Installation of a wireless USB adapter is simple. A short USB cable (normally included with the unit) joins the adapter to the computer. These adapters do not require a separate power cord, as the same USB cable also draws power from the host computer. The USB adapter's wireless antenna and circuitry remain external to the computer at all times. On some units, the antenna can be adjusted manually to improve WiFi reception. The accompanying device driver software serves an equivalent function as in other types of network adapters.
Some manufacturers market two kinds of wireless USB adapters, a "basic" model and a "compact" model designed for travelers. Their small size and easy setup make these adapters an attractive choice for those who want to simplify their network setup.