swapping wireless NICs

Peter D. Quilty pdquilty at adelphia.net
Wed Sep 21 10:23:27 PDT 2005

I don't have a Thinpad, but I recently found this question about them in
one of Netgate's FAQs:

I have an IBM T30 (or an A30, A31, G40, R32, R40, R50, R51, T30, T40,
T41, X30, X31, X40) and would like to upgrade my mini PCI card. Will it

                No. Read this first then call IBM to complain. The IBM
                BIOS is designed to keep them from working (last update
                Sept 10, 2004). The BIOS will stop before it reaches the
                stage of booting an OS if you insert one. It's not a
                bug, since the diagnostic that shows up quite clearly
                complains about it being a non-standard miniPCI card. At
                least, this is the case with our T30, and we find it
                unlikely that IBM decided that they would no longer
                include this 'feature'. They claim it has to do with FCC
                While we're not endorsing this in any way, here is a
                very fine link to a group who are working to correct the
                http://www.paul.sladen.org/thinkpad-r31/wifi-card-pci-ids.html also see http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~mjg59/thinkpad/wireless.html
                Here is another suggested hack:
                Remove miniPCI card from laptop (if it's currently
                Boot into WinXP 
                Shutdown into 'standby' mode 
                Install Adapter 
                Wakeup from Standby mode
                XP should see and install the adapter drivers and it
                should then your miniPCI card will work
                Whenever you reboot you will have to go through this
                procedure again..


Peter D. Quilty
pdquilty at adelphia.net

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On Wed, 2005-09-21 at 09:56 -0700, Kevin Oberman wrote:

> > From: "Dan Langille" <dan at langille.org>
> > Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 09:35:40 -0400
> > Sender: owner-freebsd-mobile at freebsd.org
> > 
> > On 21 Sep 2005 at 15:15, Marcin Jessa wrote:
> > 
> > > On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 08:58:11 +0200
> > > "anon anon" <anonymous_messiah at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > > 
> > > > Im currently looking to purchase a wireless card, preferably mini-pci for my 
> > > > thinkpad R40.  Are there any well supported mpi/pcmcia cards for fbsd.  
> > > > Please don_t mention the cisco mpi350 as this card has not worked for me 
> > > > since 4.10.   This card only works for about 5 minutes or until it is placed 
> > > > under reasonable load.  It then timeouts and cannot be brought up unless the 
> > > > system is power cycled.  And yes, I have downgraded the firmware to 5.00.1 
> > > > or whatever it is numerous times.  I need a card that is known to work 
> > > > without problems under 5.x.
> > > 
> > > Use an Atheros based card.
> > 
> > This brings up something I have been thinking about.  Someone 
> > mentioned that the ipw problems I've been having on my T41 could be 
> > resolved by changing ton an Atheros based NIC.
> > 
> > Question: have you replaced your wireless NIC?  On my T41 it is 
> > internal. I'm told it's a matter of replacing it.  I understand, but 
> > haven't looked into buying an Atheros NIC and putting it in my 
> > Thinkpad, but seeing as I'm going to be in the US next week, I might 
> > just pick one up while I'm there.
> > 
> > Comments please.
> The physical swap is pretty easy. Just open the access door in the bottom
> of the unit, unplug the antenna wires and pop out the mini-PCI
> card. Then reverse to add the new card.
> In the past, ThinkPads have BIOS set to refuse to allow the system to
> boot if any mini-PCI card not of a type sold by IBM was seen. I don't
> know if the T43 still does this, but you can deal with this in a couple
> of ways:
> 1. Get the Cisco card that Lenovo sells
> 2. Hack BIOS to not get upset about it. I've seen articles on this and I
>    suspect that you can Google for it. (I don't take any responsibility
>    for dead systems if you muck with the BIOS, though. Take care!)

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