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1 Copper

upgrading a WIFI adaptercard for a INSPIRON 1545

hello.

im chasing information in regards to  

Dell INSPIRON 1545
Ref Number: 08225
Model No / PP41L
Service Tag (s/n) <Service tag removed>

My system currently has installed : Dell Wireless 1397 WLAN Mini-Card

Iv done some research and have found the following cards that are apprently compatable.

Centrino Advanced N6300
Intel Advanced N6235
Intel Wi-Fi Link 5300

How can I check compatibility for when upgrading the wifi card?
Are there any better card options that would suit my model of laptop?
Any other information in regards to upgrading and installing the
wifi card would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Brad.

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3 Replies
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6 Gallium

Re: upgrading a WIFI adaptercard for a INSPIRON 1545

You may want to open up your system to confirm, but from what I tell, that system uses a half-height mini-PCIe slot for WiFi, and the Dell Wireless 1397 uses 2 antennas.  In that case, you can do MUCH better than the replacement cards you're looking at, since none of those support 802.11ac.  I tend to prefer Intel WiFI cards, and the best WiFI card Intel made in that slot type before moving on to the newer M.2 type (which you can't use) is the Intel Wireless-AC 7260.  To make sure you get the correct card version, get the Intel 7260HMW -- do not get the 7260NGW.  Also make sure that you buy a Wireless-AC 7260, because Intel also made a Wireless-N 7260 that only supports 802.11n, and not 802.11ac.  I have no idea why Intel used the same model number for cards with completely different feature sets, but there you go.  You can find the right card on Amazon for about $30.

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6 Gallium

Re: upgrading a WIFI adaptercard for a INSPIRON 1545

In terms of compatibility, Dell does not use a WiFi "whitelist" or engage in hardware shenanigans like some other vendors in order to restrict the WiFi cards you can use in their systems, so you won't encounter any issues like that.  The only time I've run into compatibility issues on a Dell system when upgrading WiFi was on an Inspiron system that used an NVIDIA motherboard chipset -- it wouldn't accept any of the 3 Intel WiFi cards I tried, and I had to resort to a Dell/Broadcom card instead.  So it is technically possible you will run into issues, but it is very unlikely.  Unfortunately given how old the Inspiron 1545 is relative to the Intel 7260, you won't find a formal compatibility guarantee, although I guess you might find someone who's performed this upgrade before.  But given how inexpensive these cards are and how likely it is to work, I would start with the 7260, and worst case you can return it and get something older instead if it doesn't work.

In terms of installing it, if you've never installed a WiFi card before, you insert it initially at a 45-degee angle relative to the slot, then press the top edge down so the card lies flat, and then screw it down.  One tip: If you have enough slack on the antennas, I would recommend connecting those before you install the card because that way you can "pinch" them into position by placing your index finger on the underside of the card directly behind the antenna connector and use your thumb to press them on.  Then after installing the card, make sure the antennas are still securely fastened because a loose antenna connection will severely degrade your WiFi performance.

Lastly, you'll probably want to download (but not install) the drivers for your new WiFi card before you remove the old one, because otherwise if the Windows version you're running doesn't natively support the new card, you won't have any WiFi until you supply a driver, which can make it a bit more challenging to get on the Internet to get the driver.

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1 Copper

Re: upgrading a WIFI adaptercard for a INSPIRON 1545

after reading this post I purchased the Intel 7260.HMW Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 Network Adapter PCI Express Half Mini Card 802.11 b/a/g/n/ac.

I have the Inspiron 1545 as well. But after installing the OS recognizes the bluetooth but not the wifi. In device manager it says unrecognized card. I downloaded the most recent driver pak from Intel but when I try to install it errors out saying more recent driver already installed.

Can anyone help?

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