Windows 7 Forums

Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: Alternative to Ralink RT5390 half pci-e wireless card

30 May 2013   #1
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Alternative to Ralink RT5390 half pci-e wireless card

I've used two different HP laptops in my living room with wireless signal strength varying from 3-4 bars. Just today I got another HP laptop with a Ralink card installed and this one is staying mostly at 2 bars, only occasionally up to 3. Nothing else has changed.

The reasonably strong wireless connections on my other two laptops was facilitated by Intel 5100 and 5300 wireless cards. Are the Ralink wireless cards considered a step or two behind the leading brands? Would it be a good idea to get an Intel card instead, or is it more likely that the laptop has a deficient antenna arrangement? I've searched on-line for my laptop model (dv6-6145dx) and found a couple of similar complaints, but no worthwhile resolutions.

Are all PCI-e wireless cards created equal, meaning you should be able to install them in any laptop that accommodates the type? Or do some motherboard architectures lend themselves to work better with only certain brands/models?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
31 May 2013   #2
bobafetthotmail

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

I'd check from Device manager, and open the panel about that card, then look for settings about signal strength or power savings. Of course more signal strength = less power saved, but quite a few cards do have 2-3 power settings you can tweak, and you can see the difference afterwards.

It could have a crappy antenna, and in that case there is little you can do, short of modding the case to add a decent one.

Afaik, minipci-e is just an interface (the ones in laptops are "mini", an actual pci-e slot is bigger than that and won't fit in a laptop). You can run anything from it, modems, network cards/bluetooth, video co-processors, external GPUs (if you are a nerd with some experience), or whatever.

So yeah, you can swap the card, connect the antenna wires and install the drivers, and everything should be fine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2013   #3
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

^ Thanks for your advice, BobbaFett. I checked my particular WiFi card and the only selection I have to control the card's operation is the roaming sensitivity. It was set to Medium, so I switched it to High. I've seen on-line other settings that should be possible like "Transmit Power" and "Antenna Diversity", but those are absent from my device... which leads me to suspect that this isn't one of the better WiFi cards to have.


And so it would seem that the only two choices given when purchasing this laptop were RaLink and Atheros, it is probably due to business relationships and not compatibility. In this case, I think I'll give an Intel card a shot. The 5100 has been pretty good for me and there are so many available on "that auction site."
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

01 Jun 2013   #4
bobafetthotmail

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

That should be it. Try both high and low. Either should raise or decrease the laptop's wifi detection (should see more or less bars in the icon)

If you saw on the Internet that such cards should have those settings, it might be that you don't have the right driver. Windows 7 does have pretty good generic wifi drivers, so some manufacturers "forget" to install the proper ones.
Check that you have the latest anyway before spending money.

Atheros and Ralink aren't crappy cards imho (they aren't top dog, but they are reliable and drivers don't suck). Besides, they do have a market on "that auction site" as well, so you may repay or shave off half the price of an Intel one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2013   #5
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

^ I did experiment with that setting, ranging from low to high and highest with no appreciable difference. I did upgrade drivers and that also didn't make a difference. I visited a relative's home and was able to use their wireless and got a good strength indicator, but the distance from the wireless router is much shorter than in my home.

Anyway, I did more searching on the Internet and still haven't found any specific complaints about my laptop's wireless connection, other than some independent complaints about the Ralink RT5390 wireless adapter.

I'm thinking of getting an Intel 5100, but I'm now a bit put off by the flood of cheap copies from China. I'll have to do some more investigation of a reasonable source that provides genuine hardware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jun 2013   #6
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Well, the game of wireless cards just got a little more frustrating than I anticipated.

Apparently a supported connector format (e.g. PCIe, Half-mini, etc) does not guarantee compatibility. There are only certain chipsets that will work properly with a given wireless card. PLUS... apparently newer computers have a whitelist of supported part numbers stored in the BIOS and will REFUSE to work with a wireless card that isn't in the list. Great. Just great.

Anyway, Intel is apparently out because my AMD processor and chipset won't play nice with the brand.

What it comes down to is the following wifi cards: Broadcom 4313GN (657325-001), Atheros 9485GN (655795-001), Atheros 9285G (605560-005), Atheros AR8002WB (593127-001), Realtek 8188BC8 (602993-001) and Realtek RTL8191SE (640926-001). And naturally, these are all single band. I'd really rather have a dual band wifi card, but I'm not sure if there's some way to trick the BIOS into accepting a different card by a supported brand.

Any recommendations?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2013   #7
bobafetthotmail

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601
 
 

Ah damn. That's a BIOS lock, processor and chipset have nothing to do with it (as neither deals directly with the card, it's the BIOS first and Windows7 later that does), it's just a string of BIOS code that checks the Hardware IDs of the card and locks everything down if it's not in its whitelist.
If you let it boot and then connect the card afterwards, it will work fine until the next reboot (where BIOS freaks out again).
In simple words, HP (that wrote the BIOS) is an a$$ and won't let you use other cards than what it thinks are best for that particular model. I thought this kind of bs was limited to enterprise-class models where tampering would be non-existant anyway.

Assuming you got the list of approved cards already, (probably from the manual) you can try calling HP and see if they know more (but I know from experience that these things crash and burn on a rubber wall), or modding the bios whitelists.

In a bios modding forum I found this, which seems to be a modded bios for a DV6 with a slightly different configuration (has a discrete GPU, while yours does use the processor's integrated GPU, processor and chipset are the same), theoretically should work fine, but if you choose to flash it, it's AT YOUR OWN RISK (as you could brick your laptop). Follow their instructions and read the whole thread first. Make sure your BIOS has some kind of BIOS recovery from USB and that you are ready to do that in case something bad happens. Otherwise you just have to send it back to HP for repairs.

Otherwise you need to get the BIOS brand and the tools to modify the whitelist by yourself. THis is an example of a guy that did it on another laptop. This is a decent place to start from, but there are quite a few bios modding forums around.
It generally involves a hex editor and a tool to extract/reflash the BIOS code from/to the laptop, the latter is usually bios specific.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2013   #8
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

^ Thanks, BobbaFett. Funny coincidence, as I just came back from a couple of hours combing the bios-mods.com website. I found that F49 BIOS mod as well (sp54724), which is compatible for the 6135 and 6145. However, I also found someone posted a complaint that it did not effectively clear the white list.

In any case, before even trying it I noticed that the BIOS is RSA signed. You're absolutely right, HP is an a$$. I'm not quite ready to swear off the brand as yet, but this isn't helping any. I will definitely have to look into a means of being able to flash the BIOS from USB before trying this, as I certainly don't want a brick situation.

Anyway, thanks a lot for the other links. I have a feeling that hex editing the BIOS whitelist may be the only thing that will be dependable. It's not that complicated (vendor, device, subsys keys in reverse), just tedious.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2013   #9
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

OK, I have an update on all of this.


First and foremost... you can forget about modifying an RSA signed BIOS. It's a real mess. There are some enterprising hackers out there who know a thing or two about RSA security algorithms and can cobble together some hacks to get around it, but the result is generally not reliable. I read about a couple of people who had to pull their CMOS battery every 3 hours because of periodic lock-ups.

I abandoned my quest to modify the BIOS... mainly because HP stepped up to the plate. Here's what happened:
  • I wrote an e-mail to HP's 'executive complaint' representatives, describing the white list issue and the significant frustration it presents for the customer. After several days, I received a phone call from HP. They left a message because I could not take the call at that time. When I called back, they put me in touch with a representative from the HP Notebook division.
  • The rep from the HP Notebook division was not technical, but conducted a Q&A with me and took additional details from me. I made it clear that I was "not yet" soured with HP, but if I cannot get a good resolution I will likely not be a repeat customer. They took my details and forwarded them to someone in their technical department. I was given contact info and a ticket number so I could check on things.
  • Later that same day, the rep called me back and said that they had a replacement WiFi card for me. Mind you, I am out of warranty by over a year. This was the "HP sourced" version of the same WiFi card I had tried to install previously. Anyway, we confirmed the details and I was promised that a card would be sent in the mail free of charge.
  • HP had actually sent the WiFi card via Fedex, next business day. The call was on late Friday, so I would have to wait for it to ship on Monday and arrive Tuesday. It did arrive today.
  • The WiFi card was a little ambiguous. I found two different model numbers, depending upon where I looked. But worst of all, the default WiFi drivers would not function. I had to install the old card again and then seek out the drivers. I also found a Realtek diagnostic utility to help. Anyway, I got the software installed and the WiFi card started working. IMMEDIATELY I noticed an improvement. Whereas before I was getting 2-3 signal strength bars, I was now getting 4-5. An astounding difference.


So...

The Ralink RT5390 is junk. They may have better WiFi cards, but I opted for Realtek and got much better performance. My laptop sits 3 floors up from where the wireless router is. My Intel cards would show about a 3-4 bar signal strength, never touching 5 bars. The Realtek is clearly better. The card? RTL8188CE. It also shows up as RTL8192SE... which is supposed to be a 300Mbps card, whereas the RTL8188CE is 150Mbps. Whatever the case, I'm doing much better now.

Bottom line: HP customer service really stepped up. I'm very impressed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2013   #10
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

One other note...

The WiFi card I received from HP does not have an incorporated Bluetooth module. I had looked up the supported WiFi cards in the white list for the latest BIOS and saw that the Ralink RT3592 was in the list. I double-checked the model number then bought one of them off of eBay. But when I installed it, I received the dreaded "unsupported WLAN card" message. So... even if you buy a card that is supposed to be supported, you have to buy it from HP. Otherwise, it will not contain their unique item code inside it and thus refuse to start.

The other issue is that you can't just simply visit HP's website and select a WiFi card. For laptops, they are not listed as a separate part you can purchase, so you must call a sales rep. Very tedious and unnecessary.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 Alternative to Ralink RT5390 half pci-e wireless card




Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search




Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Ralink Wireless card
Hey Guys I have a problem with my Ralink wireless card. windows "says" its fine but it doesn't enable (on windows 7) It might be a driver problem i'm not sure... I have the latest driver for it too its a Ralink RT61 Turbo Wireless Card chipset is 2561/RT61 if you know of any drivers...
Hardware & Devices
Ralink RT5390 WiFi Adapter Continuously Uninstalling
It will happen in the middle of usage or sometimes when I restart. The scenario will be that the internet can't connect and troubleshooting might get it to work for a second but open second attempt the driver will either show there is an error in the manager or will altogether disappear. ...
Network & Sharing
Hp Pavilion dv6 doesn't show wireless driver- RAlink rt5390 802.11
Hi everyone, I apologize in advance- I don't know much about computers. A few days ago, I shut the lid of my Hp Dv6 6108us laptop (running windows 7 home premium 64 bit) and when I opened it later, the Wi-Fi button was lit amber, signaling that it was turned off. I pressed it again to turn it on,...
Drivers
Ralink RT5390- How can I create a second routed Admin PC??
Hello! I am trying so hard to make my HP computer able to access the internet without the primary (Administrator PC) being able to cut off my connection or change the setting to no internet access and have it affect me. It is a sticky situation; and I rather not go into why I need to do this... But...
Network & Sharing
Ralink Wireless LAN Card V2 HELP!
ello. New Here. Alright, I have a Linksys WMP54G Wireless Adapter for my Desktop. I need to use to the Ralink Wireless LAN Card V2 so I do not get any issue with Lag in my Video Games. Problem is; these keep freezing up my Computer and I need to do a Hard Reset. Be it; Streaming a Movie,...
Network & Sharing
Ralink Wireless Card Disconnected Problem
Hi. I have Windows 7 32 bit, and Yesterday I formatted my computer. I reinstalled windows, to find that my wireless drivers were no longer working, and Says "Wireless Lan Card Disconnected" I tried removing the drivers and re installing them multiple times, to no avail. I then partitioned...
Network & Sharing


Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 18:58.

Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App