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Atheros wireless - what a difference!

T60/T61 series specific matters only
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kc7gr
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Atheros wireless - what a difference!

#1 Post by kc7gr » Sat Jul 12, 2008 10:49 am

For those who may be interested in swapping out their Intel 3945ABG cards (41W1027) in favor of the Atheros unit (39T5578 FRU, P/N 40Y7026), there's a seller on Ebay who goes by the moniker of 'dragon_on_the_edge' who's got a bunch of them. Pretty reasonable price, I think... $33 plus shipping. Mine came up to $41, mainly because of WA state's new tax codes.

I will be most interested to see how the performance of the replacement card compares with the Intel device (which I have not been particularly impressed with). I would have requested the Atheros card when I first ordered the system, but it was not available as an option at the time.

One warning: Double-check the part numbers on the Ebay listings before you bid! Some sellers are putting "39T5578" in their listing, but the part they're selling is actually the Intel card. Here's a link with an example of the right part number and wrong card.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0267337187

This is a link to a listing of the right card.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0236494937

UPDATE: 16-Jul-08
-----------------------

Got the card today, had no trouble at all with installation, and got to admire the neat innards of my system as well.

Aesthetics aside -- You can add me to the list of believers. This card is an order of magnitude better in performance and sensitivity than the Intel 3945ABG ever dreamed of being. It picks up (and works with) access points I couldn't even detect with the Intel.

Unlike some, I have not noticed any anomalous behavior with the wireless LED status indicator. It blinks a bit faster than it did with the Intel, when data is being passed, but that's it as far as I can tell.

The only remaining hiccup is it's going to take me a little while to get used to the way Access Connections does things.

Happy travels.

Moderator edit: Shortened URL to prevent horizontal scrolling
---
Bruce Lane, Owner & Head Hardware Heavy,
Blue Feather Technologies
T500 with Windows 7 Pro x64, Webcam, Atheros/IBM a/b/g Wireless card. Thinkstation E31, Intellistations M Pro and Z Pro.
"Quid Malmborg in Plano" (Firesign Theater)

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#2 Post by Peak2Peak » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:33 am

kc7gr wrote:This card is an order of magnitude better in performance and sensitivity than the Intel 3945ABG ever dreamed of being. It picks up (and works with) access points I couldn't even detect with the Intel.
Agree! I changed over from the Intel 3945ABG that came with my T60p within weeks to the Atheros AR5BXB6 (ThinkPad 11a/b/g) - This was due to previous experience's of owning a T43 & T43p both initially came with an Intel 2915ABG and swapped them for the Atheros AR5BMB-44 (ThinkPad 11a/b/g). In both case's I found the Intel Cards to be very much less sensitive and would always disconnect from the host access points (of any make) while handling large data flow's - The Atheros Cards on the other hand latch and hold on to almost all of access points I connect to, and exchange data be it large or small with ease, even those access points that show up with signal strengths as being 10% in Access Connections. :thumbs-UP:

Can anyone shed some light with regards to comparisons (performance, connectivity etc..) between the Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN and the Atheros-ThinkPad 11a/b/g/n :?:
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#3 Post by k2jsv » Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:50 am

Hey Bruce... are the Atheros cards not compatible with managing via windows? The Intel card in my computer seems to work alright... but I like better when it is available for cheap.
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#4 Post by gator » Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:22 am

k2jsv wrote:Hey Bruce... are the Atheros cards not compatible with managing via windows? The Intel card in my computer seems to work alright... but I like better when it is available for cheap.
Windows can manage both atheros and intel cards ... you dont have to use AC if you want to.
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#5 Post by RaysMD » Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:01 am

I have always had a better experience with the Atheros a/b/g cards. However, I have not compared the newer a/g/n cards from Intel and Atheros together. I currently have the Intel 4965AGN card and have not had any problems.

maybe I'll change it out one day and do a comparison. I'm sure someone else has already done it.
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Yes, but...

#6 Post by kc7gr » Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:06 am

k2jsv wrote:Hey Bruce... are the Atheros cards not compatible with managing via windows? The Intel card in my computer seems to work alright... but I like better when it is available for cheap.
Oh, they're compatible, yes, as another post already pointed out. However, as I use AC more, I'm finding it to be handier than I initially thought.

With that said -- Where might I download the actual Atheros client application? I would at least be curious enough to try it, but the Atheros web site was not very helpful.

Keep the peace(es).
---
Bruce Lane, Owner & Head Hardware Heavy,
Blue Feather Technologies
T500 with Windows 7 Pro x64, Webcam, Atheros/IBM a/b/g Wireless card. Thinkstation E31, Intellistations M Pro and Z Pro.
"Quid Malmborg in Plano" (Firesign Theater)

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I Too

#7 Post by ArtShapiro » Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:25 am

I would also be interested if anyone has compared the Intel 4965AGN with the Atheros. In the week I've had my T61, the Intel hasn't given any problems at home or at coffee shops. But there are (rarely) times where I'm on the road and anxious to glom onto a rogue unsecured access point, courtesy of a kind-hearted or ignorant local. Obviously, having the "best" card is a virtue in this case, and is a little more logistically friendly than carrying a PC card and parabolic dish antenna through airport security!

Art

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#8 Post by mybellyisempty » Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:44 am

The Atheros AGN seemed to be better than the Intel AGN card in my experiences, shortlived as they were (didn't want to do a BIOS hack to make the 4965AGN work on my old R60).

That being said, I've had good luck with the 4965AGN for my network, but it misses networks that the Atheros saw and could connect to.
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#9 Post by bill bolton » Fri Jul 18, 2008 4:44 am

RaysMD wrote:However, I have not compared the newer a/g/n cards from Intel and Atheros together.
I have and found the Atheros card effectively killed Bluetooth connectivity on a T60, while the 4965N (using a Zender modded BIOS) didn't.

Cheers,

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#10 Post by efrant » Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:23 pm

bill bolton wrote:
RaysMD wrote:However, I have not compared the newer a/g/n cards from Intel and Atheros together.
I have and found the Atheros card effectively killed Bluetooth connectivity on a T60, while the 4965N (using a Zender modded BIOS) didn't.

Cheers,

Bill B.
I recently installed the Atheros AGN card into my T60p (and x60s), and BT works fine... just as before.
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#11 Post by Wiz » Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:24 pm

I always had some issues with the Intel wireless adapters in the past and used to hate them. Mostly i had lot of disconnect problems with the Intel adapters using dot1x wireless networks. So with all my previous Thinkpads i replaced the Intel with Atheros.

Using my current Thinkpad T61p then for the first time i have no issues with the Intel wireless adapter. So i'm not sure if the 4965AGN is better then a lot of the previous Intel wireless adapters and they finally solved the disconnect problems or if i'm just lucky this time. Anyway i find the Intel 4965AGN to work just fine and see no reason to replace with Atheros this time, but if i had the option when i bought the computer i would most likely choose the Atheros based on my previous experience. I never had any real issues with Atheros and cannot say the same about the Intel wireless adapters. My current 4965AGN is working just fine at the moment though.

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#12 Post by ziarim » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:13 pm

no 108.8mb on these cards?

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#13 Post by marvel » Sat Aug 02, 2008 12:36 pm

Installed the Atheros NIC and it seems to work fine except for the notification lamp: it´s not turning on. I suppose I didn´t attach the cables properly?

BTW: There seems to be an empty spot for a WWAN card. Is that standard on all T60 models?

/M

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#14 Post by sarbin » Sat Aug 02, 2008 12:40 pm

^^^
re: the wifi led...

the last section titled: Problem with WiFi LED
here: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Problem_w ... twork_card
might shed some light.

hth
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#15 Post by marvel » Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:23 pm

OK, thanks. I suppose I will have to reconsider fixing the Wifi-LED. The more interesting issue is the performance. When transferring a large file I got the same readings on both cards (max. 2,49 MB/s). When streaming a videofile from my stationary computer I get better performance with Intel card (the video does not freeze for a sec every 1 min). This last issue is irritating but not crucial. I have to test the card in public places or at work to really convince me of which to use.

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#16 Post by gunston » Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:02 pm

ahtheros seems to be hotter
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#17 Post by ziarim » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:51 am

ziarim wrote:no 108.8mb on these cards?
anyone know? I these cards can do 108.8, but no matter what driver I use it reads at 54.4mbs. My other atheros on my T30 reads 108.8.

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Re: Yes, but...

#18 Post by Nolonemo » Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:51 pm

kc7gr wrote:
k2jsv wrote:With that said -- Where might I download the actual Atheros client application? I would at least be curious enough to try it, but the Atheros web site was not very helpful.
Google will give you some links. Also, search on DSLReports.com, there were links posted on there. One of the 3Com X-Jack PCMICA b/g cards uses the Atheros chipset, that would work too.
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#19 Post by WPWoodJr » Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:39 pm

My T60p with Intel wireless 3945abg is a dog performance-wise. I'm getting 1/2 the download speeds of my wife's Sony Vaio - 500kb/sec vs 1mb/sec on the Vaio (using a netgear wireless router with moto surfboard cable modem and Comcast).


Is the Atheros demonstrably faster? How hard is it to replace the card?
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#20 Post by marvel » Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:55 am


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#21 Post by EOMtp » Fri Aug 08, 2008 5:12 am

WPWoodJr wrote:How hard is it to replace the card?
Here is the video for accessing the WWAN card, which is orthogonal to the WLAN card:
http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site. ... MIGR-63896

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#22 Post by WPWoodJr » Fri Aug 08, 2008 4:18 pm

Thanks!
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