A wireless USB adapter connects a computer without wireless hardware to a wireless network by transmitting either a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signal. Installing the adapter requires plugging it into a USB port on a computer and installing drivers and other software if necessary. Once the adapter is installed, a wireless connection can be established.
Unlike broadband and satellite USB modems, which require special SIM cards and dedicated service providers, wireless USB adapters can connect computers to wireless networks without additional tools or service expenses. Those with older computers that do not have wireless cards can purchase a card for a relatively low price. Doing so is much less expensive and more convenient that buying an internal adapter, and these cards are just as efficient when it comes to accessing free Internet services offered at public libraries, coffee shops and more.
Installing USB wireless adapters has gotten easier because the Windows and Apple operating systems now include driver software from many equipment manufacturers that recognize a wide range of USB adapters. Microsoft also provides its own generic drivers, so if a branded driver is not listed for a certain computer during the installation process, Microsoft’s driver software can probably support it.