DELL WiFi gets very slow

19 Feb 2010
Posted by Laptop Junction

DELL DW-1370 miniPCI WIFI adapter

From start the DELL DW-1370 Wireless WIFI miniPCI adapter performed less than the previously used Intel 2915ABG. The DW-1370 range was smaller and when close to a WIFI access point it seemed more vulnerable to signal reflections and dead spots. Even worse it’s WIFI performance slowly degraded over time up to the point it got ridiculous. Find out what happened.
 

WIFI connection speed suddenly drops

The worst kind of problems are the ones of random and sporadic nature or exhibit a degrading effect hidden by other issues.

The DELL DW-1370 WIFI miniPCI adapter suffered from the last problem. Numerous times Internet speed suddenly slowed down – stalled for a bit – then returned again. The internet connection came from a server connected to a 3G wireless signal. This kind of behavior is not strange for 3G wireless connections, because actual connection speed depends on many factors.
 

  DELL DW 1370 Wireless WIFI miniPCI adapter T9016 REV A00 front side
DELL DW 1370 Wireless WIFI miniPCI adapter T9016 REV A00


Till the day the WIFI connection slowed down to 1-5 Kb/sec within 1,5 meter from the WIFI hotspot. WIFI signal strength was low to none – normally it was good to excellent. Moving closer, about 15 cm from the Access Point antenna helped a lot. A similar laptop with a Intel 2915ABG WIFI adapter had an excellent WIFI signal with 50-80 Kb/sec throughput. Time for some digging.
 

DW-1370 WIFI adapter diagnosis

It seemed as the DELL DW-1370 WIFI miniPCI adapter had lost it’s antenna – like the small antenna connectors had come loose from the miniPCI circuit board. No such thing was the case – inside the DELL Latitude D610 all seemed normal.

During diagnosis the DELL DW-1370 WIFI miniPCI adapter started dropping the connection within 50 cm from the a WIFI access point. Connection could only be re-established when position next to the WIFI antenna.

Rebooting, disabling / enabling the WIFI adapter with Fn+F2 didn’t help. The DELL DW-1370 WIFI miniPCI didn’t show any other strange behaviors – at software level it seemed fine. Connection performance had dropped permanently to Bytes/second level.

Not what you're looking for? Read about a software issue causing WIFI disconnects in poor signal conditions.
 

DW-1370 WIFI adapter replacement

The DW-1370 WIFI miniPCI adapter was replaced by a Intel 2915ABG WIFI adapter and all started working normally at better speeds with a good range.

The DW-1370 WIFI miniPCI adapter was retired with a probable defect in the RF circuitry most likely the antenna amplifier.

DELL DW 1370 Wireless WIFI miniPCI adapter chipset Broadcom BCM4318 DELL DW 1370 Wireless WIFI miniPCI adapter T9016 REV A00 back side
DELL DW 1370 Wireless WIFI miniPCI adapter chipset Broadcom BCM4318
DELL DW 1370 Wireless WIFI miniPCI adapter T9016 REV A00 back side

The details of the DW-1370 WIFI miniPCI adapter

Type: DW 1370
PCB version: BCM94318MPG Rev 4
DEL P/N: T9016 REV A00
Chipset: Broadcom BCM4318 EKF8G HA0608 P20 773174 N1

DW-1370 miniPCI WIFI adapter markings:

CN-0T9016-13740-64E-4762 REV A00
CE 0682
HW – REV4.2
T60H910.00 LF
003NY05004 1002
003GZ05005 1002
ETC094LPD0052
Complies with standard DA102889
FCC ID: QDS-BRCM1016
IC: 4324A-BRCM1016
CMII ID: 2004DJ22134
02348/POSTEL/2004
MIC R-LARN-04-0609 Z233
Made in China