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I have been having troubles with my X121e wireless as described in this post.

The connection is very weak, so I figured I'd invest in a wireless card Centrino Advanced-N 6205.

When I plug in the card into the spare PCIe slot, the computer doesn't boot at all (I can't even access the BIOS). Trying to disable the wireless card in the BIOS also doesn't work. (After disabling the wireless card, saving changes and exiting, the system restarts. Looking in the BIOS, the card is enabled again.)

Also, the old wireless card sat so tight, that even without slipping once, my screwdriver just scooped out the heart of the screw, so that there is no hope of removing the old wireless card...

I am quite desperate to have a working internet connection.

  1. What can I do to disable the old wireless card and enable the new one?
  2. Is it possible to check if ubuntu even recognizes the card (e.g. when I plug in the card right after I pass by the BIOS)?
  3. Is is worth looking into trying to upgrade (i.e. flash) my BIOS?
  4. Could the BIOS distinguish the new wireless card in the spare slot from a WWAN card and refuse to start (without a worning)? That is, do I win anything by drilling out the old wireless card?
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You can blacklist its driver. Find out what it is with: lshw -C network and we'll proceed. – chili555 Apr 10 '13 at 14:24
@chili555 It says driver=rtl8192ce driverversion=3.5.0-27-generic firmware=N/A. – Earthliŋ Apr 10 '13 at 22:33
That done, I still need to be able to turn on the computer with the new card in place, which is not possible at the moment... – Earthliŋ Apr 10 '13 at 22:43
Are you sure the "second miniPCI-e" is a minipci-e slot, and not an msata slot? – clemej Apr 15 '13 at 2:38
@clemej Yes, the slot is intended for PCIe WWAN cards. – Earthliŋ Apr 15 '13 at 2:49

To disable the old wireless card, please open a terminal and do:

sudo su
echo "blacklist rtl8192ce" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

Please be certain that your laptop does not utilize a whitelist for allowable wireless cards.

Most Lenovos, including my two, use a BIOS whitelist. If the Centrino you picked is not on the list, it is very tricky to bypass and may brick the laptop.

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Thanks. I chose the card because a very similar model had been used without any problems by someone in this post. – Earthliŋ Apr 10 '13 at 22:51
I tried the spare slot with pin 20 taped over (I only have ordinary sello tape atm), but still the computer doesn't turn on. That is, I don't even get an error: The computer is on, the fan turns, but I can't even get to the BIOS. – Earthliŋ Apr 10 '13 at 23:23
How did you select pin 20? I suspect you may need a card that's actually used in your exact model. Please check here: – chili555 Apr 11 '13 at 12:55
Someone used a Intel Centrino 6200 without any problems (post linked both in my question and the above comment), although it is not listed on the page you linked to... – Earthliŋ Apr 11 '13 at 13:08
I don't know what else to tell you. The other person may have had a different BIOS version. Is yours fully updated? Maybe it was an earlier BIOS version. Perhaps it would be more productive to troubleshoot the internal card although Realteks are quite tricky. – chili555 Apr 11 '13 at 13:49
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I gave up and bought a Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 instead, which works fine (even with the original card in place). Ubuntu 12.04 gives you a choice for each wireless connection on which card to use.

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As described in the comments here, try and remove the old WLAN card before using the new card in the WWAN/UMTS Slot.

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I'll need to drill out the old card and I don't have the tools for that at the moment. Would it be too much to ask (if you still have your old card) to plug in your old card and see whether your computer, too, doesn't even get to the BIOS? – Earthliŋ Apr 18 '13 at 10:17
sure I'll look if I can still find it. – Uli Apr 18 '13 at 14:12
Thanks, that'd be great. – Earthliŋ Apr 18 '13 at 14:16
Ok I just tested and the PC booted even with the original card installed. But I kind of remember having a reason for removing it. Perhaps the newer drivers (manually installed) for RTL8188CE are causing problems for you (mine got removed with the Kernel updates that have happened since). My Bios is version 1.16 btw – Uli Apr 18 '13 at 16:51
Thanks. Let's see what happens when I drill out the old card. – Earthliŋ Apr 19 '13 at 0:52

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