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Thread: usb wifi dongle...

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Default usb wifi dongle...

    Hello,

    I'm looking for a usb wifi dongle. But I would like it to support Miracast. I know Miracast requires support from the chipset and cpu, but my chipset and cpu support it. I just was stupid and bought a mainboard without wifi, hence no Miracast either.

    Can this be added with a usb dongle? Any suggestions for the dongle / what to look out for in the specs (is wifi direct support enough) ?

    Can it be added with a PCIe card? Any suggestions / what to look out for?

    Preference goes to a USB dongle, as I need a usb wifi dongle now (no option for pcie), but I would like to be able to reuse it later. If it would not be possible with a usb dongle, then I will just get a simpler usb wifi adapter, even though it would have limited reuse later.

    Thanks!

    J
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    Wifi dongles are cheap, I just bought 3 because we are testing something at work. Do a google search and buy a few in a store where you can return them if they don't do what you need.

    I have an Asus Miracast to HDMI dongle but I have never gotten it to work.

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    Problem is I'm in Spain, with language issues. The miracast functionality would be something useful back home, but I cannot test it here. I was hoping to find that either it is possible with some chipsets (and I would buy one of those), or that it is not possible (and then I have a free choice).

    I have found a Broadcom chipset that is miracast certified, but no dongles use it. Then there is a Realtek chipset that supports wifi direct, which is a requirement for miracast. So I' m now thinking of one of those, perhaps it is enough on a compatible mainboard... but they are of les common brands. So any known ones that have wifi direct?
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    I was researching wifi chipsets (need micro dongle with atheros) and found https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Main_Page

    You have chipsets and devices. If you know which chipset you need, you can probably surmise which device will have it and then order it online. Devices such as Belkin, Tenda, TPLink usually don't list chipsets on box.

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Yes, I also came across that wiki. It is quite helpful but it still is difficult to find something. I found some chipsets that are said to support wifi direct, but not many devices that use them. One is a Broadcom which has no devices in the wiki, the other Realtek (RTL8192DE-VC,RTL8192DU-VC), and for that there are some devices on the wiki. So I may check those.

    I'm not even sure a usb wifi dongle would help me. The problem is that I need to connect to a wifi network that has many access points. I have about 3 of them in average reach (75-80 dB according to the wifi scanner on my phone) and a few more in worse reach (>90 dB). My connection is quite unstable at the moment and I think it is because my laptop is hopping between the different access points, at the slightest movement. But it is a 10 year old laptop (802.11abg, Intel chipset), so I'm guessing that a modern USB adapter would first get a better signal and second be better at holding a stable connection. So I'm guessing the wifi dongle should not be too cheap, and preferably have external antennas (also to have them in a fixed position).
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    I'll go for the Asus USB-N14: it is quite low cost, has 2x external 5dBi antenna and works with Raspberry pi (something I might want to use it for in the future). Not sure if it supports Wifi Direct, but it is low cost enough for me to ignore that. If I would want to add Miracast to the other pc in the future (which is a possible re-use of the adapter in about 2 years: I'm for that long in Spain), a PCIe card will for sure work and will also not be expensive.
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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    Just to report back: it works very well. While it has a relatively low signal strength (2 bars out of 5), the speed varies between 36 and 72 Mbps. By comparison, the internal adapter of my laptop (ok, 12 year old laptop with just 802.11abg) or my iPad both see the network but is too weak to connect to it. My phone manages from time to time, but does not manage to keep a stable connection. For both of them, I can find one place in the room where their internal adapter is able to maintain a connection, but it is not stable. With this new adapter, there are completely no interruptions. Of course, I have no comparison with new, smaller dongles, but given that this one with 5dBi antennas just manages to get 2 bars out of 5 seems to tell me it was a good choice.

    In Windows 10, I was wondering how it would go but in the wifi selection, but you just have 2 adapters that show up under wifi (it looks a bit like an afterthought in the userinterface) and using a dropdown box you choose which adapter connects to the selected access point in the list below it. I have switched of "connect automatically" for the network on the internal adapter (for some uses, the internal adapter suffices) to make sure that would not interfere with anything.
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    press win+p then choose connect to wireless display

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    This laptop does not support it. The computer that does and where I plan to reuse the adapter is still in Warsaw and at the moment I don't even know when I will go there. It may be summer or even later. But the adapter does a fine job catching the wifi, and for sure it may prove useful some time later (even if it would not support miracast on a supported computer).
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    And the laptop died... its cooling fan is making a noise like a drill. I will look for a replacement fan (should not be too difficult to find), as I really love this laptop. It is almost 12 years old and I daresay it has sentimental value: it went with me to most conferences I attended, served as my computer at remote institutions and I wrote big pieces of my PhD on it. I had hoped it would take me through habilitation. I know it it stupid to have this sentiment on an old laptop, but it seems the cooling fan can be found for a few euros; so I sure as hell want to try and revive it. :-)
    (a different laptop is on the way, so I can at least work in the mean time)
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    I understand this perfectly. This is why I still have Intel BX440 Thinkpad A21p, T42p, X61 tablet, T60p laying around. They are semi functional and I plan to bring them to working order purely for sentimental value.

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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    You could try cleaning the fan and dropping a few drops of sewing machine oil (find a local sewing machine shop). Extra Virgin Olive oil also works.

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    It is a sealed of blower fan (as far as I can tell from the pictures of the part, laptop is a Fujitsu-Siemens p1510). To get to it, I need to remove the keyboard. So I figure that if I have to make all that effort, I may as well replace it.

    There is of course still a small chance the noise is not coming from the fan, but from the harddisk. It sounds to me to be the fan, but I'm not yet 100% sure. Arguments against the (also 12 year old!) harddisk are that it works fine and the noise changes a bit when I lightly push the place where the fan is. Any suggestions on really identifying the source?
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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    It looks like the Asus USB adapter supports widi. Using "netsh wlan show drivers", it shows that wireless display is supported by the driver, but not by the graphics driver (this laptop does not support it). But that would be great news for later, when I can repurpose the card on a different system.
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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