How to upgrade Draft 802.11n draft WLAN adapter on 5742z-4200

I have an Acer Aspire 5742z-4200, and it came with a draft 802.11n mini PCI-E card.  I haven't needed much in the way of transfer speed out of the machine most of the time I've owned it, but now I suddenly do.  

 

I've purchased two Inetl 802.11 b/g/n/ac cards, assuming that PCI-E was a standard slot, and one card would work just like the next, but with different capabilities.  That seems not to bethe case.  After installing each, the PC has booted phenomenally slowly, but was able to load drivers, connec tot networks and even transfer files at blazing speed, compared to my 802.11g connection.  But overall the laptop is way too slow to use.  

 

A little Googling introduced me to the term "hardware whitelist".  I imagine it's also possible voltages, bus frequency or anything else involved could be incompatible.  The PC works fine with the old card in it, so I don't think I've damaged anything.  Does anybody know what I need to do to upgrade the WLAN card in my laptop?  Am I relegated to getting a USB adapter?

 

Thanks for your help!

Best Answer

  • asdfasdfasdf79asdfasdfasdf79 Member Posts: 4
    Accepted Answer

    OK, a little more application of Google-fu, and I read up more on the subject of taping pins with more recently introduced functions.  Pin 20 seemed to have something to do with a wireless radio disable feature that earlier PCIe slots/motherboards didn't know about.  The symptom seems to be no networks visible from an otherwise functional card.  Pin 51 looked like a newer feature/issue, and seemed to have something with the ability to disable more than one radio.  (The 802.11ac card I got has bluetooth as well.  It's made by chipzilla,a nd has the 2.4 and 5 Ghz frequencies for its WLAN function. I wanted both frequencies and 802.11ac, and had trouble finding one without Bluetooth.  It was $31.)

     

    This PC is pretty old now, (Core 2 Duo at 2 Ghz, DDR3 1333MHz RAM - a bit slow, but with a small SSD it's fine for my purposes.) and not worth a whole lot, and I back up all the time so I decided to give it a shot.  I don't know the rules here about posting links, so I'm not gonna, but they're not hard to find.  A couple of people have even posted an Chipzilla employee's revision to the mini PCIe spec. for the addition of the multiple radio on/off feature triggered on pin 51.  Taping pin 51 seems to have fixed the issue altogether.  

     

    My machine boots fast again now, the WiFi transfer rate is what it should be and though I don't have any use for Bluetooth, the devices all show up OK in Device Mangler.  I would guess that all of the 802.11ac cards with multiple radios have this pin 51 - multiple radio disable switch compatibility issue when used in older laptops.  I did look around a bit for one with no Bluetooth, but didn't see anything so I decided to try the hack.  If the thing starts to smoke or anything, I'll come back and update this thread.  I'd hate to propagate dangerous advice.

     

    Thanks again, Chris.

FAQ & Answers

  • Acupro1Acupro1 Member Posts: 14

    asdfasdfasdf79,

     

    If you are wanting AC you are almost assuredly stuck with either waiting for someone to find one that works and post it on the net or go buy a USB adapter.  It is an old emough model that ACER certainly is not going to continue to try to determin compatability and unless you want to keep buying and trying them you will have to waif for someone else who will or settle for the USB. 

     

    Chris

  • asdfasdfasdf79asdfasdfasdf79 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks, Chris!

    Looks like you've probably saved me some time then. Would you (or anyone else) happen to know if there is an adapter known to work that will do 802.11n? That's the generation router I have now, and I get good throughput with the cards I've tested with.

    Thanks!
  • asdfasdfasdf79asdfasdfasdf79 Member Posts: 4
    Accepted Answer

    OK, a little more application of Google-fu, and I read up more on the subject of taping pins with more recently introduced functions.  Pin 20 seemed to have something to do with a wireless radio disable feature that earlier PCIe slots/motherboards didn't know about.  The symptom seems to be no networks visible from an otherwise functional card.  Pin 51 looked like a newer feature/issue, and seemed to have something with the ability to disable more than one radio.  (The 802.11ac card I got has bluetooth as well.  It's made by chipzilla,a nd has the 2.4 and 5 Ghz frequencies for its WLAN function. I wanted both frequencies and 802.11ac, and had trouble finding one without Bluetooth.  It was $31.)

     

    This PC is pretty old now, (Core 2 Duo at 2 Ghz, DDR3 1333MHz RAM - a bit slow, but with a small SSD it's fine for my purposes.) and not worth a whole lot, and I back up all the time so I decided to give it a shot.  I don't know the rules here about posting links, so I'm not gonna, but they're not hard to find.  A couple of people have even posted an Chipzilla employee's revision to the mini PCIe spec. for the addition of the multiple radio on/off feature triggered on pin 51.  Taping pin 51 seems to have fixed the issue altogether.  

     

    My machine boots fast again now, the WiFi transfer rate is what it should be and though I don't have any use for Bluetooth, the devices all show up OK in Device Mangler.  I would guess that all of the 802.11ac cards with multiple radios have this pin 51 - multiple radio disable switch compatibility issue when used in older laptops.  I did look around a bit for one with no Bluetooth, but didn't see anything so I decided to try the hack.  If the thing starts to smoke or anything, I'll come back and update this thread.  I'd hate to propagate dangerous advice.

     

    Thanks again, Chris.

  • Wyvern15Wyvern15 Member Posts: 1

    Just wanted to thank you a milion for the info you posted here. I bought the Intel 7260-AC to replace the stock card in my 5742G-6426 and had the exact same prolems you did with the laptop being incredibly slow. I looked all over the internet for people having a similar problem but since my laptop is probably considered obsolete by technological standards I would find some things but not enough. I was just going to return the card and settle for draft-n or look for a USB solution at best until I saw your post. I did as the link said by taping Pin 51 and now everything works perfectly. For some reason the drivers from the Intel site would not install so I just let Windows  handle it. Everything is working great so now it is just a question of tweaking some settings to get it to where I want to be. 

  • asdfasdfasdf79asdfasdfasdf79 Member Posts: 4
    SWEET! Was hoping someone would find it helpful. Mine's still working flawlessly. Though I did get used to the speed awfully quickly. Smiley Happy I did some testing with the new router and old router, with AC enabled, disabled, 5Ghz radios enabled and disabled, etc. I didn't document it with a spreadsheet our anything, but it was pretty thorough. Transfer rates aren't mind-blowing compared to 802.11n, and my space is pretty small, under 1200 sq ft. For the extra trouble and cost of the 802.11ac router, I'd stick with 802.11n if I had to do it again. That is, if I could have found a non-draft 802.11n card, even with this card in 802.11n Mode only, it probably wasn't worth the upgrade on the router. I got an ASUS RT-1168U (1900 mbps router) and I'm getting 600-700-ish know connections with 300-400 mbps transfers, and I did a good deal of tinkering. Tried dd-wrt, then Tomato, then a custom tomato spin from some Canadian guy. I'm most used to dd-wrt, so I went back to that. Performance was about the same, but setup was easier with the Tomato-based options, for sure.

    But yeah, as far as getting a newer card in these old Acers goes, pin taping had worked great for me so far.
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