When we started this project, we wanted to see just how difficult to replace and change out your existing wireless card and replace it with a new and modern one. The Intel 7260 802.11ac card was a breeze to install and provided instant results and increased performance numbers.
When looking at the LAN Speed Test data however, it was quite obvious how the Average Read Speeds were affected where we saw an approximately 103%-130% speed increase over WiFi-N. The weird thing for us is when you looked Average Write Speeds, they were fast, but not as fast as we had expected. We played around with our router’s channels and were able to increase the speeds, however. Our lesson here was that these mobile WiFi cards are really sensitive to the channels that they are tuned to. Our recommendation is to try out various channels on your router paired up to the WiFi-AC card to determine which is the best sweet spot for your system.
When recalling the actual installation of the WiFi-AC adapter, I have to admit I was really expecting something more challenging. The fact that our Dell only needed one small Philips screwdriver was fantastic. It was also nice to see that there was already an extra antenna lead just in case I wanted to go to a 3×3 WiFi solution in the future. As it was, this $30 upgrade was well worth it.
Today’s upgrade shows that you can easily breath new life into your legacy Laptop or Netbook with a simple move to Wireless-AC. Now instead of complaining about how slow your laptop is transferring files or loading that multimedia-heavy webpage, your older laptop will find its fountain of youth with the assistance of WiFi-AC.
Many people have been putting off purchasing an AC-ready routers because they don’t think they have enough legacy wireless devices to justify the cost. Well prices for both routers and adapters have been falling since last year and you can not only get WiFi-AC Routers for under $100, and you can pick up one of these WiFi-AC adapters for $25-$30 making the move to faster wireless very affordable.
Legit Bottom Line:
For less than $30 a simple upgrade for your WiFi card can totally transform your older model laptop. Our tests really just confirmed what we already knew – that 802.11ac can more than double the wireless speeds over a traditional Wireless-N network adapter. This simple upgrade will certainly extend the life of your older laptop or notebook.