If you consider the wireless adapter is failing and needs to be replaced, we would advise you to contact the OEM support (Sony*) to check which adapters are compatible with your PC, specially if you plan to replace for an adapter of a different model.
As you mentioned some OEMs may limit the computer to only specific wireless adapters causing an installation error when booting with a different wireless adapter than previously installed in the computer.
Also, Installation or use of Intel wireless adapters is subject to country-specific legal regulations. In certain countries, these products can only be installed in systems that have a system-level regulatory approval. Installing these adapters in an unauthorized system may be illegal.
Intel wireless adapters should only be installed by the manufacturer or its authorized representative.
For more information, please review the following documents:
I've tried contacting Sony, via email and phone support and they just passed me off to Bestbuy w/o giving me any info. Heck forbid I'm actually somewhat informed of my options before I take my laptop to a authorized repair location....