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Thread: Buying laptop, wireless device model vs chipset

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Buying laptop, wireless device model vs chipset

    I'm confused about wireless cards,
    I'm looking through Dell laptops, and a lot of the specifications for "Wireless" say:

    Dell Wireless 1704 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0+LE

    Now in some I saw people say for example they have "Broadcom Dell Wireless Card",
    so I'm confused why this has Dell in the name of the wireless device,
    what's Dell here?

    1) Is it Broadcom? is it Dell? is it both?

    I read there are problems with Ubuntu and Broadcom, and that it's better to find a Centrino.

    2) Is this true? should I refrain from buying a Broadcom wireless device? I really want to use Ubuntu on the laptop and want it to work so I'm checking everything beforehand

    3) whats the b/g/n thing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Re: Buying laptop, wireless device model vs chipset


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Buying laptop, wireless device model vs chipset

    It IS a little confusing. What you have to realize is that Dell doesn't MAKE anything. They buy components and assemble them. I'm sure they have some components like motherboards made to their specs but there are no Dell factories AFAIK. Yes, Broadcom is a very common WiFi chipset found in Dell, Lenovo and others. Broadcom seems to have more than their share of support threads in the networking and wireless forum but that may be because there are a lot of Broadcom chips about.

    I've had a couple notebooks with Intel wireless that were plug 'n' play. I've seen some support issues with recent Intel WiFi chipsets. I believe that some that will connect at G speeds but will not connect at N speeds. G speed= max. 54 mb./sec. N speeds will be 65 mb.sec up to 300 mb./sec or more. If I had a choice I'd go Intel. In fact I think an all Intel notebook is a good bet. Beware of notebooks with so-called hybrid graphics that have an Intel graphics chipset and also an Nvidia or ATI/AMD chipset. The idea is to have power efficient graphics for simple stuff and more powerful graphics when required such as games. Support for hybrid graphics in Linux is experimental at this point and I've seen where it's 'imperfect' in Windows as well. I hope this helps.

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