Upgrade my wireless network card


Active Member
I have a 2011 macbook with wireless N. The type of wireless is Airport extreme 0x14E4

I have EE broadband which have changed settings to allow 300mbs connection speed but only getting a TX rate of 78..

Im wondering if its possible to upgrade my wireless card to AC wireless for faster connection speed...


Distinguished Member
Most US manufacturers have "BIOS locked" there equipment so you cannot change the internal Wi-Fi NIC (if you can even physically get at it.) Generally this means that you cannot use anything but an "officially" sanctioned Wi-Fi NIC. If you install anything else, the hardware will refuse to recognise it. So you'd need to get hold of your MacBooks hardware manual and see whether you can physically get into it to change the NIC, what type it is (there's a few form factors,) whether it's BIOS locked and if so what "official" (if any) updates are available.

If it's not possible, then the alternate would be to use some external device such as a USB NIC. I'm not a big fan of them because they are ugly, :) prone to movement & dirt (dodgy connections over time) prone to being "knocked" as you move about and generally don't have big antenna with much "spacial diversity" (that's mean antenna are "close together" in English) and some only have one antenna - many of which factors can affect performance. Of you could try for a USB device with antenna arrays on fly leads which are obviously even uglier and less convenient on a laptop.

Or you could just be a bit "zen" about and ask "do I really need the speed or am I just after bragging rights?" IE "what am I unable to do with what I have..?"

My current laptop "only" has a paltry 72mbps (and is BIOS locked) which can't take advantage of my 450mbps AP. But for day to day Internet surfing it's just fine. On the rare occasions I want to do bulk data transfers, I plug in an ethernet cable.
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