After dealing with some Broadcom STA issues, I decided to swap wireless chips with an available Intel card I had on the shelf. To my surprise, the system locked on boot and said an unauthorized network card was detected and must be removed to boot. I thought this was a fluke, so I called tech support. Nope, definitely no mistake. I was unable to swap wireless cards in the particular unit I was working on.
Tonight I got a hold of another laptop, different model, but same brand. I swapped wireless cards in it just for kicks and sure enough, it locked up as well.
I can understand from a business standpoint to ensure the compatibility between your hardware platforms you fire out, but I'm having a little difficulty understanding how this makes sense to the end user. So when a new wireless standard comes out, you're just unable to upgrade it because the manufacturer says so? Am I understanding this properly? Or perhaps can you buy a new wireless card with their brand and upgrade accordingly? Based on the conversation I had over the phone, it sounded like I was indefinitely locked into using this wireless card with no upgradability on the table. That was just one phone tech support though, so perhaps there is more information to the story than what I initially received.
At any rate, I am growing increasingly disappointed with how Lenovo (yes, Lenovo) locks these units into specific wireless chipsets. I understand HP does the same thing, but HP hasn't really been my go-to brand for laptops and other pieces of hardware. I'm thankful that I learned this newfound information on work issued systems I had available, as I cannot possibly fathom purchasing a Lenovo for personal use after finding this out. System 76 is looking so dang nice these days.
Has anybody else ran into this? Is there any way around it without risking a BIOS hack and ultimately a potential BIOS crash, rendering the system useless?