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AppleToTheCore.me

I'm a total Apple addict, as you might tell.

Msi WIND AirPort Extreme Upgrade

The Msi WIND comes with a Realtek 802.11g Wi-Fi card. That’s great, but in my house, the reception is shoddy at best. I can’t seem to get the signal strength to climb over 79%. And that’s with the laptop literally sitting on the access point. Sometimes it’s as low as 58% and I can’t get on the internet at all. I think it’s a driver issue, but since I have an AirPort Extreme N card sitting in my Mac Pro doing nothing, I figured I might as well throw it in the WIND for maximum Wi-Fi goodness!

The first thing to do is to remove the old card. After opening up the laptop, locate the Wi-Fi card and pop off the 2 antenna leads. Remove the black tape and unscrew the screw holding the card in place. Remove the card from the slot.

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Once the old card has been removed, you’ll notice that there is board stand left behind that gets in the way of a full-size Wi-Fi card. It has to be removed. It is soldered to the motherboard so you have to literally break it off. Be very careful not to slip and chip something off the motherboard. Also, make sure not to leave any metal shavings behind that could short something out. I found it was actually easier to break the board stand off by screwing the screw back in and grabbing the screw head with a pair of pliers. I then simply rocked back and forth slightly and it broke right off.

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Insert your new card, screw it down, and attach the antennas. In my case, I used the AirPort Extreme card from my 2008 Mac Pro. It is Apple part number MB363Z/A, model number BCM94321MC.

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I booted up the WIND and pressed Fn-F11 to enable Wi-Fi before OS X loaded. Once I was at a Desktop, I accessed the System Profiler to see if the card was detected/enabled. At first it detected the card, but said it was not turned on. This was strange since I was able to browse for a network.

I accessed my network settings from within System Preferences and deleted the initial AirPort card entry. I then added a new adaptor, choosing “AirPort”, and ran through the following setup assistant. All was good again. I was able to browse for and join my network and the new AirPort entry gave me the green light. I think the initial “AirPort” entry you get in the network list is bogus. You have to delete it and create a new one.

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I went back into the System Profiler and it showed my AirPort card to be active.

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Google also agreed.

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