Simple upgrades for your laptop

Install an SSD, more RAM and a Wi-Fi card

Upgrade your laptop's Wi-Fi

Upgrading a wireless card should be every bit as easy as upgrading the memory modules. In fact, on some machines, both the wireless card and RAM are located under the same panel.

The trick is to make sure that you install a compatible part. Most laptops that were made a few years ago use Mini PCI cards, while newer ones use the Mini PCI Express standard. Mini PCI cards have only one set of connectors along the narrower side; Mini PCI Express cards have two.

Even if the card you get has the right connector, it's not guaranteed to work in your laptop. You need a sufficiently up-to-date laptop with a sufficiently recent form of Wi-Fi to be able to take advantage of the newest, fastest version. You should be able to update an older model, but not necessarily one that's between one and three years old.

Upgrading to wireless-n: You might be surprised to discover that you're pretty unlikely to be able to upgrade from 802.11b Wi-Fi to 802.11n as few Mini PCI cards exist. On the other hand, you should easily be able to switch from 802.11b wireless to g as there are plenty of 802.11a/b/g cards.

Many laptops that came with 802.11g cards can be upgraded to meet the latest 802.11n standard. To avoid firmware incompatibilities, we advise you to get this part directly from the manufacturer of your laptop; in any case, it should be sold specifically for your computer.

Once you have the right part, performing the Wi-Fi upgrade is easy.

If your wireless card is under the keyboard, as is the situation with the card in our photo (below), you'll need to remove the keyboard. We've explained how to do that in the steps for upgrading your RAM.

Next, locate the wireless card and disconnect the two antenna wires by pulling straight up on the connectors. Don't pull on the wires themselves.


Remove the old wireless card by pulling apart the two holding clamps on the card's sides. Pull the card straight out. Insert the new card and reattach the antennae by pushing the connectors straight down on the plugs.


If your wireless card is located on the underside of the machine, things are much easier. You can simply flip the laptop over, remove the appropriate panel and follow the installation instructions we've provided above.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags notebooks

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?