Sunday, August 16, 2020

Working with computers is getting harder, because of obfuscation.

TLDR:   Fuck you Dell!

I purchased an Inspiron 17 1700 and although I really like many features of it, it's obvious that all the effort went into making a computer that looks good from the outside, but is crap on the inside. 

Right now I'm struggling with WiFi, the M.2 WiFi/Bluetooth card that it comes with is an ok B/G/N card.  But the pace of technology is accelerating, and I need at least AC support if not the latest and greatest AX.  

So, I'm hunting for a replacement WiFi card, and I want to know what cards the M.2 slot supports. Their specification document says "One M.2 slot for WiFi/Bluetooth" . Not helpful.  

From their own documentation there are several different keyings and sizes of M.2 slots that can accept WiFi/Bluetooth cards.  I think even among the differently keyed slots there are likely to be other support issues.  The whole M.2 slot ecosystem is the opposite of straight forward.

 Icing on the cake, is that their feedback system is currently down, so the only way I can shame them is on this blog.   Which no one reads because mostly it's just me ranting about problems.  (Sorry!)

I really want this to be a good day.  I'm going to keep trying.


Update: As far as I've figured out an A-keyed or an A+E-keyed M.2 slot will accept A-keyed or A+E-keyed WiFi cards.  E-keyed cards must go only into E-keyed slots.

Still haven't found any detailed technical documents on these slots; but I'm feeling better about this.  I bought a pair of Intel AX200NGW cards, so hopefully they are backward compatible with me A-keyed M.2 slot. 

When I removed the Intel 9260NGW from the motherboard the antenna studs broke off from the WiFi card and got lodged in the antenna wires.  I'm so proud of me I didn't even get upset.  I just carefully pried the debris out of the connectors and moved on.

I'll have to install the original card when I get home.