How do I upgrade the wireless card in my Dell XPS 13?
One small complaint with the stellar Dell XPS 13 heard from some users: the stock wireless card sucks. To be more precise, these users have a hard time finding bars while not located directly next to a wireless router. While this might not be such a big deal at home, you can't exactly move your desk at work or your seat at college.
Other XPS 13 users who installed a Linux-based operating system discovered that the stock wireless card didn't want to play nicely with their new install.
The solution to both problems? You can try a driver or a BIOS update, or you can invest about $20 in a new Intel wireless card. The Intel wireless card has both better reception overall and also plays a lot better with Linux.
The process to replace your wireless card takes about 10 minutes and is super easy with the right tools — best part is you probably already have the tools lying around the house. Want to take the plunge and completely replace the wireless card in your XPS 13? Here's how to get the job done.
- Tools you will need to upgrade the wireless card in a Dell XPS 13 9350
- The recommended replacement wireless card
- How to remove the wireless card in a Dell XPS 13
- How to replace the wireless card in a Dell XPS 13
Tools you will need to replace the wireless card in a Dell XPS 13 9350
The tools needed to replace the wireless card in your XPS 13 9350 are:
- T5 Torx screwdriver
- Phillips #2 screwdriver
- plastic opening tool (called a scribe)
- receptacle for the small parts and screws
If you don't have these tools already lying around the home or office, you can pick up a kit with everything you need and more. Delcast has a great 23-piece set that starts around $27.
The recommended replacement wireless card
As mentioned, the Intel 7265NGW wireless card will solve reception and Linux problems. It is a dual-band 2x2 AC that has 802.11 AC-B/G/N and Bluetooth 4.0. It has an M2 interface, making it compatible with the latest laptops, including, of course, the XPS 13 9350. You can pick it up off Amazon for about $20.
How to remove the wireless card in a Dell XPS 13
- Power off your XPS 13, close the lid, and flip it over.
Unscrew eight edge screws on the base cover of the XPS 13 with a T5 Torx screwdriver.
Unscrew one screw beneath the magnetic system badge using a Phillips #2 screwdriver.
Pry up the base cover of the XPS 13 with a plastic scribe starting at the back corners, near the hinge.
Remove the base cover completely using your hands.
Unscrew one screw securing the wireless card brace to the motherboard using a Phillips #2 screwdriver.
Remove the wireless card brace.
Disconnect the wireless card cables from the wireless card.
Slide the wireless card out of its slot.
How to replace the wireless card in a Dell XPS 13
Slide the new wireless card at an angle into its slot on the XPS 13.
Attach the wireless card cables to the wireless card.
Replace the wireless card brace.
Fasten the wireless card brace using one screw and a Phillips #2 screwdriver.
Replace the base cover using your hands. Start at the edge furthest from the hinges and work your way back around the edges. Ensure you also apply pressure to the middle of the base cover.
Fasten the middle screw beneath the magnetic system badge using one screw and a Phillips #2 screwdriver. If the screw doesn't find a hold, apply pressure again near the middle of the base cover.
Fasten eight edge screws using a T5 Torx screwdriver.
- Flip over your XPS 13, open the lid, and power it on.
Your wireless card
Have you replaced the wireless card in your XPS 13? Which wireless card did you use? Is your wireless connection better now that you made the switch? Let us know in the comments section below!