mini-pci wireless card(s) for Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop

I have a Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop running Windows XP. It has an Dell Truemobile 1300 internal mini-pci wifi card. This card works okay but it seems flaky at times and will drop the signal for seemingly no reason.

When I purchased the computer a few years ago I had the choice of getting either the 1300 or the 1400 wifi card and I got the 1300, it was slightly cheaper. After that, I had uneven wireless performance, sometimes pretty good, sometimes it would just die. On a Dell message board, some claimed the 1300 was a lemon and others said it was fine.

1400 owners seemed happier with their cards.

I've updated drivers for the 1300 and it works okay but still loses its network connections sometimes. At home there are three computers that share a Netgear wireless router. One is a desktop computer that has an external usb wireless device and it always works great, never any drops. I could get one of those but I only have two usb ports and don't want to use a hub for this.

So I thought about getting a 1400 wifi card if I could find one for the right price. So far I haven't found one, but Dell has a lot of different mini-pci wifi cards. I found a Dell Truemobile 1470 wifi card for sale, the seller claims it is compatible with my laptop even though Dell doesn't claim this on their web site.

Are all of the Dell mini-pci wifi cards basically interchangeable and just need different drivers? I don't want to throw good money after bad. Heck, I'd be happy to keep the wifi card I have if I could just make it work more reliably and a little faster.

Thanks for any help you can give!

-- David Swanger

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On 16 Jun 2006 06:58:38 -0700, "swangdb" wrote in :

Check for possible interference -- see Fast Fixes below.

TrueMobile 1300: Broadcom BCM4306 reference design TrueMobile 1400: Broadcom BCM4309 reference design

TrueMobile 1470: Broadcom BCM4318 reference design

1470 should be better than the earlier models, but I personally prefer:
  • Atheros AR5004G
  • Intel 2200BG
Reply to
John Navas

Replace it with either an Intel 2200 or 2915 a/b/g mini-pci card.

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No. Replace with anything except an Intel.

Reply to
Jerry Park

Add my vote for the Intel 2200BG card. Much better drivers, and I've never noticed the issues they are rumored to have.

Reply to
William P.N. Smith

On Sat, 17 Jun 2006 07:02:28 -0500, Jerry Park wrote in :

Why would you say that? Intel 2200BG is a very good card.

Reply to
John Navas

On Sat, 17 Jun 2006 09:10:32 -0400, William P.N. Smith wrote in :

Even the best products will get a certain amount of negative feedback -- there are people that will blame the product even when it's their own fault -- so the more popular the product, the more negative feedback there will be, and the Intel 2200BG is a very popular card. Thus it's important to weigh the relative amounts of positive and negative feedback, as well as the kind of negative feedback.

For example, see . Most of the votes are glowing. The one bad review was from someone that couldn't get it to work, probably the result of a computer BIOS lock; i.e., not the fault of the Intel card. The only other review at less than 5 stars is probably WEP (yuk!) cockpit error, since the Intel software does work properly.

Reply to
John Navas

I would say that because I have an Intel2915abg (same drivers as the

2200bg). It has connectivity issues. The connection speed varies wildly and disconnects when it drops to 1mbps. The transmit power settings can't be set permanently. That is, what ever you set it at changes back to about 40% each time the card is restarted.

Worked with that card over 6 months trying to get a stable connection. Tried every new Intel driver for the card. Intel never addressed the driver problems. I still have the card. Makes a good bookmark, but doesn't make a good wireless card.

All other cards I have ever used work well. Currently using an Atheros card which works extremely well.

The Intel cards really do have problems. But, as you note, many people are happy with them anyway. Thats fine. But doesn't make for a recommendation.

Reply to
Jerry Park

On Sat, 17 Jun 2006 09:26:05 -0500, Jerry Park wrote in :

It's nonetheless a *different* card.

  1. Transmit speed is set by the access point (not the card) as a function of error rate. You're probably getting a lot of errors.
  2. Interference may be the source of the problem (causing errors).
  3. Have you looked at the Statistics in the Intel software?
  4. The card may be defective.

Why would you want to set the transmit power? That's usually only an issue in ad hoc mode.

What specific driver problems?

Atheros (AR5004G) is my favorite, but I also like Intel.

What other specific problems? I find that Intel cards work quite well in general.

Fair enough, but you went well beyond that, based on only one bad experience that might be a sample defect, or not even the fault of the card, and it was a different card in any event.

Reply to
John Navas

I have the Intel 2200 and I have no issues. Why don't you send me your book

2915 bookmark?

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Yes. I realize that. But if you remove a card which is having continual connection and speed issues and replace it with a different card -- same computer system, same antenna -- and you no longer get any of those problems, you can discount interference. It is also pretty certain it was a problem with the hardware or with the drivers for the hardware.

If your card can't run at sufficient power to contact the AP, your connection is going to be bad. Most cards run at 100mw. The Intel defaults (and resets itself) to about 40 mw. That is probably part of the reason the connection speed varies so wildly.

Inability to permanently set the transmit power.

Many people profess satisfaction with Intel cards. I see a lot of others noting the same issues that I noted. One other thing I noted with Intel is that if you are using the Intel client, it will report an excellent signal even when the connection is so poor the connection is about to fail. I've noted people posting 'Whats wrong with my router. My Internet speed is like dial up but I have DSL'. Turns out the poster was using an Intel card. Replacing the card 'fixed' the router problem. Lots of things like that. I'm glad some people have good results with Intel cards. I just think they are a very poor implementation. Intel seems more interested in saving power in your notebook than providing good connection.

Reply to
Jerry Park

On Sat, 17 Jun 2006 13:16:25 -0500, Jerry Park wrote in :

Not necessarily -- different products can and do perform in different ways. I know of one network card that performs well except with Bluetooth interference, as compared to another card that's not as good, but handles Bluetooth interference better.

I doubt it. Intel actually sets the transmit power automatically by default, and that's not as big a difference as it might seem in any event. What matters is the balance between effective transmit power and receive sensitivity -- it won't help to have a card 'shouting' if it can't hear the other end -- so boosting transmit power alone isn't usually effective.

Sorry, but I don't see that as a "problem" -- at most it's a limitation, and not an unusual one, or that's likely to be a problem. Intel cards have performed well in my tests, equal to or better than most other cards.

That's usually when no data is flowing, when it's hard to detect signal quality problems -- what matters is the error rate when data is flowing.

With all products -- no matter how good the product, there are always people that had problems with it.

My own experience is that Intel performance and stability are first rank.

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