Question Dell Inspiron 15 5000 5585 WLAN card replacement

MadScientist

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Jul 15, 2001
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I recently purchased this laptop for $450. The specs looked decent for the price. https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-laptops/inspiron-15-5000-laptop/spd/inspiron-15-5585-laptop/nnbuc5am102s I should have read this review first. https://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-Inspiron-15-5000-5585-Laptop-Review-An-Excellent-Alternative-to-Intel.428556.0.html
Unfortunately it came with a 1x1 Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 WLAN card. Its range is horrible. I have an Asus RT-AC66U router with the latest firmware and have no problems connecting to other wireless devices anywhere in my house. The speed of the Qualcomm QCA9377 is ok if you are in the same room with my router, but drops significantly just a few feet away and to zero on both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands at 30' from the router. I have tried tweaking settings on my router and the laptop but nothing helps to increase its range.
The Qualcomm is a M.2 1630 card but the motherboard's WLAN socket will support a M.2 2230 card.
csm_MG_5855_08b4f9a2a4.jpg
My question is: Is it possible to replace the 1x1 WLAN card with a 2x2 card, i.e., the Intel AC 9260, or do I have to stick with a 1x1 card like the Intel AC 3168? https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/wireless/wireless-products.html
 

heymrdj

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May 28, 2007
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Unless you want to replace the top cover with a new cover that has both embedded antennas as well as the cables to the wifi slot, stick with a 1x1 card. I haven't seen a 2x2 card that handles only one antenna being placed, it normally hurts reception. The Intel AC 3168 will be your best option.
 
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MadScientist

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Jul 15, 2001
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Thanks for the reply. I was hoping for a different answer, but I had also read somewhere that a 2x2 WLAN card uses one more antenna than a 1x1 card that's embedded in the screen bezel or in the top cover. The Intel AC 3168 card is going for ~$8-$10. on eBay for a new pull. I will give it a try. To put a 1x1 WLAN card in a laptop that has a $779.MSRP price just to save a few cents is just dumb.
From the previously linked review, "The 1x1 Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 performs at only one-fourth the speed of the more common 2x2 Intel 9260."

I also contacted Dell about the short range of the Qualcomm card. They will be sending me another. I don't think it's going to make a difference. It is what it is.

Edit, 1/11:
The Dell laptop was purchased to replace my wife's 6 year old Lenovo laptop. It has an Intel 1x1 AC 3165 WLAN. At 30' from our router I was getting 15 Mbps down on the 2.4Ghz band. Not great but still enough for browsing. Yesterday I replaced the Qualcomm QCA9377 WLAN card with the Intel AC 3165. It fit perfectly and I had no problems loading the Intel wifi and BT drivers. In the Dell laptop though I only got 2.5 Mbps down. Why??, does the Lenovo laptop have a better antenna??
Finally got a message back from Dell support: "I'd like to inform you that a 2x2 Intel 9260 card would work with the system. However, we can't upgrade/change the WIFI antenna as it is a part of the LCD i.e it comes as a complete kit."
 
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jeffmr4

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Jan 12, 2020
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I have an Intel AC 7265 that I upgraded mine with. It seems to work fine. Not sure if the range or speed have improved though. I also will note that I had a little trouble getting the antenna leads attached to the card. I wasn't sure if they were in (they never popped) but the card seems to work fine.
 

MadScientist

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Jul 15, 2001
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I have an Intel AC 7265 that I upgraded mine with. It seems to work fine. Not sure if the range or speed have improved though. I also will note that I had a little trouble getting the antenna leads attached to the card. I wasn't sure if they were in (they never popped) but the card seems to work fine.
Yeah I know what Dell said but I'm going to try an Intel AC 9260. I ordered one new from Amazon for $13.29 shipped. https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Wireless-Ac-9260-2230-Gigabit/dp/B079QH5KW1/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Intel+Wireless-Ac+9260,+2230,+2X2+Ac+Bt,+Gigabit,+No+Vpro&qid=1578826992&sr=8-3 I should get it on Tuesday. I'll post back what speeds and range I get. From what I have read for a non-Intel system, like mine, you should get the no Vpro version.

Those WLAN card antenna leads are getting smaller and my old eyes weaker. To install them you have to push forward (up) on them, not straight down. Here's a good how to video:
 

jeffmr4

Junior Member
Jan 12, 2020
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Thanks for the video. I have installed them before but I'm the same as you plus my hand shakes a little. Anyway, I received the Intel 9260 today popped it in and it works in both Linux and Windows. I had to use apt install instead of the driver updater control panel because it showed the driver but it said the device wasn't working even though the driver was listed there. I haven't had a chance to test it in my parents house (at my apartment right now) so I'm not sure about the range but it works fine here. On an additional note, I accidentally had the computer in Linux in sleep mode (although I don't know if it was even sleeping because that is an issue with this laptop) when I installed the chip (doh!) but hopefully there isn't any problem. Have to remember to shut it down. : ) Good luck!
 
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MadScientist

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That video shows the older bigger antenna connectors. The new ones are much smaller and a real PITA to install on a WLAN card. My fingertips are sore from trying to get them on.
I installed the 2x2 Intel AC 9260 on a 1x1 antenna system. In the same room as my router it gave me about twice the Mbps download speeds on the 2.4ghz band and the same on the 5ghz band as the Qualcomm card. Unfortunately, as predicted, with only 1 antenna the long range download speeds were no better than the 1x1 Qualcomm card. The 9260 needs 2 antennas but I'm not going to tear the screen and bezel apart to install them. This is my wife's laptop and she uses it as a desktop on a LAN line so for now I will leave the 9260 in it.
I have a 3 year old 14" Lenovo Ideapad 720S-14IKB laptop that has a 2x2 Intel AC 8265 WLAN card. Great all around laptop. At 65' from my router it gets 25Mbps down on the 2.4ghz band.
So if you have a laptop with a 1x1 WLAN card then unless you have the expertise to install 2x2 antennas then you should stick with a 1x1 card. Yeah, heymrdj you told me so.
I'm usually pretty good at checking specs on laptops before I purchase them. This time I slipped up and ass-umed that this laptop had a 2x2 card. Do NOT purchase a laptop with a 1x1 WLAN card.
 
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jeffmr4

Junior Member
Jan 12, 2020
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After some time with the Intel 9260 card I have found that it works well in Windows but not so well in Linux (unless it is a kernel issue). I think the 7265 has better support in linux although slightly slower.
 

AndrewJ475

Junior Member
Feb 3, 2020
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So, I also have a 5585 and swapped in the Intel 9260 WLAN card. I replaced the 1x1 antenna with, what I assumed was, a 2x2 antenna from amazon (cheap chinese antenna. Probably not 2x2, but it is really hard to find specs on antenna online) and I ended up having WAY worse signal strength and speeds than with the old card and antenna. The antenna for the 5585 is actually mounted below the monitor inside the hinge instead of behind the monitor towards to top of the lid (which is where I mounted the aftermarket antenna).
 

heymrdj

Diamond Member
May 28, 2007
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So, I also have a 5585 and swapped in the Intel 9260 WLAN card. I replaced the 1x1 antenna with, what I assumed was, a 2x2 antenna from amazon (cheap chinese antenna. Probably not 2x2, but it is really hard to find specs on antenna online) and I ended up having WAY worse signal strength and speeds than with the old card and antenna. The antenna for the 5585 is actually mounted below the monitor inside the hinge instead of behind the monitor towards to top of the lid (which is where I mounted the aftermarket antenna).
You can’t just mount the antenna pad anywhere, that’s why the aftermarket stuff is worthless. It needs to be mounted right, with proper length cables, and in an area that has been designed with taking the laptops metal structure into account. The only way to get more antennas to an internal card is to buy the new OEM antenna pad and mount it as it would show in the service manual for the unit (more difficult) or buy a top lid section with antennas and cables mounted, and perform the necessary tear down to transfer screen, webcam, microphone etc into the new top lid. The install it of course. Some laptops make unhinging the monitor pretty easy, some (Dell Vostro) essentially require taking the entire unit apart top and bottom to get to the hinge screws.
 

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