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Sight
Paper Tape
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-06-2015
Location: Portugal
Views: 1,412
Message 1 of 20

IdeaPad U330 Touch - Bad WiFi Reception

I bought an IdeaPad U330 Touch a few months ago, I always noticed it had a pretty bad WiFi reception and overall functionality, the connection drops quite often at 4 or less bars of signal, I tried fixing this by toggling max performance on the power options, this did not work.

I tried installing the most recent drivers and all the official supported software, as well as the most recent intel wireless drivers, neither of which made things better.
Performance was equally poor on Linux, clarifying that the issue is not with the software, but the hardware.

 

I recently thought about upgrading the wireless card, which I wouldn't have to do if Lenovo would employ care in choosing the hardware that goes into their products, but apparently that's simply asking too much.

The card I chose was an Intel 7260ac dual band 5ghz, which is literally the upgraded version of the card I currently have in my laptop.
To my surprise that card is not supported. In fact, no 5ghz card is supported on this laptop.
This is because of Lenovo policy to only whitelist a few(4) cards, if you try to run your laptop with a non whitelisted card, it won't even boot up, you get a "Unautherized card, please power off and remove it" message.

Oh and by the way, my laptop package did not come with a list of the supported parts, I had to find the official list online on the technical manual, which apparently does not come with the laptop itself.

 

So I'm left with recommending everyone to stay away from the U330 Touch, because it's wireless reception is simply too poor for everyday use. At college with Cisco routers spread LITERALLY every 10 meters, I get a pretty mediocre signal. At home I can't get signal in my bedroom, 8 meters away from the router with 2 walls in the way. My previous Toshiba laptop would get transfer rates of at least 4Mbps without dropping the connection.


I'd also like to say that Lenovo only recently started (officially) selling laptops in my country, Portugal, but they have no support system in place. There is no Lenovo Portuguese portal, and the only support e-mail/phone number I could find after EXTENSIVE searching is a Spanish one.
Yes, the official support for my country, is not even in my country's language. When I contacted them about an unrelated problem, I got back a very badly translated response, which was pretty offensive if you ask me, and it turned out to be useless generic "check the official support page" type of response, when I wrote a followup e-mail saying the official pages did not offer support for that particular issue, they didn't even bothered replying.



I am extremely disappointed with my Lenovo experience, I think this shows them as a very unprofessional company.

user24785
Paper Tape
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎08-12-2015
Location: Netherlands
Views: 1,247
Message 2 of 20

Re: IdeaPad U330 Touch - Bad WiFi Reception

Hi Sight

 

I was wondering if you managed to find a solution as I'm dealing with the same issue. Thanks for mentioning the technical documentation, without this I would have had no clue where to start.

 

So these are the 4 supported cards that you mentioned:

 

WLAN WiFi 2x2 BGN+BT4.0 Intel 7260BN 2x2BN+BT PCIE HMC WLAN (U330/U330 Touch/U430/U430 Touch) 20200412 N

WLAN Intel Wifi 2x2 BGN(tech ready) Intel 2200N MOW M PCIE NB HMC WLAN (U330/U330 Tpuch) 20200048

WLAN Non-Intel Wifi 2x2 ABGN+BT 4.0 combo Cbt BCM943228HMB 2x2ABGN+BT4.0 HMC WLAN (U330/ U330 Touch/U430/U430 Touch) 20200221 N

WLAN Liteon WB222 2x2ABGN+BT4.0 HMC WLAN (U330/U330 Touch/U430/U430 Touch) 20200225 N

 

You wrote that none of them support the 5ghz band, but is this really the case? I checked the last two and they might be ok. I'll do some more research and see if I can order one of them.

 

Cheers

Sight
Paper Tape
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-06-2015
Location: Portugal
Views: 1,239
Message 3 of 20

Re: IdeaPad U330 Touch - Bad WiFi Reception

Hey,
No I never did fix the problem, I'm left with a laptop with no ethernet port and a crappy wireless reception, makes a lot of sense.


I have to admit that what I said about them not supporting 5Ghz wasn't backed by facts, I merely looked at the supported cards list, noticed none of them are 802.11ac. I thought there were no Wireless N 5Ghz cards, so if that's not the case I apologize.


Still I have to say, 5Ghz does not help with wireless reception problems, it makes it worse seeing as how it has shorter range. It's good mostly for dealing with interferences, signal heavy environments and such.
When I chose the 7260ac card to replace the one in my laptop, it wasn't solely because of the dual band functionality, it was mostly because it was a better card altogether, and had decent reviews everywhere.


Btw the 3rd card in that list I believe is a CyberTan(Broadcom) card, in case that helps with finding information about  it online.


If you still want to try out one of those cards, my advice to you is make sure you can return it, I was fortunate enough that I could return mine to amazon, so I only lost postage costs in the whole ordeal.


And if you get it working, tell me how it worked out, if you get better performance than the stock card.


Good luck.

user24785
Paper Tape
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎08-12-2015
Location: Netherlands
Views: 1,219
Message 4 of 20

Re: IdeaPad U330 Touch - Bad WiFi Reception

I went ahead and ordered one from China for one quarter of the European prices. It will take weeks for it to get here but I'll post another message once I've tested it. For me interference with other networks is the issue so using the 5Ghz range should improve the connection.

Sight
Paper Tape
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-06-2015
Location: Portugal
Views: 1,215
Message 5 of 20

Re: IdeaPad U330 Touch - Bad WiFi Reception

I hope you were careful choosing the card, someone stated on these topics that you should always get parts with matching FRU numbers.
And yes, 5Ghz should help you in that sense.

I also noticed that there's new drivers available for the Intel wifi card on U330 Touch, I'll be trying them off soon, not much hope about them doing much but oh well.

user24785
Paper Tape
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎08-12-2015
Location: Netherlands
Views: 1,207
Message 6 of 20

Re: IdeaPad U330 Touch - Bad WiFi Reception

The seller claims it's parts number is 20200221 so in theory it will be good, but I'm prepared for failure. I spent hours looking for it and frankly I got rather tired of the process...

user24785
Paper Tape
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎08-12-2015
Location: Netherlands
Views: 1,173
Message 7 of 20

Re: IdeaPad U330 Touch - Bad WiFi Reception

The card has arrived today in a bit more than a week and it works perfectly in the U330 Touch. Time will tell if the quality of the connection improved or not, but at least now I can also connect to the 5Ghz network.

 

This is what I ordered:

 

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/BCM943228HMB-Wireless-802-11abgn-Bluetooth-4-0-Half-MINI-PCI-E-Card-f...

Sight
Paper Tape
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-06-2015
Location: Portugal
Views: 1,166
Message 8 of 20

Re: IdeaPad U330 Touch - Bad WiFi Reception

Also, what was the max speed you could reach with the old card? Max I could get would be around ~12MBps, which seemed low for me since this is a WirelessN card, it should reach around ~50MBps, at the very least.
And how fast does the new card get?

user24785
Paper Tape
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎08-12-2015
Location: Netherlands
Views: 1,153
Message 9 of 20

Re: IdeaPad U330 Touch - Bad WiFi Reception

I don't have any stats saved for the old card... It was ok as long as the wifi network wasn't too congested. With the new card the maximum I measured was 10 mbytes/sec. This was a file copy from the U330 Touch to a computer on gigabit LAN. The U330 Touch was 1 meter far from the router. I tried with a free network speed tester tool and that reported roughly the same speed so hopefully this test was not limited by hard disk performance. At the time of the test the U330 Touch was connected to the 2.4Ghz network, I haven't found a way yet to force it to stay on the 5Ghz network. Hope this helps!

Sight
Paper Tape
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-06-2015
Location: Portugal
Views: 1,144
Message 10 of 20

Re: IdeaPad U330 Touch - Bad WiFi Reception

As for the speed it sounds very similar to what I have, I reached max 12MBps under the same circumstances as your test, file transfer from a LAN desktop.
What I'm really most interested in is signal reception, can you let me know if you find that it performs better than the stock card?
And btw thanks for all the info you're providing.

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