Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bypass Laptop Wireless Hardware Radio Switch

I have been having issues with my Sony VAIO Fit 14 laptop since I put Windows 8.1 on it. The Broadcom Wireless Network Adapter has been not able to maintain a network connection at work or at home consistently. So, I bought a Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6250 wireless adapter off eBay for $6. (In hindsight, I would have snagged a Bluetooth model.)

It wasn't too difficult to pop in.
After I put the laptop back together and loaded the Intel drivers, I noticed it didn't find any nearby networks. I opened the Intel WiFi Connection Utility and tried to enable the network adapter, but I kept getting an error about my "Hardware Radio Switch" was turned off. This laptop doesn't have a radio switch or FN key to enable/disable the wireless any where.

So, I did the next best thing - smashed it to PIECES!!! Okay, maybe I didn't, but I sure felt like my $6 part should work!

And, I made it work... by blocking out pin 20 on the network adapters PCIe Micro interface as others have done to get their wireless adapter working after failed wireless switches or replacing wireless adapters cause these radio switch off predicaments.

Here's a picture of the mini/micro PCIe half height Broadcom BCM943142HM I pulled out of the laptop with pin 20 highlighted for reference. According the PCI Express Specification,, pin 20 (and now 51) are the W_DISABLE (wireless disable signal). In Intel's WiFi Connection Utility, Hardware Radio Switch is directly related to W_DISABLE and pin 20.

I put a piece of scotch tape (others recommend electrical tape) over Pin 20, put the card back in my laptop. If you're like me, you'll need a 5+x magnifying glass and a razor blade to cut the small piece of tape for the pin.

After I booted up the laptop, my "Hardware Radio Switch" was reporting as being turned on.

3 comments: said...
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Daniele said...

Mi si era rotto il tasto per l'accensione/spegnimento del wifi sul portatile Sony Vaio VPCF13Z1E. Ho fatto quello che indicato nell'articolo e ora iil wifi risulta acceso. Funzionaaaaaaaa! Fantasticoooo! Complimenti all'autore!

Adde said...

Wwhaat an ffuckking anarrchist !1?!! 1337

wanna to say here: TTHHAANKS,, it saved me a lot from lost time(infinity) of the unsolvable "fn+F2"-buttons out there on internet

Tthis is an rarely and unvaluable sort of h4ckk

This hack began to work after uninstall n reinstall of a newer wifi driver, intel 3945abg in laptop Dell Latitude D520. I can see the wifi-led-indicator alive again..