Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Upgrading the AirPort Card in my Macbook Pro 15" (Early 2013) from 802.11n to 802.11ac

The Macbook Pro 15" (Early 2013), which is similar to the Mid-2012 version, was released with 802.11n Wi-Fi AirPort card. I have the AirPort Extreme (6th Gen) router at home. When I had an iMac, before I sold it, it would connect at 1300Mbps through 802.11ac. But with my Macbook Pro, it would only connect at the 450Mbps limit of 802.11n. The late-2013 Macbook Pro released by Apple included 802.11ac AirPort cards, which a teardown from iFixit revealed, was also the same size and connection type as the early-2013 version. So this meant that you could upgrade the AirPort card in the early-2013, as well as mid-2012 Macbook Pros.


I bought the Broadcom BCM4360 AirPort card from Amazon for $30. It took about two weeks to arrive from China. I unscrewed my Macbooks bottom cover with my TEKTON 2830 set that includes the needed pentalobe drivers. The AirPort card should be easy to spot. I removed the screw holding down the card, and pulled the card away from the connector (Not the motherboard!).


After installing the new AirPort card, I booted up with OSX correctly identifying the card and connecting to my Wi-Fi network seamlessly. It connected to my router via 802.11ac at 878Mbps. It is not as fast as when my iMac would connect, but I am happy to be connecting at almost double the rate of the older 802.11n!

You can option-click the Wi-Fi symbol on your menu bar to get more information about your connection.

I am happy with the upgrade, especially for only $30! If you do a lot of local transfers or backups like TimeMachine and would like a speed boost, I recommend upgrading your AirPort card as well.  Especially since it is so simple and cheap.


4 comments:

  1. How about bluetooth, it is normal? I heard bluetooth used another antenna.

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    Replies
    1. Bluetooth still worked as before.

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  2. Does the recovery work? Read online some say after upgrading wifi card recovery mode don't work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have the machine anymore, but if I remember correctly that is TRUE. I believe I had to use a physical LAN connection when doing recovery.

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