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Wireless Network Cards - Setup, FAQs, and Troubleshooting

Just received your new wireless card? Check out this article for the latest info. Still need help or have a question? Contact Us or open a chat (bottom right of screen) and we'll get back to you!

Want to double-check on compatibility? Check out our page on Wireless Network Card Compatibility

Wireless Network Card Setup

Part I: Before starting

  • Double check your system is compatible. See our support article on Wireless Network Card Compatibility & review your new adapters product page for details.
  • Max transmission speeds are measured between the device & the wireless access point (your Wi-Fi router). Your transmission speed will vary based on environmental conditions (such as distance). Your actual internet speed will always depend on the maximum available bandwidth provided by your ISP.
  • Double check you are not connecting or testing your speeds while connected to a VPN. This greatly reduces performance.
  • Download (and save) all required drivers prior to physically installing your network card. Be sure to download both 1) Wi-Fi drivers and 2) Bluetooth drivers. See below links.

Part II: I just received my new Wi-Fi Card. Now what?

Installation:
  1. Turn off your system's power, open the back cover, and locate the current wireless module. Refer to your system’s manual for additional details on how to detach the back cover of your system.
  2. Gently disconnect the old antennas and remove the old network card (you may have a screw to remove as well).
    insert module at a slight angle
    1. Note: A small screwdriver from an eye-glass kit is an easy way to gently leverage the antenna connectors free)
  1. Install your new network card by inserting into the slot. Then reaffix the setscrew; if applicable
    1. Try inserting the card at a slight angle, then pressing the card flat against the motherboard
      push card flat and reattach screws

    2. The card should slide into the slot without any resistance. If it does not fit...you unfortunately ordered the wrong Wi-Fi adapter :(
  2. Gently attach your original antenna connectors to your new network card---be gentle! The connectors generally pop right on!

    reattach your old antenna wires
  3. Test your new Wi-Fi Card by powering on your system
    1. You can test your internet speed on Speedtest.net or the site of your choosing
    2. If you system does not automatically install the drivers, you will need to manually install both the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth packages. See Driver Installation Steps provided below
  4. Reattach your systems back cover, replace all screws, and enjoy your upgraded Wi-Fi!

NOTE: All drivers are available to download from Intel’s website. We recommend downloading (but not installing) to your system before swapping your network card. Drivers are not shipped with each order.

Troubleshooting

Step 1: Driver Installation Steps

  1. Ensure you have the latest drivers. Install Wi-Fi & Bluetooth drivers, then reboot computer.
    1. Install Wi-Fi Drivers (do this one first)
    2. Install Bluetooth Drivers (do this one second)
    3. **Be sure to install the Windows 10/11, 64-bit drivers (top one). They are not compatible with 32-bit versions**
  2. If you are unable to install the latest driver version, you can download a older (former) version provided here:
    1. Intel Wi-Fi Drivers (as of Nov 2019)
      1. Driver installation can fail because of an outdated OS, insufficient RAM, or insufficient HD space. Please ensure you update your OS!!
      2. Note: these drivers are provided "as-is" and are no longer supported/provided by HighZer0 or Intel.
    2. If you receive an error while installing drivers, you may require manufacturer specific drivers for your system. See FAQ below.
  3. If installing drivers doesn’t work, here is an Intel support article with the steps you should follow:
    1. Clean Installation of Wireless Drivers by Intel
    2. Be sure to repeat for the Bluetooth drivers/device as well

Step 2: Physically Double-Check the Adapter

  1. Ensure that you have properly connected both antennas to the Wi-Fi adapter. You should hear (or feel) a slight click when they are secured. They should not be loose, but should be able to rotate on the adapter.
    Antenna installation
    1. Note: your Wi-Fi adapter will not work correctly if you attempt to use it without both antennas connected. 
    2. You will also greatly reduce the usable life of your adapter by doing this (it will burn out).
  2. Verify the wireless adapter isn't damaged. Check for burn marks, deep scratches, missing connectors, etc. BOTH antenna wires MUST be connected!
  3. Verify the wireless adapter is fully seated into your system.
    1. Insert the card into the slot at a slight angle (as opposed to horizontally, directly into the slot). Push slightly to fully seat the card, then push the card so it lays flat against your motherboard.
      adapter installation. Insert at an angle
    2. If the card does not easily slid into the slot, you likely have the wrong model for your system and require a different model based on your M.2 Key. See our Support Article on Compatibility for more info.
    3. The card should line-up with any/all screws that were holding your old one in place.
      install example. push flat

Step Three: Double-Check on Compatibility

Double check that your system is compatible with your new Wi-Fi adapter. You can review our support article on compatibility here.

Step Four: Update your OS/Firmware (Windows Update)

Ensure your system is fully updated (Windows Update and system-specific updates)
  1. If you need assistance, see this support article: Get the latest Windows updates by Microsoft
  2. Ensure you have the latest drivers (from your manufacturer) for your system.
    1. You will need to go to your manufacture's website to download and apply these updates.
      Intel also has a published site with links to most manufacturer's download sites: System Manufacturers by Intel
    2. Some systems come preloaded with a program/app to check for and download updates. Click the Windows icon -> Type your manufacturers name and see if something comes up
    3. Most manufactures have an auto-detect program you can download once you get to their website.

 Step Five: Restart Your System

We know you probably hear this all the time, but trust us, it works!
  1. Try restarting your system after installing/reinstalling the drivers.
  2. If you encounter a boot error (screen freezes, abnormally slow boot time, or the system no longer recognizes the adapter), your new adapter is likely not compatible.

 Step Six: Contact Your System Manufacturer!

Some manufacturers "lock" their systems to their own parts, drivers, etc. You will need to engage with your manufacturer to verify your system supports your new adapter and/or does not require advanced configurations (i.e. BIOS changes, vendor specific drivers)

FAQs - Frequently asked Questions 

Q: Is my system compatible with model .....?

You can review our support article on compatibility here.

We can try to assist you with your specific system, however we are limited to the publicly & easily available info on your system. We'll do our best, but cannot promise anything with 100% certainty. 

Q: I'm not Getting the Speeds I Expected or my Adapter is not working as Expected. What Should I do?

  1. Make sure to go through the Troubleshooting section, step-by-step.
    1. Double-check that your system is compatible with your new Wi-Fi adapter. You can review our support article on compatibility here.
    2. Ensure you have downloaded and installed both the Wi-Fi drivers and Bluetooth drivers for your adapter. Links to both are provided under Driver Installation.
      1. Contact your system's manufacturer for additional recommendations. You can also browse Intel's support forum or create a post yourself, if you are interested.

      If none of these action work, request a return through the original storefront/website where your purchased your adapter. Some systems just don't play nicely with the newer technologies. Sorry :(

       

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