List of mini pcie 3x3 ac cards?

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by cyclone3d, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The only one I have found that will work in my laptop is:

    Broadcom BCM94360HMB / Azurewave AW-CB160H - came in an ASUS WiFi Go setup from what I could find.

    Anybody know of any others besides the one that came in some Apple devices?
     
  2. bman212121

    bman212121 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Maybe there's a marvell or Atheros one... I can tell you there is not an Intel 3 x 3 AC adapter out there at all.

    For reference, I checked the wifi card you posted and it's a PCIe half height card. That makes a difference as it's the older style and not the new m.2 formfactor. (You can tell the difference because the new one has 2 notches in it instead of 1)

    This might be of help:

    https://wikidevi.com/wiki/List_of_802.11ac_Hardware

    With that list though, there is a full height PCIe adapter which is 3 x 3, but unless you have the room for it, it's not going to work.

    WLE900VX 802.11ac / abgn 3x3 MIMO Atheros QCA9880 Wireless Mini PCIe 2.4/5 Ghz Dual Band


    It doesn't appear there is a marvell at all, so it's been the same model Broadcom you're looking at, or the one Atheros model. The majority of the 3 x 3 devices I see listed used the Broadcom...
     
  3. JBark

    JBark [H]ard|Gawd

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    I looked into this a while ago, the AW-CB160H was the only one I could find that was half-height, mini-pcie, 3x3 802.11ac. Note that it doesn't use the regular antenna connections, it uses an even smaller MHF4 connector, so if you've current got an older 3x3 card with 3 antenna cables, you probably won't be able to use those cables.

    I bought mine off of AliExpress, but there's usually a couple sellers on eBay as well.

    I did run across a couple mentions of card from Apple, but I think those ended up being a non-standard size, so wouldn't work.
     
  4. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I did some research on the Atheros one. It looks like it will work in Linux, but there are no drivers for Windows.

    I ended up ordering an AW-CB160H with antenna adapters off of eBay.

    What I don't get is why there aren't more options out there. AC has been out for a few years now.. and there are a good number of high speed AC routers, but not only are laptop adapters sorely lacking, but so are desktop adapters.

    Makes no sense.
     
  5. bman212121

    bman212121 [H]ard|Gawd

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    The 3 antenna design is pretty rare in any device. The more antennas used, the more complex the design, more power it consumes, etc. etc. As far as I know multiple spatial streams first only became a thing in 802.11n, so the entire setup is still fairly new. Even in draft it wasn't actually designed so that you would have 3 antennas on each side, and get 3 spatial streams. You might have 3 antennas on the AP and two on the client, and the 3rd antenna was really only there for diversity. After N was solidified a lot of the 3 antenna designed were dropped in favor of 2 x 2 instead. Once that gets engrained you get the chicken / egg problem. Vendors are happy with 2 antennas on their APs because the majority of consumer devices only have 1 or 2 antennas. There is no need to push for more antennas on the client side since most APs only utilize two antennas. Factor in the explosive growth of mobile and IoT, and you soon see that the market is dominated by this.

    We are now seeing some crazy high antenna counts in consumer routers, but it wasn't necessarily because of wanting to push 4 x 4 to another device, but using MU-MIMO to support multiple smaller devices at the same time. I don't think there is a market at all on the desktop for 4 x 4 adapters, because anyone who's building a high end setup will just skip wifi and go straight to hardwired. There might be a slightly larger audience in the high end laptop market, but not so much that there is enough volume for someone to help push it forward. 2 antennas is usually enough to get the job done while you're mobile, and if you're doing heavy lifting it's usually near an outlet, so once again I'd be more inclined to just plug in if I really cared about speed.
     
  6. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    N was finalized in 2009. That was 7 years ago. Even before then, the "draft" adapters and routers were doing multiple streams.

    The higher end laptops had 3x3 N for the most part. The more mainstream ones only has 2x2, but still had the 3rd antenna in case you wanted to put a 3x3 card in them. I'm looking specifically at Dell Latitude e6420/e6430 and Precision M4600/4800.
    Not sure about consumer oriented laptops as the quality on them tends to be utter crap for the most part.

    AC was released in 2013. That was 3 years ago.

    It seems to me like the main reason for the lack of more than 2x2 on most devices is to cut cost. And since the general consumer has no clue about it, then as long as the device has "AC" they won't know the difference.