November 10, 2005 2:46 AM   Subscribe

Wififilter: I want a miniPCI card for my laptop.

Hi. I recently purchased a Toshiba satellite A30-514. It has a space for a mini PCI wifi LAN card. Im currently on a 802.11b network and have no plans to upgrade yet. I have a PCI card slot card at the moment but I wish to upgrade and free up this slot. My question is this, ive seen a lot of mini PCI's on ebay. Will any of them do? Or do I have to get one specific to my laptop? Ive noticed that some need "workarounds" to work with certain laptop brands. How do I know if I need to do this? And would that be a big job? Thanks in advance.
posted by gergtreble to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
the biggest issue you will have is hooking up an antenna. I've used a dLink miniPCI card in my laptop, and it worked fine. I bought it originally as a PCI card, and it happened to be a mini-pci card attached to an adapter.

But, like I said, the biggest hurdle you will have is the antenna... miniPCI cards have absolutely no antenna in them, so they get almost no reception. I looked a year ago for the pigtail connector, but couldn't find anything, though maybe it's changed since then.

If you're lucky, your laptop was built to have a miniPCI WiFi Card, and has an antenna built in... then its easy as pie
posted by hatsix at 4:06 AM on November 10, 2005

OK, according to the specs page:

Wireless communication
* Wireless Technology : Wireless LAN upgradeable with optional mini PCI card

Which implies that there's an official Toshiba mini-PCI card, but there may also be compatible (and cheaper) third-party products. Don't know anything about this particular laptop, I'm afraid.

Is your PCMCIA ("PC Card") slot free? If so, 802.11b cards are about a tenner and should work just fine. I've been using one in a laptop for years and never had any reception problems - the aerial sticks out the side of the computer.
posted by blag at 5:48 AM on November 10, 2005

It shouldn't be a problem, if you can hook it up to an existing antenna.

If I were you I would avoid the Intel 2200bg like the plague... endless problems.
posted by blueyellow at 6:31 AM on November 10, 2005

if the internal antenna wires have a hirose u.fl connector (looks like a very small coax cable connector) then you'll have lots of choices for minipci cards. I just picked up one of these (ralink rt2500 chipset) and it's great (but it was for my network appliance thingy, not a laptop.)

you may also want to google for something like "toshiba 11 13 pin" 'cos it sounds like some hackery may be involved getting any wireless card to work in certain (all?) toshiba laptops.

oh and you may want to check whether the laptop's minipci slot is IIIa or IIIb (the only difference is that IIIa is ~5mm "taller" than IIIb -- i.e. if the laptop is IIIa then it will accept either size card)
posted by dorian at 7:21 AM on November 10, 2005

(altho oddly enough, my network appliance thingy is also a toshiba heh)
posted by dorian at 7:22 AM on November 10, 2005

blueyellow, I have an Intel b/g chipset in my laptop...it's been fine for me?
posted by Malor at 8:16 AM on November 10, 2005

Response by poster: Ok its got a switch on the side maked "wireless" and I know where and how to fit the card. Found out which "official" ones work in my computer and oredered one of ebay. I just hope theres an antenna in it now!

posted by gergtreble at 4:19 PM on November 10, 2005

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