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Can I install 802.11ac AirportCard on MBP 13 mid-2012 non retina?

Hi everyone,

Is it possible to install a newer Airport Card supporting 802.11 ac on MacBook Pro 13" Mid-2012 ( MacBookPro9,2 ) non retina ?

I was looking at installing BCM94360CSAX as it was explained on this post : Can I use its 802.11ac AirPort Card on my RMBP 15 (mid2012)?

but it seems to be possible only on Retina models..

I have a really great connection at home ( 1 Gb/s ) but I can't take full advantages of it with my actual MBP Wifi Card.

Speed Test on Ethernet :


Speed Test on Wifi :


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From your test results I would suspect your real issue is the WiFi Access Point (AP). The slower bands have this level of throughput. The higher bands allow more throughput but are limited by distance and some walls.

You'll need to first check the specs of the unit and look to see how to enable 5.0 GHz set of bands. You may want to label the 5GHz AP slightly different than your 2.4 GHz bands (I append the number 5 & 2 to my AP names). Then within your system set it for the 5.0 GHz band and re-test.

You may also want to get a WiFi scanner to see what channels are being used around you. Ideally you want to use a set that is not used by others or at least channels which the other AP's signal strength is lower so your AP can discriminate it from your AP.

Start there and tell us what you have for a access point and what you get for throughput then.

As to the AC AirPort:

Yes you can swap it out, but the throughput won't be different if you don't have a MIMO AP unit. You'll also need to make sure the driver the system is using is the correct one and you have the correct antennas within your system.

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Thank you for your answer !

I did activate 5 GHz band on my AP. Than I ran a wifi scan for best bands and changed my 2.4 GHz to channel 1 and 5 GHz to channel 44 !

The new Speed Test on 5 GHz is already slightly better : http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/45206...

I have checked my AP and apparently it supports MIMO 3x3 (450 Mb/s)

Now if I want to change my MBP non-retina AirPort which one should I choose ? Can I install the BCM94360CSAX ?

Your system only has two matched attenna's so your limited here. While the ad boards still will give you a bit more speed down stream your upstream is very close to your internet connections limit. At best you'll get 20-40 Mb/s more which I don't think in its self is worth it.

Hi Dan,

I have the same laptop as Matthieu and I've tried playing with channels, testing on both 2.4 and 5 Ghz...I get at most 30 Mbps (from the kitchen to the living room in a 64 square meter apartment - no huge concrete walls or anything equivalent).

I have bought an AP that can do 802.11ac 1 month ago and wanted to also upgrade my laptop.

How many antennas that can be used in MIMO does this one have? (I've read everywhere that it is suppose to be 2...but then I saw some pics with the actual wifi/bluetooth card where it seemed to have 3?! maybe I did not find the right one...that's what I think at least)

Can I upgrade it to 802.11ac despite the hardware limitation?

If yes, which card would be compatible?

From what I've read the one that the people who have the same model but with Retina have tried, is not the same size and does not fit.

Any help, please?

I've googled the other threads where you replied but there was no conclusion for the non-Retina model.... :(



@Mihai - You do have 3 WiFi antennas in this model. One is for 2.5 GHz and two for the 5.0 GHz frequency. Yes, you can install a 802.11ac board (review this: Continuity Activation Tool for the details). Yes its not the same size and it does take a bit of work to get it to fit. The question is what will you gain? If you are expecting hight data rates from the internet you might not see much of a difference as there are other factors that could be hindering you. If you are expecting high speed access to your own server again the performance limits of your server may limit you. While we have systems with ac boards and have upgraded quite a few AP's and servers. Our internet limitations are still holding us back. So we only gained local access improvements in a office environment. At home I gained more throughput when I upgraded my cable service. But even then some hosts throttle the stream so its hit or miss. Just be careful pulling on the antenna wires.

@Dan - Thanks for clarifying it...now it's clear with the antennas (I knew it had dual band but was not aware hardware wise which was for what)

No high data rates on the Internet that I expect (I do not require that much bandwidth as when I was a bit younger)

Purpose is simple:

- I have a NAS connected to a Netgear router (one I bought some time ago and modified / soldered extra memory to it)

- Over the current wifi setup, when I am in the same room, I get a max of 90 Mbps (I also have to relocate the AP to get better coverage in the other rooms of my flat - it's not a huge flat -)

- I'd like to have more

- I have tried powerline but there I was having only 30-35 Mbps (crap electrical circuitry)

- I measured both with file transfers and iperf + windows size changing + also udp the capacity

A little bit of "bricolage" as the French say is possible if I need to trim the card a bit (without affecting the circuitry) or if I need to do something similar in that little place where it has to be installed

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Have you had any luck finding a suitable card?


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Sadly Broadcom stopped production the AC version of the Combo board your system requires. The parts run was short as Apple altered its design in the next model series. Here's what yours looks like: 13" MacBook Pro 802.11n AirPort bd and the newer model: 13" MacBook Pro 802.11ac AirPort bd. Note the differences in the connector interface.

Here's the only source I was able to find the last time I tried to get a few. They said they wouldn't be getting any more: 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE upgrade for the 2011-2012 15 inch MacBook Pros and 13 inch non-Retina MacBook Pro see if they can help you.

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Found this. https://subtle.design

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Sadly, this is an old parts posting. They just don't have any. Remember Broadcom only made a test run and as no one bought the part (Apple in this case) they where sold off and that was it, no more ;-{

If you are lucky you might find a recycled one if someone spots it, not likely though.

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