Wireless card

Laptop wireless network cards

Laptop internal wireless network cards also know as WLAN card or Wi-Fi card come in different shapes ans sizes. On the picture above you see two most common internal wireless card types found in laptops.

Two wireless cards on the top have Mini PCI form factor connector and found mostly in older laptops.
Two wireless cards on the bottom have Mini PCI-E (Mini PCI Express) form factor connector and found mostly in newer laptops.

Mini PCI-E connector is not backward compatible with Mini PCI connector. In other words, you cannot install a Mini PCI-E wireless card into the Mini PCI slot.

The wireless card plugs into the Mini PCI or Mini PCI-E slot on the motherboard. Most internal cards have two small connectors for wireless antenna cables, some newer Mini PCI-E cards have three connectors and require three antenna cables.

On the picture below you see an internal Mini PCI wireless card connected to the laptop. As you see, there are two antenna cables connected to the card. One main antenna cable and one auxiliary antenna cables.

Mini-PCI-wireless-card-connected

In order to remove the wireless card, you’ll have to disconnect the antenna cables first. Grab firmly the antenna connector with your fingers and unsnap it from the card. Do the same with the second antenna cable. After that you remove the wireless card the same way as you remove the RAM module.
1. Spread latches on both sides of the card with your fingers and the card will pop up at a 20-30 degree angle.
2. Carefully pull the wireless card from the slot.

On the picture below you see a newer Mini PCI-E wireless card pluged into the slot on the motherboard. In my example the card has three antenna cables. Many Mini PCI-E cards have only two antenna cables.

This card connects to the motherboard differently than a Mini PCI card. Ther are no latches on the sides. The card is secured to the motherboard by two screws.

Mini PCI-E wireless card

In order to remove this card:
1. Disconnect all antenna cables from the card. Do not forget to make a note how cables are connected.
2. Remove two screws and the card will pop up at a 20-30 degree angle.
3. Carefully pull the wireless card from the slot.

On some laptops the internal wireless card could be accessed throught the hatch on the bottom, on other laptops it’s hidden under the keyboard or laptop cover.

56 comments on “Wireless card
  1. JASON LOKE says:

    Recently i just bought a new BigFoot Killer N1103 wireless card with 3 antenna pins required. But my old laptop wireless card only come with 2 antenna pins. Then the seller recommend me buy the tyco antenna so that can be used to Killer N1103. I am confusing here a bit . What is the 3 pins antenna labeled meant( CH0 CH1 CH2)in Killer N1103? I hope can a good answer for that. Thanks.

  2. COMMVIEW says:

    Hey…..
    Let’s use high power usb wifi or high power wifi repeater. rf output is about 500-1000mw.
    Laptop wifi card rf output power is 50mw only.
    Range solved!!!

  3. Mostafa says:

    I want to replace a Realtek RTL8187B Wireless 802.11b/g 54Mbps USB 2.0 Network Adapter version=62.1182.331.2010 with an adapter of the series N networks, is it possible?

    which kind is the best if possible?

  4. Darrel says:

    Hey Repair man, I got a brand new (about 30 days) compaq presario cq57 with intermittend connectivity issues. I took the back off to check the wireless card after doing all the software troubleshooting and there is only 1 black wire ran to the wireless card. It is plugged into the main and it runs the normal route up and around the lcd to the top. Is this a new configuration or did they just not run both lines at the factory?

  5. nurudeen says:

    thank you so much for the pictures and explanation,

  6. John Pitzer says:

    I want to replace a Realtek 8188CE PCI-e wireless adaptor with an Intel on a Toshiba L755 model. The realtek is junk, which Intel PCI-e card would be compatable? Thank you.

  7. San says:

    Hi,
    I have only 2 wires for my WiFi card…When I was taking one of the wires out…its connecting end broke off..So,Can it run normally without the AUX part ??

  8. Bob says:

    Hi,
    I have a toshiba satellite P755-S5215 with a broken white antenna wire that terminates to a chip on the motherboard and into the monitor to a flexable circut board… does anyone know where I can order one of these? It broke when the laptop was dropped and also broke a hinge I found replacement hinges but cant find this cable to order or the part #…… any help I would appreciate. Thanks, Bob

  9. josh says:

    hey i have a realtek wireless lan card… i connect it to my laptop… my card only have 2 antenna slots and my laptop have 3 antenna wires whis is 1 red and 2 black wires… my card doesnt have label for main and aux… it only has numbers 1 and 2… which wire do i have to connect and in what port should i connect them…. thanks//..

  10. Repair Man says:

    @ Patrick,

    While I was in the process of taking apart my Toshiba Portege M400, I accidentally snapped the primary antenna cable. Is it safe to just plug in the aux cable to the primary connector on the card?

    Yes, it’s safe.

  11. Patrick says:

    While I was in the process of taking apart my Toshiba Portege M400, I accidentally snapped the primary antenna cable. Is it safe to just plug in the aux cable to the primary connector on the card? If not, what are my options?

  12. Repair Man says:

    @ Lee,

    I was replacing the WLAN card on my Dell xps m1330 as I took the white antenna wire off, despite my most careful efforts, it broke off part of the receptacle on the existing WLAN card.
    This also damaged the end of the antenna wire.
    Can i use any of the other antenna wires on the new card instead?

    Try connecting just two wires instead of three wires. It’s possible the wireless card will work properly with just two wires connected. If the main wire is damaged, it still should work fine with the auxiliary wire.
    You can try different wire configurations. Connecting a “wrong” wire shouldn’t damage anything.

  13. Lee says:

    Hey I’m hoping someone here can help me cause I’m kind of up a creek without a paddle.
    I was replacing the WLAN card on my Dell xps m1330 as I took the white antenna wire off, despite my most careful efforts, it broke off part of the receptacle on the existing WLAN card.
    This also damaged the end of the antenna wire.
    Can i use any of the other antenna wires on the new card instead?
    There are 2 groups of 3 wires.
    Black, white, black and white
    And
    Blue, white (broken), black and white

    Will any other combo work?

    Thanks for the help

  14. Repair Man says:

    @ David,

    Im getting ready to do a antenna mod on my Dell e1705 laptop. Im ordering the connecter cables for the external antenna on ebay. My question is how would dual antennas work. I plan on mounting a antenna on each side of the top lid/screen. I dont know much about wave types etc and am wondering if the two antennas would some how hurt reception in tandom. Also would tying the antennas in and leaving the existing built in antennas hooked up be better or just disconnect the orginal when i install the new ones.

    I’m not sure why you are replacing antennas if you have them installed already.
    By the way, one antenna is the main one and another one auxiliary.

  15. David says:

    Hi,

    Im getting ready to do a antenna mod on my Dell e1705 laptop. Im ordering the connecter cables for the external antenna on ebay. My question is how would dual antennas work. I plan on mounting a antenna on each side of the top lid/screen. I dont know much about wave types etc and am wondering if the two antennas would some how hurt reception in tandom. Also would tying the antennas in and leaving the existing built in antennas hooked up be better or just disconnect the orginal when i install the new ones. Thanks!

  16. kamdoan says:

    Is there anyway to boost the reception for WiFi on my Toshiba Laptop – perhaps by replacing the antenna or card. At work my laptop does get WiFi, but the signal strength is always low and tends to kick in and out.

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