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Good internal WiFi/Bluetooth card for notebook?


Enigma83
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A few days ago a rare thing happened.......my laptop's WiFi card "burned out", just stopped working. It wouldnt detect networks, nothing. It was a Intel WiFi Link 1000, in a 4 yr old Alienware M14X R1 laptop. I took it to a technician, he plugged the card into several other laptops, proving it was dead. He also plugged in several other cards into my slot, as proof that the card itself died, rather than the slot it was plugged into, which of course would indicate bigger issues. All the cards he tried worked. So now I'm borrowing a friend's USB WiFi adapter until I can get a replacement.

I have an interest in WiFi hacking, networking/security, pentesting, etc, and if I wanted just a run of the mill chip, I wouldn't bother posting here. But I'm not very experienced and dont know exactly what to look for, the makings of a good chip. I want something that is relatively recent and will work on all the latest Windows OSes, as well as having excellent Linux support. That pretty much rules out Broadcom, LOL, had issues with them and Linux in my older Lenovo notebook. I've been thinking an Intel chip would work well. Support for all the latest protocols (802.11A/B/G/N) is a must. I'm looking for something that is dual band, so I can utilize both the 2.x and 5.x spectrums. And it preferably will have Bluetooth built into the same chip, again, with support for the latest protocols. If it is capable of things like packet injection, adhoc, master mode/monitor mode, etc, then that would be even better. Being able to wire in an additional internal antenna is nice too.

Thanks in advance for any advice/product recommendations!

Edited by Enigma83
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@ metratron: Thanks for the info, that card looks nice (and very recent). It seems to have everything I need, very much suitable for general usage. But more on the hacking side of things, does it have capabilities like injection, etc? I'm trying to find a spec sheet now. What I've read says it also has Bluetooth, but.......I'm reading I'll need to manually attach antennas to get that working. Is that hard to do/feasible? Are the antennas typically included with the chip or do they need to be bought separately? I'm guessing I can buy them at RadioShack or whereever (locally) if need be.

I'm going to hold off awhile longer before buying, to see if anyone else has other product suggestions.

Thanks again!

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You said internal card, when you remove your old one, you disconnect the MMCX connectors going to your laptop's internal antennas (I have no idea how many you laptop has.) and then insert the new card, connect the same antennas onto the new card.

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I don't think my laptop has any dedicated wired antennas (and by that I do mean a literal wire), just the 2 standard connector pins. When I say antenna I mean a (3rd) wire, in addition to the 2 standard pin connectors. Which is something most laptops don't have. I'd just like to greatly increase receptivity and take advantage of BT (something I currently don't have, and would be great for connecting to my Note 3, PlayStation 3 controller, etc).

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I just noticed that the Intel 7265 seems to require a M.2 connector, which my 2011 Alienware doesn't have. I just have the older standard mini-PCIe half-size chip that is common in notebooks from 2010 onward. I'm also reading that there is a M.2 adapter that can make these old slots compatible with the newer card interface. But there seems to be several variants of this adapter. Could someone please post links to the exact adapter I'll need?

With that said, if noone has any other internal chip suggestions, then the 7265 it will most likely be for me.

Thanks in advance!

Edited by Enigma83
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So.......I recently posted on the Intel Community forums, to see if there is such a thing as an M.2 to mini PCIe half size adapter. I didnt get far, an Intel rep quickly responded that such adapters arent supported, and stated that it is in essense illegal for the end user to install a WLAN card in their notebook. His response was that the installation must be done by the manufacturer or a licensed tech. So it's clear that I wont be getting any help there.

The 7265 comes in a M.2 2230 and M.2 1216 form factor. What is the difference and which should I get? When buying the 7265 how can/will I know which form factor it uses?

I would also appreciate a product link to the adapter I'll need. I found http://www.amazon.com/NGFF-PCI-E-Adapter-Support-MPCIe/dp/B00IKAJ328/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1433952357&sr=1-5&keywords=m.2+to+mini+pcie, http://www.amazon.com/Bplus-M2MU2-NGFF-PCI-E-Adapter/dp/B00KHMTAB6/ref=sr_1_9?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1433952357&sr=1-9&keywords=m.2+to+mini+pcie, and http://www.amazon.com/Generic-Express-Adapter-Converter-Support/dp/B00S24TPC0/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1433952357&sr=1-3&keywords=m.2+to+mini+pcie. But I'm not sure which one I would need, and want to buy the correct adapter the first time. Where can I find installation instructions? Or should it be a relatively simple affair?

I'm also thinking that maybe the Intel 7260, although slightly older than the 7265, might be a better bet since it natively supports mini PCIe half mini slots. But I've also reading that many have had connection issues with it. But the real question for me is, even though it may be a good general purpose card, is it any good for hacking/pentesting/etc? How does the 7260 stack up against the 7265?

Thanks for any help!

Edited by Enigma83
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an Intel rep [...] stated that it is in essense illegal for the end user to install a WLAN card in their notebook. His response was that the installation must be done by the manufacturer or a licensed tech.

Which only proves that idiocy is still thriving in this world.

What a load of bollocks.

The 7265 comes in a M.2 2230 and M.2 1216 form factor. What is the difference and which should I get?

If you'd googled "M.2 2230" at the top of the list you'd find this link which explains everything.

Which to get depends on what your laptop supports, so open it up, take out the current card, maybe even take it out if you're unsure. Measure it yourself if nothing is marked. Now you know.

When buying the 7265 how can/will I know which form factor it uses?

It should say so in the product description.

Where can I find installation instructions? Or should it be a relatively simple affair?

It should be relatively simple, but the only one who can help you here is the maker of the laptop. They should be able to tell you which compartment to open up by removing which screws to get to the current device. After that it's just a matter of removing the current antenna (should be able to just pull it off), pushing out the current card, inserting a new one in the now-empty slot, reattach the antenna's by plugging them back in again, close up the lid and you're done.

I have no experience with hacking with a laptop adapter, so someone else is going to have to fill that in.

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It seems I'm being misunderstood when I use the word adapter. My notebook's WLAN slot *only* *supports* mini PCIe half mini sized cards. My laptop has no M.2 slots of any kind.

The ROG article you linked refers to SSDs. I already have one, but it uses a SATA connector, not M.2 I'm still digesting the article but dont see how it applies to WLAN cards.

All this is why I posted for help, asking if there is such a thing as an adapter (not a WLAN adapter) that can allow a M.2 card to be connected into a standard half mini slot. Even posting 3 links to ser if someone could say whether they would be compatible for my purposes.

Not trying to sound rude, just trying to clear up any potential misunderstanding.

Edited by Enigma83
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So you're looking for one of these?

The ROG article explains M.2's 2230 vs 1216, which was one of your questions and the reason I linked it. Doesn't matter if the device in question is SSD or something else. The number refers to the size of the thing you plug into the M.2 slot.

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