How To Upgrade Your Laptops
Internal Wireless PCI-E Mini Card
It wasn’t long ago that laptops were considered luxury items only seen in the arms of business professionals.
Even then changing out an embedded wifi module on such an expensive and complicated piece of equipment was always left to the computer nerds.
Over the last decade it’s become a common site to see consumers of all ages upgrading PC components.
With the wireless age expanding at an astonishing rate, it has become very necessary to upgrade the Wi-Fi module inside your laptop, because with wireless technology changing at such a rapid pace your laptop can appear old before its time.
We going to take you through the steps of removing an 802.11g embedded wifi module in a laptop.
WHNME will show you how to upgrade it to a 802.11n WiFi module with an advanced multi-in multi-out MIMO technology antenna.
This up upgrade procedure will bring your laptop up to current wireless speeds.
Since there are many brands of laptops, accessing the wifi transmitter compartment won’t be exactly the same for everybody, so we’re going to show you an example of all the fundamental steps that need to be performed, and then you can select the procedure that fits your configuration.
WiFi receivers come in a variety of sizes and standards like 802.11a/b/g/ and /n for WiFi or 802.16d/e for WiMAX Providers.
Before purchasing an embedded WiFi module make sure you research your make and model to find a Wi-Fi module that will be compatible with your system, and also always compare pricing with our Wireless Network Store.
Anytime you’re working on electronic equipment, power cords and batteries should be removed to prevent possible damage to sensitive components as electromagnetic discharge may occur during installation, and always remember to wear a grounding strap around your wrist when touching computer hardware.
Uninstalling Wi-Fi module: (Drivers)
The first thing you need to do when upgrading your wireless module in your laptop, is to remove the software drivers that allow the operating system to communicate with the installed WiFi adapter.
- Click on the Start button and type the following command into the “Search programs and files” field.
- “Press Enter” This opens the Device Manager Applet.
- Navigate down the Device Manager until you find “Network Adapters” category, and Click the drop-down arrow to reveal all the adapters installed in the system.
- Locate your laptops Wireless Network Adapters installed driver you wish to upgrade and “right click” on the appropriate adapter you wish to remove from the system, and Select “Uninstall” from the menu.
This removes the software and network drivers associated with your current wireless adapter installed in the system. After the wireless adapter has been removed from Device Manager, close all remaining open windows, shutdown the system and proceed to the next section.
Removing existing WiFi modules:
Now that the device drivers have been removed, we can begin the process of removing the existing wireless adapter from the system.
- Shutdown the laptop and remove all sources of power by unplugging the AC power adapter, and ejecting the battery from the bottom or rear of the system.
- Turn the laptop upside down and remove the screw securing the WiFi receiver access panel.
- Open the access panel revealing the Wireless PCI-E Mini Card.
- Identify the wifi transmitter antenna configuration and Unplug the antennas terminal gently off the embedded wifi module being careful not to damage the connectors.
Any color antenna cable may be assigned, to any terminal connector. The WiFi receiver for 802.11g series Wi-Fi modules will have 2 antenna terminals colored grey and black, and 802.11n draft series WiFi modules will have 3 antenna terminals to accommodate the advanced MIMO antenna technology colored white, grey and black.
- Remove the screws securing the existing Mini PCI-E Wireless Module, and slowly remove the WiFi modules connecting edge from the mini PCI-E socket, and place it into an ESD bag for safe storage.
If your wireless mini card is held in by 2 metal tabs located at the rear end of the module, gently push the two tabs located on each side away from the card to release the module until it pops up at a 30 degree angle safe for removal.
Installing a new Wi-Fi module:
Now that the older wireless adapter is removed, we can begin to install the new wireless module into the system.
- Insert the new wireless mini card into the available PCI-E slot at a 30 degree angle noting that the card is designed to only fit in one way.
- Gently press the back of the card unit the connecting pins seat completely into the socket and that the pins are evenly aligned all the way across.
- With the wireless card in place, Latch and Secure the holding tabs or fasten the screws to secure the module depending on which applies to your laptop.
- Re-attach the wireless antenna cables to the wifi receiver terminals, making sure they are securely fastened to the connectors, and remember it does not matter which color antenna wire is assigned to the terminals, laptop wifi internal antennas are virtually the same on the element side.
If your older laptop does not have a 3rd antenna wire to attach to the 802.11n draft WiFi modules “Terminal #3”, then only connect 2 antenna wires for now to terminals 1 and 2. To take advantage of the advanced MIMO antenna technology you’ll need to purchase and install a 3rd Internal WiFi antenna for your laptop.
- Close the cover to the Wireless PCI-E Mini Card compartment, and secure the panel with the screw that was removed to gain access earlier.
- Re-install the main battery and plug in the AC power adapter, and power on the laptop.
- As the laptop is completing its post cycle, you will be prompted by the operating system to install the WiFi receiver driver that was provided with wireless mini card at the time of purchase.
After the wireless card drivers are installed your laptop will be ready for wireless LAN communications.
The upgrade process is now complete!
That’s it! You will find that with a little research and practice you will be able to install just about any replaceable component inside your PC or laptop, and save yourself a considerable amount of money at the same time.