Add-in cards usually ship alone, not counting the mounting screws, manual, and whatever else is common for hardware components, but that's not the case for the latest Wi-Fi card from ASUS.Called ASUS PCE-AC68, the wireless LAN adapter (Wi-Fi adapter, as it were) ships with an antenna terminal, for extra signal and range.
We would have been tempted to mistake the thing for a router had ASUS not said clearly that it was a PCI Express adapter that it was releasing.
Speaking of which, the card is meant to be installed inside one PCI Express x1 slot. There should be at least one such interface on motherboards these days.
If there isn't, you can use a PCI Exporess x4/x4 slot instead. Only the bandwidth differs for them after all, and the BIOS will see what's installed in them just fine.
Spec-wise, we're looking at a pretty good Wi-Fi transmitter, especially since the card can communicate over both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Dual-band configuration, in other words.
The performance isn't half bad either, with 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz frequency and 1,300 Mbps on the 5 GHz radio spectrum.
No wonder the thing ships with a three-antenna terminal. The potential throughput would be wasted without something like that to maximize range and signal strength.
As far as operating systems go, all Windows versions from XP onwards are supported. That means the list is this: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows8, and Windows 8.1.
Another asset, what some may call the final perk really, is the security encryption. There is WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WEP (128/64-bit) support, so you can choose which works best for you.
All in all, the dual-band Wi-Fi add-in card should provide any PC with a better than average support for networking if you're the sort of person that won't just settle for a Wi-Fi router instead.
The ASUS PCE-AC68 should turn your computer into a decent network hub and/or server, even if you use it as you would a normal PC while it plays that part for your coworkers, friends, and/or flat mates.
Sales of the product should have already begun. ASUS' press release gave April 25 as the launch date, so you might be able to find it in stock at your local retailer. It certainly is available online, through Amazon, Newegg, and other such channels. The price is of around $100 / €100, which fits with its role of performance/high-end PC component.