Woohoo! I found Macrus Crafter’s blog (and webpage) describing how he got a decent wireless miniPCI card (Proxim ORiNOCO 802.11a/b/g) working in his Dell 8500, and I figured it was worth a shot. It worked great in my Dell 8600! One kernel compile later, and the madwifi drivers are in great shape. I just have to test WEP and monitor mode. What a relief after the disappointment of the broadcom chipset. I won’t be buying from them ever.
The soldering was very straight forward. There were 3 solder points on the back holding the EM shield in place over the miniPCI card. Once the solder was wicked off there, I used an exacto blade to lift the tabs up, and continued to wick solder until the cover popped off. Then I wicked solder off either side of the miniPCI card where the card holder fingers had snapped into place. All in all, it took about 15 minutes, and most of that was fighting with the solder on the EM shield tabs.
On the PCI card, the antenna was plugged into the right-most antenna plug. (If looking at the PCI card with the slot down and antenna wire leaving the card to the left.) On the Dell miniPCI card, the plugs are labelled “MAIN” and “AUX”. Since I figured the current plug on the Proxim must be the “MAIN”, I plugged the white cable from the Dell (the one NOT marked “AUX”) into the right-most, and the black cable (marked “AUX”) into the left-most. This was rather awkward, since that required the cables to cross over eachother. So far, so good. I figure it just plain wouldn’t work if I screwed that up. Since I’m currently posting this from my laptop over wireless, I think I got it right. :)
© 2005, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.