You cannot replace the card so easily. There are regulatory requirements:
I suggest you contact acer for support with this issue.
The 7260 models were the last adapters to be manufactured by us in PCIe Mini Half Card (HMC) form factor. All current adapters are M.2 Key E instead.
This includes the following models:
- Intel Wireless-N 7260
- Intel® Dual Band Wireless-N 7260
- Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260
Since these adapters were made in both HMC and M.2, it would be important to verify this information before purchasing a replacement part. The best recommendation we can make, as mentioned by Al Hill, will be to purchase the replacement part directly from your computer manufacturer to avoid compatibility or other issues.
intel_corp Thanks for the reply, I couldn't contact Acer as I couldn't log in to their portal. I would try to call their support. But before that, is there anyway that I can verify the compatibility if Acer doesn't respond? It has happened before.
Your computer manufacturer is your best bet to avoid any unforeseen issues.
Some systems, for example, are limited on which wireless adapters may be installed through a hardware white list. If this is the case for yours, we could tell you that the replacement is perfectly compatible and it may still not work.
- Why Doesn't My Laptop Recognize My New Intel® Wireless Adapter?
I'm not sure if this is relevant or not but I also had some issues with this Intel dual band wireless 7260-N card. Before replacing your card I suggest you try swapping the antenna cables. The black cable usually goes in main (1) and the white one goes in AUX (2) but that isn't much of a rule as it differs from one model to another. As far as I know one antenna is for shared wifi+bluetooth (main) and the other is for wifi only (aux). For some reason on my Asus N551JK the cables were swapped. White cable should go in main (1) and the black one in AUX (2). I discovered this issue when I was having issues with my bluetooth headphones. The sound lagged and was cracking at no more than half a meter away from the laptop. I did some signal measurements with my phone and it was so poor (around -90dB) as if the bluetooth module wasn't connected to an antenna at all. It was working but just barely. So I thought that maybe, just maybe it really wasn't connected to the shared antenna and guess what. The antennas were plugged in the wrong connectors by the manufacturer! I swapped the cables and now bluetooth signal stays between -72dB and -42dB range and all bt audio issues were fixed. If Asus (or Intel) can make such a trivial mistake that no setting or driver update could fix then so can any other manufacturer. I personally never had much of an issue with wifi reception but that's mainly because I still use an old wireless G router at home (it still disconnects now and then but not very often to be an issue). Though I read many complaints from people using wireless N routers. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but wireless N can use the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band so the wireless card must be connected to two antennas, each one calibrated for one frequency, right ? Not sure what "dual band" means for this card though. Does it mean that one connector receives signal from a dual band antenna? Do laptops even have dual band antennas or do they have two separate ones for each frequency. Bluetooth uses the 2.4GHz band and shares one antenna so the other one is for the 5GHz band? If so what would be the impact on wifi connectivity if the cables are swapped? My phone measures my network at -37dB whereas my laptop is measuring -60 -50dB at same distance, for the same hotspot. Though it has a hard time listening to 5GHz channels. When I turn off the bluetooth it measures my network signal at -35dB and 5GHz channels become louder and everything looks pretty much normal. I will do some measurements with the cables switched back to their initial position and see if the signal was better or worse
Thanks for the recommendations.
It's odd that swapping antennas helped increase your signal strength. It does makes sense that now that your signal strength increased, your connectivity and Bluetooth® quality of service issues were resolved.
The Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 is a 2x2 adapter (two antennas supporting two data streams). Even though one antenna is shared between BT and WiFi and the other is dedicated to WiFi, both are dual band and should be the same. It's possible that one of your antennas is damaged or defective, and that this is why connecting the healthy antenna to the connector that is shared between BT and WiFi resolved your issue.
- Next Gen 802.11ac WiFi for Dummies - Pages 9 to 11 talk a lot about this.
Your adapter requires two separate drivers to be downloaded and installed, one for WiFi and one for Bluetooth®. Are you currently using the latest drivers for both?
- Download the Latest Driver for Your Intel® Wireless Adapter
You should also check your advanced adapter settings, based on your description we can recommend the following:
1. 802.11n channel width for band 2.4 = 20 MHz Only
2. 802.11n channel width for band 5.2 = Auto
3. Bluetooth® AMP (if available) = Enabled
4. Roaming Aggressiveness = 1. Lowest or 2. Medium-low
5. HT Mode = Disabled (HT = 802.11n, VHT = 802.11ac. Disabling this may increase compatibility with legacy 802.11g networks)
Yes, both drivers have always been are up to date. I make sure of that.
I already tried the changes you suggested.
The card is dual band indeed but that doesn't mean that Asus installs dual band antennas in every laptop that has a 2x2 card.
I started with the assumption that each antenna is single band, one for 2.4 and the other for 5GHz and that the 5GHz antenna was plugged in the main port, hence the lack of bluetooth signal.
The 2.4GHz band works fine as it is but now gets major interference when I use bluetooth with my headphones. It causes a huge drop in signal by 20dB or more and internet speed goes down by 75%.
To get rid of this interference I tested with a 5Ghz hotspot and it still works. Not great but it works. The signal isn't amazing considering that the hotspot is 2 meters away and there is absolutely no interference on the 5Ghz band from other networks yet it fluctuates randomly between -50 to -80dB. But this also checks that I have at least one working 5Ghz antenna. Now to figure out which one is which. The one in main port is clearly 2.4Ghz so that means that the other must be 5GHz, right? So I plugged it out and... and nothing. There was no change in 5Ghz signal. This means that at least the white antenna (the one in main port) is dual band capable and the other one was somehow damaged and lost connection. Most likely the wire is damaged in the hinge area. So basically my laptop now only has one working antenna which is shared with bluetooth and the readings are quite normal in this case.
So there you have it. Mystery solved. You were pretty much spot on. Thanks for the help.
Now to fix that damn antenna...
We're glad to be of assistance.
For antenna replacements we recommend engaging your computer manufacturer since antennas affect your computer's certification standards.
If this is not an option, you can usually find laptop antennas online. The connector type will depend on your adapter's form factor, as the 7260 was manufactured in both HMC and M.2 versions.
M.2 = IPEX MHF4 antenna connectors
HMC = U.fl/IPEX antenna connectors
We hope this information helps. Let us know if there's anything else we can help you with.
I'm happy to report that I managed to completely resolve the issue with the poor wifi/bluetooth signal on my laptop.
After I tested with another older b,g,n card (atheros qcwb335) the signal got about 15db worse so at this point I was certain that the intel card was not the issue. Also the asus antennas weren't damaged in any way.
The real issue here was the bad antenna design and placement. This laptop is mostly metal and the only reasonable place to mount the antennas is inside the hinges. So the antennas can't really get direct signal from the front as it gets blocked by the display's metal housing.
The other issue is the form factor and type of the antennas. They were just some small stickers glued to plastic and they were basically too weak even when removed and held above the laptop. Also the printed pattern was not identical but I suppose they had a reason for that. Whatever.
The next logical step was replacing them with something better and that could fit inside the hinge. I'm lucky enough to have access to lots of discarded spare parts that I could test. With a bit of modding and resoldering the coax cable to the right length, the stainless steel antennas from a HP can be adjusted to fit inside the hinges and they made a huge improvement over the original asus antenna's signal. Also they are identical.
With the original asus antennas with bluetooth turned on I was getting around -60db of signal. Now I get -40db and a lot beter overall stability for both bluetooth and wifi.
Surely it's still not as good as it could have been but it's the best it can do given the constraints. Regardless, it was an interesting DiY project to work on