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add 802.11ac to a laptop computer


nice_shoes
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I'm considering replacing my wife's older laptop computer (Dell Inspiron E1505) with a newer model. But, I would like to make sure that the new laptop uses 802.11ac for the wireless connection, and everything that I've seen for sale that has 802.11ac is very expensive, at least $1000 and up to $2500. That is WAY MORE than I want to spend.

 

So, I was thinking about getting a cheaper laptop and then adding 802.11ac to it, but I don't know much about it. I built many of my own desktop systems and am comfortable doing so, but the only things that I have done to the laptop were to replace the RAM, and also to replace the old hard drive with a newer SSD. I don't have much knowledge about laptop rebuilding.

 

How would I go about adding 802.11ac to a laptop that did not have it (instead had 802.11b/g/n)? Is it a simple replacement of a card? or a small circuit board?

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you replace the NIC card already installed and attach the antena wires used on the old card to the new one. I've done maybe 5 or so swaps from G to N cards and I know N requires two antenas, I'm not sure how many AC needs.

 

edit: answered my own question (2 antenas). you need a card like this (or this because intel is awesome) Intel 7260HMW IEEE 802.11AC

 

On the dell laptops it's usually next to the ram slots but one of them I had was under the keyboard . it's easy enough to get to , just removing a few screws on the back is easier than like 15 . I would suggest looking up how to take apart your laptop and where the card is located .

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It's a simple (usually) and rather cheap upgrade and I was going to recommend the same card as bluecow.  I plan on updating my own laptops once I figure out if I'm going to replace one of my older ones soon and what's going to happen with the MSI I have (Though it has a rather good N card now).

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for Internet usually G is about as fast as you need but N and now AC have a larger range . I think the only useful feature is transfer speed to other computers . it's faster for me to put it on a flash drive or external than to use wifi.

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