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WLAN 11n miniPCIe cards


mobilenvidia

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Thought I'd get this confusing array of devices available, and explain what each can do.

The cards in red are clickable to OxfordTEC where they can be purchased and more info can be gotten.

Probably the most piece of mind here, with tracked shipping and a warranty.

Intel based cards can be purchased of Ebay or such like sources, but often without warranties and associated risks involved

Broadcom based cards are mainly in the form of Dell WLAN cards 1500, 1505, 1510 and 1515 also available on Ebay and such places.

MiniPCIe cards come in Noteboks with Core2Duo's and above, if you have a Pentium M based Notebook then you need to get your self a MiniPCI card

All the cards below are MiniPCIe and draft 11n, I think the most easily available devices out there.

GIGABYTE Aircruiser N300 GN-WS30N

Gigabyte_ws30n_big.jpg

Ralink RT2860 based

3 antenna connectors

11n - 2.4Ghz only

Client Utility works in all OS's

Linux and MacOS support from Ralink website.

Very good driver/Client utility support.

SparkLAN WPEA-110N

Sparklan_wpea-110n_big.jpg

Atheros AR9280 based.

2 Antenna connectors

11n - 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz

Client Utility only works in XP (properly)

No official Linux or MacOS support

Very good driver updates, but drivers are very BETA like and not very reliable

NMI problem from AR5008 fixed, runs more stable but not as fast as AR5008

GIGABYTE GN-WI06N

wi06n_big.jpg

Atheros AR5008 based

3 Antenna connectors

11n - 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz

Client Utility only works in XP (properly)

No official Linux or MacOS support

Very good driver updates, but drivers are very BETA like and not very reliable

Once working, it VERY fast with throughput, fastest tested so far.

Has NMI issues with quite a few i945 based Notebooks

SparkLAN WPEA-124N

Sparklan%20WPEA-214N.jpg

Atheros AR5008 based

3 Antenna connectors

11n - 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz

Client Utility only works in XP (properly)

No official Linux or MacOS support

Very good driver updates, but drivers are very BETA like and not very reliable.

Has NMI issues with quite a few i945 based Notebooks

Intel WiMAX 5350

i5350.jpg

3 Antenna connectors (only 3T/3R device in this round up)

WiMAX - 2.5Ghz

11n - 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz

Client Utility works in all OS's but not very tweakable

No official Linux or MacOS support

Only card capable of 450Mbps when routers ever support it to do so.

Good driver support from Intel.

Drivers/device refuse to start with all i915 and some i965 chipset based Notebooks

Intel WiFi 5300

i5300.jpg

3 Antenna connectors (only 3T/3R device in this round up)

11n - 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz

Client Utility works in all OS's but not very tweakable

No official Linux or MacOS support

Only card capable of 450Mbps when routers ever support it to do so.

Good driver support from Intel.

Drivers/device refuse to start with all i945 and some i965 chipset based Notebooks

Intel WiFi 4965

i5300.jpg

3 Antenna connectors

11n - 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz (Full 300mbps only in 5Ghz)

Client Utility works in all OS's but not very tweakable

Fully supported on Linux

Good driver support from Intel.

Intel WiFi 5100

i5100.jpg

2 Antenna connectors (1T/2R = 300Mbps receive/150Mbps send)

11n - 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz (But only at 150Mbps transmit)

Client Utility works in all OS's but not very tweakable

No official Linux or MacOS support

Only card capable of 450Mbps when routers ever support it to do so.

Good driver support from Intel.

Drivers/device refuse to start with all i945 and some i965 chipset based Notebooks

Broadcom 94321 (ie Dell WLAN 1500 and 1505)

broadcom_94321.jpg

2 Antenna connectors

11n - 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz

Client Utility is very basic in Vista, good in XP

Driver support fairly poor, can take many months for an update.

Broadcom 94322 (ie Dell WLAN 1510/1515)

broadcom_94322.jpg

2 Antenna connectors

11n - 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz

Client Utility is very basic in Vista, good in XP

Driver support fairly poor, can take many months for an update.

1/2 height card, very small so will not be securable in most older notebooks as the clips/screws won't reach.

Here are my thoughts on the above:

Intel WiFi cards, I can only recommend these for the very latest Notebooks where there is no other choice and if you have a choice GET a i53x0 !!

The i4965 will be OK for older chipset Notebooks based on the i945/965 and you don't mind using 130Mbps @ 2.4Ghz or 300Mbps @ 5Ghz

Intel make devices that are pretty boring where there is hardly anything to tweak.

Broadcom cards like their Intel counterparts are also very boring (why Dell choose them), they are reliable but the 94321 chipset getting old now.

Dell's WLAN 1510/1515 not sure on the difference, are 1/2 height cards and will struggle to fit in most notebooks as the clips will not be able to hold it down.

The 1505/1510 are based 94322 chipset, newer but not sure what the differences are over the 94321 chipset.

Atheros AR5008 based cards, before I found the NMI fix, this card was not usable on my Dell i9400 without instant NMI/Parity errors.

I did how ever get the fastest through put with the Gigabyte version of all the cards I tested, although very fiddly to get it to go that fast reliably.

Drivers are tweakable with the modded INF, it allows tweaking of various setting from device properties.

Cleint utility and lack of it in Vista, is a big let down for these cards.

If you want raw speed and don't have a i945 based Notebook and don't want a Client Utility in Vista then these are for you.

Atheros 9280 based card, has the NMI issue fixed, not as fast as the 5008 cards but more stable.

Also has the issue of no Client Utility in Vista but good choice if you have an older intel chipset i945/i965 based laptop where the AR5008 will cause issues.

This paired with an Atheros based router (there are many) will give very good reliable performance.

Drivers are released very often but fixes are very slow to come.

Ralink RT2860, this is the card I use now and until I find a better one will be my card of choice.

Not the fastest card on the block but most reliable by far.

The excellent Client Utility is great to use for tweaking.

Driver support is also excellent, not as often as Atheros but every few months with good history of what's been updated.

There you have it, making a WIFI choice is very important for me, as it's used everyday and when I go on the road I want reliability to connect and be able to actually use it.

There are other based cards like Realtek, but these seem to only be included with Notebooks no aftermarket products.

Hope this is of use to you guys.

Now the follow up article will the "how to install my new WIFI card" with piccies and also how to install an extra antenna should it be needed

[uPDATE 14-2-2009]

Added i4965 card, was on my list but slipped through the net :)

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Woah! Excellent written!

Been looking for something like this FOREVER!

Will consider either the GIGABYTE Aircruiser N300 GN-WS30N, GIGABYTE GN-WI06N or the SparkLAN WPEA-110N!

Any idea if any of those are actually able to get 300MBps with D-Link DIR-655 routers?

I've currently got a Intel WiFi / WiMax 5100 in my Lenovo ThinkPad SL-300 and have always found these Intel cards very reliable!

So would any of those three be a noticeable upgrade for me in terms of performance or reliability?

And what's the difference between the SparkLAN WPEA-124N and GIGABYTE GN-WI06N considering they are both Atheros AR5008 based?

Really looking forward to the follow up!

Especially regarding adding additional antennas, as my ThinkPad only got 2x antennas and I've always wanted to install a third one!

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I've been meaning to do this for quite sometime.

I also have a DIR-655, it's Atheros based.

So the best performance will be with the Atheros based cards.

But with the latest Ralink drivers I'm getting 300Mbps connection to the DIR-655 as well (older driver gave 270Mbps)

The i5100 will only give you a max transmit speed of 150Mbps to the DIR-655 (but you need FW1.21)

There is little difference between the Gigabyte and Sparklan Ar5008 cards, but I found the Gigabyte slightly more stable.

They are ever so slightly different, Sparklan uses an Atheros reference board, Gigabyte a slightly different one for it's own needs.

The follow up unless something goes wrong will be done next week.

Just so busy at the moment.

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Looking forward to it! In the meanwhile I might get one of those Gigabyte Atheros based cards!

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Which wireless card is the best choice for the Acer Aspire 5920 ? ( core2duo t7500 with i915 )

It has a intel 4965agn with 2 antennas but i don't know if any card with 3 antennas will work.

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Which wireless card is the best choice for the Acer Aspire 5920 ? ( core2duo t7500 with i915 )

It has a intel 4965agn with 2 antennas but i don't know if any card with 3 antennas will work.

The i4965 has 3 antenna connectors, are you sure it's only using 2 actual antenna's ?

Personally I would go for the Ralink based card, it just does as it should and does it well.

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My intel 4965agn wireless card has 3 connectors but my notebook has only 2 internal antennas.

I don't know if it is possible to attach one more internal anenna because it needs to be long i think

http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/2008/img0440mr9.jpg

weird Acer solution i think, max wireless transfer rate is 130mbit with 2 antennas

Unless you are fearless and quite happy to pull the cover of your Notebook LCD lid then get the short antenna and put somewhere in the Notebook

It will fit somewhere around the keyboard, best place is in the lid hinge if you have the right kind of hinge.

My antenna guide is taking shape in my head, just need to put it to paper (well forum pages :) )

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Unless you are fearless and quite happy to pull the cover of your Notebook LCD lid then get the short antenna and put somewhere in the Notebook

It will fit somewhere around the keyboard, best place is in the lid hinge if you have the right kind of hinge.

My antenna guide is taking shape in my head, just need to put it to paper (well forum pages :) )

I tried to get max speed on my intel 4965agn but it will stack at 130mbit

Connect a antenna on the third connector around the keyboard.

I read something about the 5ghz thing which must be enabled but i can't find this option.

Maybe i'm doing something wrong :)

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I tried to get max speed on my intel 4965agn but it will stack at 130mbit

Connect a antenna on the third connector around the keyboard.

I read something about the 5ghz thing which must be enabled but i can't find this option.

Maybe i'm doing something wrong :)

I have the same card in my xps m1530 - intel only allows 300mbit if the router you are using supports the 5.0ghz range.

Mine (netgear dgn2000) does not.

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Just to clarify - the dell website states that the wlan 1510 requires a router operating at both 2.4ghz and 5ghz to achieve 300Mbps is this right?

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I have the same card in my xps m1530 - intel only allows 300mbit if the router you are using supports the 5.0ghz range.

Mine (netgear dgn2000) does not.

That's to bad, i have netgear wnr834b v2 router and it only supports 2,4ghz to.

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  • 2 months later...
Guest Guest

Well... I have installed the N300 and have a question. When I open the Wireless Mgmt Utility I see a Transmit Link speed of 270 but a Receive Link speed of 54. Any ideas?

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