Wifi card for X200

5 replies [Last post]
Avron
Offline
Joined: 08/18/2020

I have a laptop that has "X201i" at the bottom right of the screen but it is librebooted and lshw says it is an X200 with a P8400 CPU, so it looks really like an X200.

The wifi card is an Intel Ultimate N WiFi Link 5300 that does not work without non-free software so I'd like to replace it.

I see that Vikings is selling an Atheros AR9380 AR5BHB112 450Mbps 2.4/5 GHz Wireless mini PCIe Card, which has 3 antennas, at https://store.vikings.net/en/atheros450.

ThinkPenguin is selling another card, with RY certification, that has 2 antennas, at https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/wireless-n-pci-express-dual-band-mini-half-height-card-w-full-height-bracket-option-tpe-nh

Should both cards work equally well? Should I first open the laptop to see whether there are two or three antennas currently, and then chose the card according to the number of antennas? The most important for me is that the card works, reasonable well.

lanun
Offline
Joined: 04/01/2021

An expert voice once said:

"If your X200 has three antennae for WLAN (grey, black, white), purchase one AR9380. If only two antennae (grey and black) are available, purchase one AR9382."

https://trisquel.info/en/forum/compatible-usb-wifi-adapters#comment-160799

NB: he also called the AR9285 "a rather low-end one", so that probably possibly applies to the AR9280 too.

EDIT: probably > possibly. Numbering can be tricky, so it is difficult to tell how "reasonably well" the AR9280 would work.

Vikings_thum
Offline
Joined: 04/04/2017

They both work equally well in terms of the driver/firmware situation.

So far I didn't come across an X200 that only has two antenna cables. But better be save than sorry.

Avron
Offline
Joined: 08/18/2020

I looked, there are actually 4 antenna cables (black, grey, red and blue) but only two connected to the current wifi card, although it has 3 connectors (nothing is connected to the middle connector). The red and blue cable have some plastic wrap around the connector, I guess to avoid problems as they are not connected.

Is that expected to work with two wifi cards? Or are there cards with 4 connectors? Can I use the AR9380 card with this?

lanun
Offline
Joined: 04/01/2021

It appears you have only two WLAN antennae. The red and blue cables are WWAN (cellular) antennae. Some seem to believe they managed to get stronger wifi signal using one of these as a third antenna for a PCIe wifi adapter, but I have absolutely no idea whether it actually made a difference in terms of signal quality.

I believe you can use as many wireless PCIe adapters as you have PCIe slots available, provided you have at least as many WLAN antennae.

Note that having three connectors on a card does not mean that it won't work with two antennae, only that the signal might be marginally weaker, which may or may not be noticeable according to your usage case. I think I would still order the AR9380 and use it with two antennae (black and grey cables), after having checked with the seller whether that setting would work well enough for my needs. I am sure they would be happy to test it for you.

Vikings_thum
Offline
Joined: 04/04/2017

I wouldn't use an unconnected Wifi adapter on a laptop as a permanent setup. There is a possibility that it is not so good for your reproductive organs. Using the antennae and having those ~40cm away from your body is not so much a problem as having it on your crotch (educated estimate).