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July 1st, 2022 10:00

Dell M.2 WLAN card keys A+E, A, E (Caveat)

M.2 wireless card comes with different keys.  when updating desktop or laptop wireless M.2 card it pays to notice the difference in keys.  

motherboard M.2 slot with E-key would not fit wireless card with A-key.

motherboard M.2 slot with A-key would not fit wireless card with E-key.

for example, Dell latitude 5580 motherboard has M.2 slot with A-key.

 

M-2-WiFi-Adapter-Connector-A-KEY-A-E-KEY-2230-M-2-WiFi-Wireless-Converter.jpg

ka02R000000hyw6QAA_en_US_5.jpeg

s-l1600 (1).jpg

7 Posts

January 18th, 2023 07:00

Can a M.2 NVME or SSD card be used in a WiFi "E" key slot instead of the WiFi card? Some manufacturers allow it.

235 Posts

January 18th, 2023 07:00

Mostly "Yes" for desktops and "No" for laptops
(some laptops wire M.2 slot only for use by Intel CNVio/CNVio2 WiFi devices,
not PCIe, another problem with laptops - insufficient space to fit adapters),

M.2 E-key slot normally has two PCIe lanes (sometimes one) which can be converted for use by other devices via adapters like below:



sam55todd_0-1674056656368.png

 



NVMe M.2 storage needs x4 PCIe lanes supplied by M-Key slot standard (while E-keyed M.2 slot has max x2 PCIe lanes), therefore you will lose speed and if can't find something direct similar as shown on image above (left-most one is E+A Key to M-Key losing 2 PCIe lanes) then would need a chain of different adapters (having on-board controllers, NVMe to SATA {or USB} then another to M.2 PCIe) having some headaches to solve various possible incompatibility issues. M.2 Sata device won't be constrained by PCIe line speed.

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