Upgrading an Old Dell Latitude Laptop With The Intel 7260 HMW 802.11ac Wireless Card

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Upgrading Your Computer’s WiFi Card to 802.11ac

Intel_WiFi_AC

Our Dell Latitude E6410 has been a workhorse in the Legit Bunkers since we purchased it a few years ago. It was never designed to be a desktop replacement, but it is very capable in the field as it is light and is just solid with everything we throw at it.  Lately, we have been working with very large video and image files in the office and since we connect via wireless, we are starting to get a bit impatient…especially when we compare it to any of the Gigabit-connected desktop machines or even our 3-antenna Alienware M17x came equipped with an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 AGN adapter that worked at WiFi-N speeds of up to 300Mbps. 

Intel_WiFi_AC-7For less than $30.00, we were able to pick up an Intel 2-antenna 802.11ac wireless adapter from Newegg. The Intel 7260 HMW Dual-Band Mini PCI Express combo adapter is rated to work at speeds up to 867Mbps over 5.0 GHz and 300Mbps over 2.4 GHz bandwidths. The 7260 also features dual mode Bluetooth 4.0 technology where you can pair one of the newest low energy Bluetooth devices to the computer. This adapter also includes Intel’s WiDi (Wireless Display) where you can watch the multimedia content that is on your Laptop or PC on your Living room’s HD screen. 

Intel_WiFi_AC-2

Intel WiFi-AC 7260 Featured Specifications:

                     Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260

Essentials

 

Status

Launched

 

Launch Date

Q2’13

 

Board Form Factor

PCIe Half Mini Card/ M.2 (NGFF)

 

Weight (in grams)

4

 

Operating Temperature

0°to 80°

 

Supported Operating Systems

Win7, Win8, Linux

 

Networking Specifications

 

TX/RX Streams

2×2

 

Bands

2.4 GHz, 5 GHz

 

Max Speed

300/867 Mbps

 

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED*

802.11 ac/a/b/g/n

 

Compliance

PCI, CISP, FIPS, FISMA

 

Integrated Bluetooth

Yes

 

System Interface Type

PCIe/ USB

 

Advanced Technologies

 

Intel® Wireless Display

Yes

 

4G WiMAX Wireless Technology

No

 

Supported Under vPro

Yes

 

Intel® Smart Connect Technology

Yes

 

 

 

So let’s go ahead and see what it takes to install our new Intel WiFi card in our Dell laptop.

 

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  • pharmacol

    My ASUS F3Jm has a mini PCIe card and these INTEL cards are half-size mini cards. Failed to notice this before ordering one.
    I guess I will be looking for some sort of adapter

  • Mark Spears

    Hey I was wondering about doing this with my Dell D630. I have a 4965agn in it which is only draft N. I just bout an AC dsl router combo and saw your post. Made me think about getting a newer wireless card.

  • Trevor Hardy

    As I said about your most recent article on the subject of upgrading mini/micro PCI-Express card wifi devices, EVERYONE with an HP laptop can just forget about this unless they purchase the upgrade card from HP – cards not included in HP’s white list will brick the laptop until they’re removed. Toshiba also do this for most models, while other manufacturers have implemented it to varying degrees.

    • Digtial Puppy

      Good point. Def. check the white lists from the manufacturer and check the prices before you buy. I have the feeling that a $25 part on Newegg will cost $40+ from the manufacturer.

      • Trevor Hardy

        The problem is, for many manufacturers (not just HP, but HP are particularly bad in this regard) they simply don’t offer updated cards for older model notebooks – why would they bother testing and qualifying outdated models? So that perfectly good 18-month old laptop that is going to do you fine for another two to three years just can’t be upgraded to 802.11AC. Period. Unless you use a USB wifi dongle, with it’s limited range and predisposition for snapping off if you’re not careful. Yay. Thanks, HP. Well done, Toshiba.

        The funny thing is, I used to sell quite a few Toshiba/HP/Lenovo business products, but once I came across this issue a few years ago and discovered just how pervasive it is from the big brands, I refuse to sell or recommend anything from them now.

    • dca919

      The only 3×3 PCIe mini card I know of is a DAXA-92 from Unex Technology, but you would lose the Bluetooth 4.0 and they aren’t a retail seller. If anyone can find a price on this one or knows of another 3×3 PCIe mini please reply…

      I did upgraded the Intel card into a Toshiba Satellite S55 notebook. Connected to a LAN to download the Intel drivers. Restarted and it worked just fine. So I am not sure about this being true for most Toshiba models.

      The pain was all the screws you had to remove to get under the keyboard to remove the mini pcie card. Unlike the Dell it only has 2 antennas.

      After that did an older ASUS A53E series for my parents and it also worked fine.

      Once the price comes back down to the $28 range (currently $33) will be doing it in my Toshiba A55 notebook…here’s to hoping I discover a 3rd Antenna.

    • Fred

      Not true. Most newer HP laptops (built within the past 5 years) do NOT restrict the use of the Intel 7260. It is a myth that they do. I have an HP Envy dv6, Intel 3rd generation Core i7-3630QM 2.4Ghz, that came installed with a Ralink RT5390 b/g/n adapter, a two-antenna model. I bought the Intel 7260ac adapter for $30 from Amazon, and within the 10 minutes it took to take the old one out and put the new one in, I was up and running. Just be sure to use the right drivers for the card. I had best results using the 16.xx version rather than the newest drivers (the new ones caused the card to stop functioning after a sleep/resume.

  • Paul Margettas

    I was thinking of upgrading myself.

  • basroil

    How does it fare with wireless N?

    • Digtial Puppy

      The WiFi-N performance was exactly the same as before the upgrade. This particular model seemed to be a bit slower in general, but we think that is the fault of the laptop and not the WiFi card.