Replacing a miniPCI wifi card in a laptop

So I own a few laptops and none of them are that new. However they meet my requirements and I see no point in buying a new laptop at the moment. However for a while now I’ve been using a pcmcia wireless card as a replacement to the internal miniPCI wireless adapter. I decided it was time though to replace the internal adapter and stop using the pcmcia card. Here is what I did.

Please note: This is just a guide of what I personally did. You will void warranties if you take your laptop apart. Plus it is dangerous and you do this at your own risk. I recommend you ask a qualified expert to do upgrades.

Few years back I had salvaged a Broadcom BCM4306 miniPCI card out of a wireless access point router. There was no new firmware for the router and I had stopped using it. I knew the miniPCI card itself might prove useful one day.

Now all those years later I decided to use it. The laptop that required upgrading is a Toshiba Tecra 8200. It had different screw types over the wifi card area, which proved a pain to remove. Once the cover was removed it was easy enough to unclip and remove the old lucent miniPCI card.

photo above: old lucent miniPCI adapter

Only problem was the antenna connectors were in different positions and one of them wouldn’t reach the new connection on the replacement miniPCI card. This is where the fun started!

I took the laptop apart and followed the route the antenna leads took and realized I could adjust the cable to provide a little bit more length. So I removed two strips and adjusted the cable, then replaced the strips to secure the cable. I then at the front of the laptop area, roughly to the left of where the mouse pad sits adjusted the cable to pass on the extra cable.

photo above:  top right is where I placed a new strip. bottom right is where I eventually placed another strip and far left is where I had to feed the extra length through.

I was then able to connect both antenna connectors. I then put the laptop back together. Luckily I had suitable screws spare to replace the ones the wifi cover used. Please note the photo below shows the ram cover on first. Actually the wifi cover has to go on first and then the ram cover.

A little bit of research on the web and it turns out the Broadcom BCM4306 (my actual model is a BCM4306KFB) is also rebranded as a Dell Wireless 1490. So I downloaded Dell’s drivers. The Dell archive tried to auto install, but complained about no compatible hardware. I manually installed the drivers instead, rebooted and now can use the new adapter.

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11 years ago

The Future is WiMax: WiFi on Steroids. WiFi networks (802.11) are being implemented to improve productivity, add convenience, and reduce costs.