What is a Network Adapter Antenna?

G. Wiesen

A network adapter antenna is typically part of a wireless network adapter and allows the adapter to secure a stronger connection to a wireless network. This type of antenna can be part of an internal or external network adapter and the way in which the antenna connects and can be positioned depends on the design of the adapter. A network adapter antenna is often quite important for a network adapter to work properly, especially at long ranges, and proper positioning can greatly affect how well a signal is received.

A USB network adapter with an antenna.
A USB network adapter with an antenna.

Though there are many different types of network adapters for various kinds of computers, a network adapter antenna is a fairly standard part of many network adapters. A network adapter is a device that can be installed in or connected to a computer and allows that computer to properly connect to some form of external network, such as a local network or the Internet. Wired network adapters typically allow a network connection through some form of physical connector, often an Ethernet cable; wireless adapters, on the other hand, connect wirelessly to a wireless network or hub. Wireless network adapters will typically have a network adapter antenna to ensure a stronger and more reliable connection.

A network adapter antenna can be part of an internal network adapter that is installed directly onto the motherboard of a computer, or part of an external device that uses a connection such as a universal serial bus (USB) port. Internal devices are typically installed through a port on the motherboard in a computer. These devices often have a back faceplate that is exposed through an opening in the back of the computer case, and the antenna will usually connect to this faceplate and remain outside of the computer. External adapters typically have a network adapter antenna that is part of the device itself.

Since a network adapter antenna is used to increase the ability of a network adapter to connect to a wireless network, it is often important for the antenna to be unobstructed and able to receive a clear signal. Most antennas are connected directly to the network adapter, but are typically adjustable. These antennas can usually be rotated and may be able to be bent to different positions to be aimed toward the source of a signal. A network adapter antenna can also connect to an adapter through a cord, allowing the antenna to be placed further away from the computer to better receive a signal.

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