Atheros Wireless Cards

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Atheros Wireless Cards

Postposted on Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:54 pm

At my work and as a personal experience I swear Atheros is the worst brand for wireless cards. We have been actively swapping out any laptops the company owns with Intel ones and that seems to resolve the issue. What I love is when people bring personal machines in and get angry when they can't connect and of course they have an Atheros card! Anyone else have issues with this brand?
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Re: Atheros Wireless Cards

Postposted on Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:04 pm

My home PC has a built-in Atheros chip and it gives way more problems and drops than the intel one in my work machine.. I think my router may be flaky also, (Linksys E3000), so that doesn't help at all.

Is it easy to swap the wifi or do you just replace the laptop?
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Re: Atheros Wireless Cards

Postposted on Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:11 pm

We have Lenovo laptops so it's pretty simple to swap cards. We really just see it with our older R series models since we make sure to request the Intel cards in all the new machines.
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Re: Atheros Wireless Cards

Postposted on Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:24 pm

If you can't remove from the laptop just disable the internal card and install a USB or PCMCIA card. I have done that in the past.
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Re: Atheros Wireless Cards

Postposted on Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:52 pm

Tons of issues over the years with Atheros. Intel's generally just works. For all the hate Intel gets, their stuff generally works great without headache.
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Re: Atheros Wireless Cards

Postposted on Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:54 pm

I wish Intel would make a PCIe 802.11n card- I went with a TP-Link 600Mbps card, and I'm replacing a D-Link with a TP-Link Dual-band router tonight. I have Intel 6000-series in both laptops; they're the best there is.
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Re: Atheros Wireless Cards

Postposted on Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:37 pm

Omniman wrote:At my work and as a personal experience I swear Atheros is the worst brand for wireless cards. We have been actively swapping out any laptops the company owns with Intel ones and that seems to resolve the issue. What I love is when people bring personal machines in and get angry when they can't connect and of course they have an Atheros card! Anyone else have issues with this brand?

There are a number of issues with any chipset that isn't Intel, though Intel had some issues at times with various chipsets themselves.

Atheros depends on the quality of the card's construction, not just the chipset, and there are plenty of cheap, crappy vendors. Broadcomm has its issues too; I probably have half a dozen Dell WLAN 1390 laptop cards I yanked and replaced because of issues with them, and the WLAN 1501 (wireless-N Broadcomm) isn't a whole lot better. There are some RA-Link options out there too, I haven't played with them enough to say much, but I don't use them because if I can use Intel, I do.

I've had Atheros cards for the Lenovo ThinkPad T60 and T61 that worked fairly well, but the quality control and shielding on the cards was far higher-grade than, say, an Atheros card made for an Acer laptop. And you'll find your home users often cheap out on laptops, resulting in cheap wireless cards.

One note - Dell is the least picky about swapping/upgrading wireless cards in laptops. You can put a lot of different cards in without issue. Toshiba, HP, and Lenovo all key their BIOS to require their-branded version of a wireless card (e.g., you need a Lenovo-branded Intel 5300, not an OEM-Intel); if the card isn't recognized (either due to manufacturer, or to being much newer or older than the laptop), the laptop won't boot. Workarounds include using a modified BIOS (which is what I did so my SO's ThinkPad SL could have a Lenovo Intel 6205), or in some cases, taping over (or using clear nail polish on) a certain pin or two on the wireless card.
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Re: Atheros Wireless Cards

Postposted on Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:42 am

I'm a little late, but I've found often enough the problem with Atheros is the OEMs not distributing decent drivers.

You can find new ones at station-drivers.com or even slightly behind at atheros.cz that work much better.

I certainly recommend other brands for less hassle, but it's a strange beast. Qualcomm owns Atheros now so it should be all uphill from there, especially considering they're still releasing new drivers for older chipsets.
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