Do Motherboards Come with Wi-Fi? HINT: Most Don’t

Do Motherboards Come with Wi-Fi

Well, not all motherboards come along with built-in Wi-Fi. Therefore, before buying a motherboard, you should check if it comes with Wi-Fi or not. Only the premium versions generally offer Wi-Fi facilities. There are also different versions of the same motherboard, so you can choose the one that fits all of your needs.

Desktop motherboards generally do not offer Wi-Fi facilities, while laptops do. Budget-friendly motherboards do not have built-in Wi-Fi. Companies generally offer you different versions of the same motherboard. Where one of them has Wi-Fi, while the other one does not. It really comes down to the cost of the motherboard.

On the other hand, laptop motherboards do offer built-in Wi-Fi. As laptops are portable devices, it makes more sense for them to have a Wi-Fi card by default. With desktop motherboards, people prefer to have a stable ethernet connection. But Wi-Fi does offer its benefits and may come in handy if the occasion arrives.

Reasons Why Most Motherboards Do Not Come With Wi-Fi

Isn’t it better to make a motherboard that has built-in Wi-Fi? Yes, but the main reason why most desktop motherboards do not offer Wi-Fi is because of the extra cost. Here are some of the reasons why companies do not produce onboard Wi-Fi motherboards.

Additional Cost

The first and foremost reason you do not see as many Wi-Fi motherboards is that it increases the overall cost of the entire product. One of the main problems is that many users settle down for an ethernet connection instead of getting a motherboard with built-in Wi-Fi.

You can even get a PCIe Wi-Fi card which will cost you much less than buying a premium motherboard. So, if you are looking forward to using Wi-Fi pretty heftily, then you should be ready to spend some extra bucks on it.

Limited Features

Motherboards with built-in Wi-Fi miss out on various features. When a motherboard comes equipped with Wi-Fi, the company has to compromise on some extra features like the VGA port.

You should also know that a motherboard comes with limited PCIe lanes, and onboard Wi-Fi occupies one of them. These are some of the main reasons companies prefer to make two versions of the same motherboard and let you decide what features you want to prioritize.

Upgrading Difficulties

You can not upgrade a motherboard with a built-in Wi-Fi adapter. And as the Wi-Fi specifications keep changing with time, you will not be able to upgrade it. For instance, if you bought a motherboard with Wi-Fi 5, then you will not be able to upgrade it to Wi-Fi 6 modem.

The whole point of having desktop computers is that you should be able to upgrade the hardware from time to time. When I was building my pc a couple of years ago, I also had this same conundrum. But I went for a cheaper motherboard that didn’t have a Wi-Fi adapter. I saved on the cost and as I already had an ethernet connection, it was a better choice for me.

Hence, upgrading difficulties are one of the main reasons why most motherboards do not come with Wi-Fi enabled.

Reliable Ethernet

We all know that Wi-Fi is not on par with an Ethernet connection. When you make a direct comparison between Ethernet and Wi-Fi, Ethernet is much more reliable and trustworthy.

People rely on Ethernet connection as it is not only faster but is also secure. Many Wi-Fi’s are not end-to-end encrypted, and it is surely a headache to check every time you access the internet.

Premium Motherboards That Do Have Built-in Wi-Fi

There is a range of premium motherboards that offer a built-in Wi-Fi feature. It is also essential to pay a closer look at the motherboard and the chipset that comes with it. Many chipsets may support onboard Wi-Fi, while some might not. You should also ask your retailer if the model comes pre-installed or not.

Having all this in mind, here is a list of top companies you should consider before buying your premium motherboards. They are all known to deliver high-quality products to their customers.

  • Asus
  • Intel
  • Gigabyte Technology
  • Micro-Star International (MSI)

ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark is one of the few premium motherboards that mostly have built-in Wi-Fi. Before making the final decision, you should look into what perks each company offers and the price difference between their products. Rest assured, if you buy your premium motherboard from any of these companies, you will get the built-in Wi-Fi feature.

How to Check if Your Motherboard Already Has Built-in Wi-Fi

There are many ways to check if your motherboard already has built-in Wi-Fi. Here are some of the things that you can do to confirm whether you have a Wi-Fi-enabled motherboard or not.

Before Purchase

You should always pre-check your motherboard before making the final purchase. The best way to do this is by reading out all the specs and features the motherboard offers. Companies generally advertise these features quite clearly in the description itself. 

Store pages generally carry all the information regarding the product. If you still need help finding the relevant information, you can search for the motherboard and get the details from the company’s website. There are also plenty of reviews online that will mention all the features and compare the product with different models.

After Purchase

If you have already made the purchase or own a motherboard, you can conduct a physical or software check to conclude if it has Wi-Fi or not. All motherboards with onboard Wi-Fi have a physical tell. Most motherboards with Wi-Fi come along with antenna connecting ports at their back. These antennas can be placed near a router to get the best connection.

If your motherboard has these ports, you probably have a Wi-Fi-enabled motherboard. All you need to do is purchase an antenna for it. Almost all new motherboards come with antennas, while you have to buy separate antennas for the older generations.

The easiest way to tell if you have Wi-Fi on your motherboard is to conduct a software check. Just open up your desktop, and if you see a Wi-Fi icon on the bottom right corner of your screen, then you do have a Wi-Fi-enabled motherboard.

Advantages of Motherboards With Built-in Wi-Fi

Motherboards with onboard Wi-Fi do offer numerous advantages over your average motherboards. Here are a few things that make Wi-Fi-enabled motherboards premium.

Sufficient Speed

As technology has evolved, Wi-Fi offers good internet speed for commercial use. Ethernet might be superior, but you do not need such high speed for day-to-day tasks. You will only see the difference between the two once you are uploading or downloading heavy files from the internet.

So, if you want to surf the internet or stream some videos, then Wi-Fi motherboards might be the best fit for you. Wi-Fi chips these days can deliver up to 9.6 Gbps. However, for busy NAS storage setups, Wi-Fi chips may not be the best solution.

Convenience

You have to admit that portability is one of the biggest perks of having a motherboard with built-in Wi-Fi. You can take your desktop anywhere and not worry about finding an ethernet connection.

Getting an ethernet connection everywhere you go is really hard. It is also hard to unplug your cable every time you need to move around your PC. With Wi-Fi, you can also easily reset your connection by just tapping a button, while an ethernet connection will require a manual reset.

Easier to Use

Wi-Fi motherboards are much easier to use and set up. They are great for office use as many computers can communicate through a single router. For example, a Linksys router can support up to 50 desktops by default. 

Ethernet connection would cost you heftily if you need to connect with a large number of desktops. As it would require you to invest in expensive network switches.

Decluttered Workspace

Wi-Fi motherboards decrease cluttering by a ton. With an ethernet connection, there would be wires running down everywhere. Hence, a built-in Wi-Fi motherboard will make your workspace tidier and cleaner.

Different Options for Users Without Onboard Wi-Fi

If your motherboard does not offer a Wi-Fi feature, then there are several ways to get it. Purchasing a USB Wi-Fi adapter is one of the easiest ways to access Wi-Fi on your PC. These devices are easy to use and cost you way less than a premium motherboard.

USB Wi-Fi adapters are easy to install and do not require any manual installation. You can also opt for a PCIe Wi-Fi adapter, as it offers better performance and stability than a USB Wi-Fi adapter. The only thing is that they are a bit hard to install as they get directly plugged into your motherboard.

PCIe Wi-Fi adapters provide you with high-speed internet depending on the specifications of your motherboard. However, they are a bit more expensive and require an empty PCIe slot in your motherboard.

Conclusion

So, if you are still thinking do motherboards come with Wi-Fi? The short answer is that an average motherboard will not offer Wi-Fi facilities. 

There are different variants of the same model which do have onboard Wi-Fi. The only thing is that it will be a bit more expensive than your mid-range or budget-friendly motherboards. 

You can also use external gadgets such as Wi-Fi adapters to avail of the facility. Hence, buying a premium motherboard for just an extra feature does not feel worth it.

  • Laura is a co-founder of Computer Zilla and an author. Her favorite topics are gaming related, but she is also obsessed with smart home gadgets. Probably that’s why she always says that her favorite pet is her robot vacuum cleaner Nunu.