[GUIDE] WiGiG 802.11ad (and WWAN) Upgrade

Discussion in 'Networking and Wireless' started by Starlight5, May 27, 2017.

  1. Starlight5

    Starlight5 I'm a cat. What else is there to say, really?

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    In order to upgrade system with WiGiG, one needs:

    * A device with m.2 2230 A-keyed slot for WLAN card, and 5-th gen or newer Intel CPU with vPro / 6th gen or newer Core i CPU without vPro.

    It is unknown whether 5-th gen Core i CPUs without vPro, and Core M CPUs without vPro will work.

    * Parts:

    1. Intel 17265 / 18260 / 18265 WLAN card,
    2. Intel 10041R WiGiG Antenna-M,
    3. MHF5-MHF5 cable of suitable length,
    4. Heat shield for WiGiG antenna,
    5. Some WiGiG docking station.

    * Costs:
    1 - $16 for 17265, $25 for 18260 at the moment of writing this guide. Skylake and newer systems, even from vendors like Lenovo and HP, are not WLAN-whitelisted - thus there's absolutely no point in purchasing branded versions of these cards for huge premium.
    17265 is m.2 3030 - make sure it will fit before placing an order.

    2 & 3 are quite hard to source; cheapest and easiest way to acquire them is to purchase a WiGiG LCD cover for Broadwell or later Dell system ($30-something + shipping) and rip them out alongside 4.

    5 - I use Dell WLD15 since it's much cheaper than competitors, yet does the job. At the moment of writing this guide it retails for $60-something, though I got mine for $41 a while ago. (+shipping)

    * Installing WiGiG antenna:
    With a traditional laptop or tablet, antenna positioning on the display lid is pretty straightforward - just put it on upper part of the display lid wherever you want, on the side where cabling would be easier.

    With a convertible or tablet, antenna positioning requires careful planning. Generally, you want it where you don't grab the tablet (obviously) and don't usually rest your hands. If you favor single portrait orientation, WiGiG antenna should be on the upper side in this orientation so that you don't disconnect when laying the device on your legs - otherwise you might want to position it closer to tablet center. Having enough space to route the cables is very important.

    * WWAN:
    For WWAN, I used WLAN antennas - because they occupy less space. My current LTE frequency is 1800MHz (Band 3), so coupled with EM7455 this setup works just fine; fallback to UMTS occurs earlier than smartphone when entering an area with poor LTE signal, but in areas with good LTE signal all is fine and dandy.

    Using WLAN antennas with thin cables was also of importance, since my system has cable guides for only 4 antennas, while I routed 5. You can see how I improvised on pictures below.

    * Additional:

    My research showed that all laptops with factory-installed WiGiG have the same WiGiG antenna orientation, even when it makes cabling harder - so I ended up rotating mine accordingly, there might be some reason for that after all. After rotating, I suffered problems with WiGiG & LTE coexistance - as soon as I used LTE (LTE particularly, HSPA was OK), WiGiG started disconnecting and rectinnecting intermittenly (producing error 0x1014 in Intel Wireless Dock Manager) to a point of being unusable. After long fruitless troubleshooting, I switched WWAN main and aux cables on the WWAN modem, and voila, works just fine. Some piece of plastic is required beneath WiGiG cable near the antenna connector, otherwise it may get loose and you'll have to reattach it; error code 0x1020 in Intel Wireless Dock Manager is pointing exactly at that.

    * Photo (actual):


    * Photo (previous):


    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
  2. amitabhr

    amitabhr Newbie

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    Thanks for the detailed post & pics Starlight5. Internals look identical to a Thinkpad Yoga 260.

    I must have opened up my TPY260 about 20 times by now to fix reception / antenna issues, and finally broke the LCD ! (Have replaced that now)

    So I got an EM7455 from aliexpress and installed it. The included antennas are only around 20 cm so they don't reach the top and if I try to put them near the edges then only 2 of them can go there so I put the GPS antenna near the bottom edge. See Image 1 below.
    Now, I get pretty ****ty reception compared to using the same SIM in any phone or dongle. Tried all permutations / combinations of the 3 antennas.

    My queries are:
    1. Can I extend the antenna cables by soldering a 20-30 cm section of wire ? so that I can try and put them in the positions indicated in your pics.
    2. The antennas are different shape than yours in the pic above (or my built-in wlan antennas in the TPY260) (see image 2 below), so should I get ones which look like the original built-in ones and with longer cables ? If yes, then will this one work ? or this one ?


    Link 1:

    Link 2: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2PC...id=b021ff1e-5daa-41b2-914a-8db4a83dad34&tpp=1

    Image 1:


    Image 2:
    Starlight5 and hmscott like this.
  3. Starlight5

    Starlight5 I'm a cat. What else is there to say, really?

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    @amitabhr my system is indeed TPY 260.

    First of all, you don't need a dedicated GPS antenna - it does not provide substantial benefit, yet makes things noticeably harder to fit. Your AUX antenna will serve as GPS antenna as well, if you disconnect the GPS antenna.

    To determine if antennas you bought are any good for your LTE frequency, try them outside the laptop at some distance, e.g. putting on a table in position you're going to use them inside your laptop. I recommend speedtest.net. Not sure how soldering cable (or using extension cable) would affect antenna performance, it's definitely easier to buy a set with longer cables.

    Try the built-in WLAN antennas for LTE as well, and compare their performance with the antennas you bought. Remove your WLAN card while doing so, or connect other antennas to it. This will provide a definitive answer on whether you should get similar WLAN antennas for LTE, or not. I personally used t460s WLAN antennas for LTE, but they are somewhat expensive.

    If you decide to buy a new set of antennas, measure the length of both factory-installed antenna cables, add a couple cm to the left and subtract about 10 cm from the right; also, add 3-4 cm if antenna sold has the wrong cable orientation - and that's the minimum cable length for each antenna you need. I'm not good with physics, so no idea whether buying a matching main+aux set of antennas makes any benefit or not.

    Good luck!

    p.s. Regarding the display replacement you bought - is it anti-glare like the factory one, or glossy? Does backlight control work fine? How much did it cost you?
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017

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