Before they sent mine they switched out that card and put in an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 and it still doesn't work. It is fine up close. Move to another room and I lose the signal. Not good.
I have an XPS 15 L521x (1 week old) which came with Win8 and Dell Wireless 1901 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz). Initially I connected it to a 2.4GHz network (Sagemcom router from Bell). Speed was great (25d/9u) within 20' of the router on the same floor, however, dropped unacceptably to 1d/5u when I went to a different floor in the house. I connected a second 3yr old Cisco WAP610N router to the existing one and set it for 5Gz band with a different SSID name and static IP address. I then connected the XPS15 to the 5Gz band and noticed a huge improvement in speed. Both routers are in the basement but I can get 22d/7u even on the second floor of the house with my door closed (straight line distance approx 60 feet between router and test point). So it looks like the Dell wireless card performs better in the 5Gz band.
This is the latest feedback from Dell (Terry B). I sent him a message asking for any update on the system before I buy it.
"I do have some information regarding the XPS L521X. Current systems shipping out of the factory for North American customers are shipping with Windows 8 and the DW 1901 wireless card. Engineering has informed me that there are a number of hardware fixes other than the wireless card designed to reduce signal noise for WIFI reception. They are still working on tweaks to increasingly improve wireless performance.
I certainly suggest continuing to look at the forums where we start receiving reports from users with the Windows 8 system and see if they are getting better"
I worked with Terry and got a replacement system with Win 8 and the Dell Wireless 1901 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz).
The problems I was experiencing with the prior Win 7 & Intel wifi card were:
1-horrible download speeds
2-general poor management of connection profiles (system got confused a lot and wouldn't connect in certain scenarios that should have been supported)
3-very slow wake-and-connect time ... so the pc would wake up quickly, but then you would wait 50 to 60 seconds to have the internet connection come, and this was regardless of the proximity to the router
Before getting the new system, I purchased a Black Knight dual-band wifi router and this had a big impact for one place (the home) but of course no place else. I don't recall exactly the speed test results on the Win 7 system, but when it would connect and stabilize, it did pretty well in the 5 ghz range and I recall fairly well in the 2.4 ghz range.
After getting the new system, problems # 2 and # 3 went away completely. And, the Win 8 system with the Dell wireless card would connect at top speeds via 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz range to the ASUS Black Knight. BUT, then when I plugged my old wifi router (Linksys WRT150N w/ DD-WRT fully up-to-date firmware, so no slouch), which only supports the 2.4 ghz range, the speeds went significantly down consistent with what I was seeing on the Win 7 machine.
With my Linksys WRT150N, using DD-WRT firmware latest version, the 2.4 Mghz (only option) and the machines about 100 ft away (Note: 20 Mbps DSL internet service):
-4 yr old Toshiba Satellite was getting consistently 15 to 16 Mbps down and 0.75 up
-new XPS 15 w/ Win 8 and DW1901 card getting 0.45 to 0.65 Mbps down and 0.75 up ; in one of the 10 tests it got 2.4 Mbps down
The strangest thing for me here is that the upload speed is consistently the same no matter what the router is or whether connecting over 2.4 or 5 Mhz or how far away, but when connecting with the XPS over standard 2.4 Mhz and getting some distance away, the download speed actually goes lower than the upload. I have never heard of that.
With my ASUS RT-N66U and the machines about 100 ft away and using the 5 Mhz side of the dual-mode router:
-both machines consistently get between 14.75 and 15.75 Mpbs down and 0.75 up
My takeaway from all this was that probably the new wifi router had better transmission in the 2.4 ghz range and so it wasn't a range issue but a transmission/reception issue [i.e.- back to finger pointing at the antenna].
Then, something else interesting ... I borrowed a friend's Cisco (refurbished $24) AE3000-RM Wireless-N 3x3 USB Adapter and connected that to the Win 8 machine with the old wifi router connected. I got top speeds of 14 to 16 mbps ("top" as in top I have seen for any speedtest.net results on my network) while the USB was connected via its external stand and placed maybe 1 foot away from the XPS 15 system, but then when I took it out of this stand and connected directly to the USB inputs on the XPS, the speeds quickly went way down and averaged between 2 and 3 mpbs. So, we have a weaker 2.4 ghz signal coming from the wifi router that gets picked up fine when the wireless-N Adapter is 1 foot away, but then when it is in direct contact and proximity with the XPS machine itself, there is some sort of interference or weakness introduced that knocks the reception ability way down. It's like the reception is less allowed to reach out, which reminded me for some reason of the Death Star in Star Wars with its gravity pull that wouldn't let ships leave.
That's what I got for you. Great system and my wife is accepting the fallback position that on occasion she will need to plug in a wireless adapter when she is getting weak or non-existent connections out on the road, but with the purchase of a stronger wifi router at home (~$160), there are no issues while at this location. Good luck everybody.
i was thinking of buying Dell XPS L521x but i am very concerned about WiFi issues !!!
is the problem fixed ? should i buy this laptop ?
i really like the specifications ...but slow WifI is a big issue for me !!! what do u think ?
I love the laptop but I can't live with the wifi. They are trying to fix it but so far, no good. They are going to try another wifi card. We'll see what happens.
No, they did not and I do not think they will ever will. I am 5 M away from router and instead 20Mbs I have just over 1Mbs. With XPS 15Z with the same Wi-Fi card and the same distance I get normal speed 20Mbs.