

It can do, but it depends on what version of WiFi the card and motherboard support, and on how big the antennae are.

How do I manually add WiFi? ›

Option 2: Add network
  1. Open your device's Settings app.
  2. Tap Network & internet. Internet.
  3. At the bottom of the list, tap Add network. You may need to enter the network name (SSID) and security details.
  4. Tap Save.

How do I know if my motherboard supports WiFi? ›

the easiest and quickest way to check if a motherboard has built in wifi is to look at the back IO panel (where most of your USB ports, VGA/DVI/HDMI/DP, audio ports, and so on are located) and check for antennae connectors.

Do all motherboards have a Wi-Fi card slot? ›

All recent computers can have a wireless adapter or WiFi card. Some PCs might not have the required slots on the motherboard free anymore, in this case, you can always plug in a USB wireless adapter. Though these are less powerful they can always be used on any windows released after and including Windows XP.

Is Ethernet faster than WiFi? ›

An Ethernet connection is generally faster than a WiFi connection and provides greater reliability and security.

Is motherboard without WiFi good? ›

Yes and no.

Most motherboards will use network interface cards to help your computer with connectivity. Modern boards should have NICs that have a gigabit range. In most cases, these cards should be able to help your computer connect to the internet at any speed that your current package provides.

Can any Wi-Fi card work with any motherboard? ›

Most cards today are PCIe based, so it's important to make sure you're buying a wifi card and motherboard that have the corresponding connections required. Some cards use PCIe for the wifi and the USB for Bluetooth connectivity.

How do I add built in Wi-Fi to my computer? ›

By far, the fastest and cheapest way to add Wi-Fi to your PC or laptop is with a USB Wi-Fi adapter. Simply plug the device into a USB port on your computer, install the relevant drivers and you will be up and running in no time.

How do I install a wireless adapter on my PC? ›

Step 1: Use an Ethernet cable and plug your computer directly to your router. Make sure Internet is accessible. Step 2: Place your new adapter in the proper slot or port. Step 3: With your computer running, a bubble message will appear stating that this device was not installed successfully.

How can I connect my PC to Wi-Fi without adapter? ›

What to Know
  1. Plug your phone into your PC using a USB cable and set up USB tethering.
  2. On Android: Settings > Network and Internet > Hotspot & Tethering and toggle on Tethering.
  3. On iPhone: Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot and toggle on Personal Hotspot.
5 Oct 2021

What motherboard is WiFi ready? ›

Best Motherboards with WiFi
Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming MotherboardAMD B550AM4
MSI MPG Gaming MotherboardIntel Z390LGA 1151
Asus ROG Strix Z490- WiFi 6 MotherboardIntel Z490LGA 1155
Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Elite MotherboardIntel Z390LGA-1151
1 more row
7 Jan 2022

Do motherboards need WiFi antenna? ›

No, you don't need it. I have Asus Z690 Plus Wifi motherboard. Both the Wifi and Bluetooth works without having to install the antenna (which does come in the box.) It will just work terribly, to the point of unusuable speed if you don't sit right next to the Wifi router.

How can I increase my WiFi speed? ›

For the best signal, put the wireless router out in the open on the main floor of your house, away from walls and obstructions. Ideally, you'll want to position it off the floor, above the furniture. Keep it away from other electronics that might cause interference, like microwaves, baby monitors, and cordless phones.

Can you have WiFi without internet? ›

Devices can, however, communicate with each other over WiFi without the internet.

How does motherboard WiFi work? ›

When a motherboard has “built-in WiFi,” that means that the board has equipped, a wireless transmitter/receiver and an associated antenna, as part of its features. It allows you to connect to WiFi wirelessly. If you don't have WiFi on your motherboard then you would have to use a Ethernet connection.

What hardware is required for a wireless network? ›

A wireless network adapter is a device that connects your PC to a wireless network. To connect your portable or desktop PC to your wireless network, the PC must have a wireless network adapter. Most laptops and tablets—and some desktop PCs—come with a wireless network adapter already installed.

How do I add WiFi support to my PC? ›

Select the Network icon in the notification area, then select the > icon next to the Wi-Fi quick setting to see a list of available networks. Choose the network that you want to connect to, and then select Connect. Type the security key (often called the password). Follow additional instructions if there are any.

Do you need a WiFi adapter for a WiFi motherboard? ›

If you want a desktop computer to connect to WiFi you can either use on-board WiFi, an internal WiFi adapter (PCIe card), or an external adapter (USB dongle). If you're going to have the computer in a location where a wired connection is not prohibitively difficult you'd be better off not using WiFi.

Can all PCs connect to Wi-Fi? ›

Wi-Fi is becoming more common in desktop computers, but not all desktop PCs have it. Add Wi-Fi and you can connect to the Internet wirelessly and host Wi-Fi hotspots for your other devices.

Does my PC not support Wi-Fi? ›

Click "Start" and then click "Control Panel." Click "Network and Internet" and then click "Network and Sharing Center." Click "Change Adapter Settings" in the left pane. If Wireless Network Connection is listed as an available connection, the desktop can connect to a wireless network.

How do I know if my PC has Wi-Fi? ›

To see if your computer has a wireless network adapter, do the following: Open Network Connections by clicking the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type adapter, and then, under Network and Sharing Center, click View network connections.

Does my motherboard need an antenna for WiFi? ›

No, you don't need it. I have Asus Z690 Plus Wifi motherboard. Both the Wifi and Bluetooth works without having to install the antenna (which does come in the box.) It will just work terribly, to the point of unusuable speed if you don't sit right next to the Wifi router.


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