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I'm interested in possibly upgrading my MacBook Pro's wireless card. Is this possible? Can I take apart the MacBook and install it? Is there a guide somewhere on how to do this?

(This isn't because of wireless performance, just lack of stable driver support on Linux.)

  • Which exact model of MacBook Pro is it? (secret decoder ring here, if you only have the serial number, which is printed at the bottom: appleserialnumberinfo.com) – Ingmar Hupp Jan 6 '12 at 18:59
  • It's a 8,3, 17" late 2011. – Naftuli Kay Jan 6 '12 at 19:31
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Probably not, but you can use the ExpressCard slot instead

The model you mentioned (17" MacBookPro8,3 late 2011) does seem to have a separate Wifi/bluetooth assembly, but you'll probably have a very hard time finding a matching replacement in both size and connection. I didn't find a disassembled 17" model, but the card in the 15" of the same generation looks like this (4 antenna connectors and what is probably some sort of PCI Express cable).

However, since yours is a 17", it does have an ExpressCard slot, where you can stick in a Wifi card of your choosing (something like this) without even having to take the whole machine apart.

Or patch around your Linux kernel with one of the BCM4331 drivers that are out there, but I assume you've already tried that.

  • I'm using the BCM4331 driver, it more or less works, but loses connection intermittently and also conflicts with Bluetooth. Lost about 4 days of my life to figuring that last one out. – Naftuli Kay Jan 6 '12 at 20:22
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The MacBook Pro model you mentioned does have a separate AirPort/Bluetooth card, however, this cannot be changed to a different model.

I'd do what other people have suggested and make use of your ExpressCard slot.

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