My wife has an Inspiron 1720 bought in early 2008. It has since been upgraded to an Intel T9300 CPU and 4GB RAM. It still has, however the original Intel 3945 ABG internal card. I would like to upgrade this to a wifi card that supports wireless-N and, if possible 5GHz.
I bought an Intel Ultimate-N 6300 wireless card (which is half mini-PCI-E) along with an adapter (a piece of metal) which allows to be mounted in a full-size mini PCI-E slot but I found the antenna wires were too short (since the 6300 is a half size the antenna connectors will be about 3 cm further away that they were on the full-size card. See the foto with the original card back in place.
The question is what is a solution to upgrade to a more capable card ? Do I have to hunt for an Intel 5300 wifi card (the last model which was made in full-size version). Can I try one of the other antenna wires (in place for a WPAN card or a 3G card, which Iḿ not going to use). Are the antennas tuned to a specific frequency which will make them work suboptimal on 2.4/5GHz Anyone have expecrience upgrading wifi in inspiron 1720 or another Dell laptop from that era ?
The antennas are indeed specified for specific frequency/bandwidth - this model by far pre-dates the N specification (and 5 GHz operation). If you want those features with optimum reception, consider a USB 2.0 external adapter.
I'm in the process of doing this right now. The wire connections can be found on pages 53 and 54 of the Dell 1720 service manual that can be down loaded for free off of this site.
As stated in the manual, "If the WLAN card has three triangles on the label (of the card) (White, black, and gray), connect the white antenna cable to the white triangle, connect the black antenna cable to the black triangle, and connect the gray antenna cable to the gray triangle."
The Gray cable is your "N" capability from the router to make it 802.11 b/g/n compatible.
The Black with gray stripe and the white with gray stripe cables are for the WWAN card. The SIM card slot can be found with the Battery removed in the battery bay.
The Blue wire is for the WPAN (Bluetooth) card. It only has one antenna.
I hope this helps.