Laptop Internal Wireless Network Cards
Laptop internal wireless network cards also know as WLAN card or Wi-Fi card come in different shapes ans sizes. On the picture above you see two most common internal wireless card types found in laptops.
Two wireless cards on the top have Mini PCI form factor connector and found mostly in older laptops.
Two wireless cards on the bottom have Mini PCI-E (Mini PCI Express) form factor connector and found mostly in newer laptops.
Mini PCI-E connector is not backward compatible with Mini PCI connector. In other words, you cannot install a Mini PCI-E wireless card into the Mini PCI slot.
The wireless card plugs into the Mini PCI or Mini PCI-E slot on the motherboard. Most internal cards have two small connectors for wireless antenna cables, some newer Mini PCI-E cards have three connectors and require three antenna cables.
On the picture below you see an internal Mini PCI wireless card connected to the laptop. As you see, there are two antenna cables connected to the card. One main antenna cable and one auxiliary antenna cables.
In order to remove the wireless card, you’ll have to disconnect the antenna cables first. Grab firmly the antenna connector with your fingers and unsnap it from the card. Do the same with the second antenna cable. After that you remove the wireless card the same way as you remove the RAM module.
1. Spread latches on both sides of the card with your fingers and the card will pop up at a 20-30 degree angle.
2. Carefully pull the wireless card from the slot.
On the picture below you see a newer Mini PCI-E wireless card plugged into the slot on the motherboard. In my example the card has three antenna cables. Many Mini PCI-E cards have only two antenna cables.
This card connects to the motherboard differently than a Mini PCI card. There are no latches on the sides. The card is secured to the motherboard by two screws.
In order to remove this card:
1. Disconnect all antenna cables from the card. Do not forget to make a note how cables are connected.
2. Remove two screws and the card will pop up at a 20-30 degree angle.
3. Carefully pull the wireless card from the slot.
On some laptops the internal wireless card could be accessed through the hatch on the bottom, on other laptops it’s hidden under the keyboard or laptop cover.