kogan sent me a replacement wireless network mini card

After the problems I had connecting to wireless networks overseas with my kogan agora netbook, I emailed kogan support and explained the issues I had been facing.

A support representative emailed me back rather promptly (6 minutes later!) and acknowledged the under-performance of the VIA wifi card. They also offered to send me a replacement card, which is now being used in the agora netbooks.

I quickly took up the offer, and a week later, the new Ralink wifi card arrived in my mailbox (see the picture gallery below).

Change over of the card was very easy – power down, remove battery, remove single screw for the back panel and slide open the panel. Next I used small pliers to carefully lift off the two antenna connectors, and then after removing the single screw holding the card down I was able to pull it out. Installation of the new card was the reverse of the removal of the old.

Upon rebooting I was delighted to see the new wifi card worked out of the box – no driver installation required (unlike the VIA card). It also connected to my wireless network at home, just like the old card had.

I then checked to see what networks were available – knowing after a quick check of another laptop that three networks were in range. Unfortunately, there was still only my network available.

The next day I tried to connect to the wireless network at my workplace. Again I had the same issues that I had faced with the old card. The netbook associates with the wireless access point, but cannot obtain a DHCP lease.

I am now pretty much convinced that this is a issue with ubuntu, and dhclient. More investigation is required though – I will keep you posted.

I do recommend that anyone who has an early kogan agora or agora pro netbook with the VIA wifi card to email kogan with your original order number, and request a replacement wifi card. I was offered the option to have the card mailed to me, or to send in my netbook to have the new card installed.

With the new wifi card, you do not have to worry about drivers in ubuntu, and also the card apparently performs better than the VIA card, so it is worth the email!


This entry was posted in agora, agora pro, wireless by kayno. Bookmark the permalink.

24 thoughts on “kogan sent me a replacement wireless network mini card

  1. Pingback: kogan sent me a replacement wireless network mini card « kogan … » NetbookBlog

  2. I also had issues with the wifi range of my Kogan. I’ve been happy with everything else but the range really let me down. I’m using ubuntu remix and at first thought it was the OS that was he cause of the issue.

    I got a replacement card from Kogan. It did make a very small difference but nothing substantial.

    In the end there was nothing else for it but to add an external areal. I bought a ufl RP-TNC pigtail from ebay. Plugged it onto the network cards auxiliary plug, got an old d-link areal I had and doubled my wifi range.

    I’m getting better reception now than I could have wished for.

    It’s a very tight fit to add the areal and you probably void any of the Kogan warranty. but I’m very happy with the result. There is just enough room next to the usb on the left of the key boad to fit the RP-TNC plug. Anyone willing to crack open their Kogan should consider this option.

  3. Hi Kayno -

    I took your advice and emailed Kogan support – my new wifi is on its way.

    I also followed your advice and installed Ubuntu remix – I think it’s so much better than gOS, so I am hoping like hell you can find a solution for the wifi issue.

    I can’t say the issue is a problem and that’s probably because I’m a wifi novice so I get used to the performance issues not really having experienced wifi at its best.

    Keep up the great work for us Kogan users!

    (Happy to be a test guinea pig with my Kogan if you need one…)

  4. Hi Kayno -

    I’ve changed over to the Ralink card following your instructions. I just had to look up the MAC address (of the new card) and whack it into my router. From then on the connection was fine.

    As for performance…I’m experiencing the opposite…at least on my home network. Where I was getting 95%+ (ie in the same room as the router), I’m now down to 75%.

    I rechecked the two antennas and they are securely connected.

    Any suggestions?

  5. Hi Travis-

    I have just changed over my wireless card aswell to the new Ralink card.

    It seems like i am getting the same kind of thing happening with mine as well. In the same room as the AP i was getting 100% but now it seems to be down to about 90%.

    Is quite frustrating. Please let me know if there are any solutions that you manage to find. Would be very appreciated.

  6. I also have been sent a new ralink card which also never reads 100% in the same room as the router, but it is much better in other rooms where the old card was very flaky.

    I’ve noticed that the Wifi button on the Kogan turns on and off the blue led but doesn’t seem to turn off the card anymore.

    has anyone else seen the same?

  7. I am starting to think Les is onto something – it must be the antenna in the agora causing us all grief. Might be time to grab a replacement antenna off ebay and try that!

    Andrew – i have the same behaviour with my wifi button, it does not seem to shut off the wifi card, even though the blue LED switches off.

    anyone else having problems resuming their netbook from sleep? mine will not wake, and i think it may have started happening when I installed the ralink wifi card…

  8. Hi Kayno and Andrew -

    Count me in with the same problems.

    My Ubuntu Re-mix 9.0.4 will not wake up after sleep mode, but hibernation is okay.

    Wifi button is now a dud as well.

    And I never get above 70-75% regardless of distance from router.

    Just a thought, we whacked in our wireless cards what about the rallink software driver? Is it worth a try installing the driver – I know Kogan have the driver, but it’s part of a 180Mb download package…

    Surely we don’t have to buy an additional antenna from e-Bay?

    Your thoughts?

  9. Hey Guys,
    Same problems here:

    Wifi button now glorified lightswitch.
    Never more than 70 percent regardless of router dstance.
    Waking up from suspend, the kogan makes he usual noises but does not actually turn the screen back on.
    Hibernate works, but waking up kills the wireless.

    I am running Ubuntu Nbk Remix 9.04 like most Linux Savvy netbook users.
    Perhaps reinstalling Ubuntu will fix some problems (doesn’t Ubuntu do something in regards to network adapters during OS install?).

  10. For anyone who doesnt know: the lsub command will tell you what WiFi adapter is installed. eg:

    Bus 001 Device 003: ID 148f:2573 Ralink Technology, Corp. RT2501USB Wireless Adapter

    Lucky for me, mine arrived with a Ralink installed.

  11. I have alerted Kogan to these problems we are having. Hopefully something will come of it.

  12. Hey Guys.

    Kogan has not yet gotten back to me with any details, but I did get two kogans (one that came with VIA and I installed the Ralink card on, and one that came with the Ralink) and tried multiple OS’s to diagnose problems.

    gOS has absolutely no problems waking from sleep, but both Ubuntu And Ubuntu Netbook Remix do.

    I have a Belkin USB Wifi Adapter FSD7050 (I think. It’s plugged in and the Model. No, is on the bottom) and I know for a fact that it is built on a ralink Chipset. It cannot get a wireless % of more than 73%..

    Judging by the tests, I think that the RALINK cards are reporting incorrect percentages. That said, I do not believe there is any problem with the actual signal, because there is no immediate drop-off if you take the laptop and walk away. I think it’s just reporting incorrect figures.

    The wifi button is screwed. It only works with the VIA card.

    These are my conclusions from my experiment. If you guys want I can put the actual experimental data here too.

    I hope they are doing something about the sleeping problem.

  13. Am dual booted with xp and ubuntu.Newly installed card reads full strength under xp with supplied drivers,ubuntu 80%.Real signal strength seems similar in both though.Thanks help re touchpad

  14. Pingback: kogan slashes the price on the agora netbook (again) « kogan agora netbook

  15. Pingback: ubuntu 9.10 (karmic koala) beta on the kogan agora « kogan agora netbook

  16. Hi Guys interesting info I read on your posts
    The little netbook looks to be quite nicely made but my wifi sees the stations but will not log on it even gets asked to log on authentication but no joy with connecting it is so frustrating i could scream
    I have tried every which way
    My serial number is 0018 so appears to be a low s/n but I only purchased it 2 weeks ago
    so not quite sure what that means

    I have emailed support who have been really prompt and helpful up to now
    so here I press on

  17. Hi all, I have just been shipped a replacement RALINk wireless card. After reading everyone’s posts, I’m not holding out for a significant change in wireless quality.

    Les M mentions above about mounting an external antenna to the device. I wondering if anyone has disassembled the systems and investigated how and where the existing antenna is mounted? does it extend into (behind) the screen, or does it only reach to the base of the unit?

    I currently have WIN7 RTM installed.

  18. Hi all…..just a brief update. I have installed the new card under Win7 RTM, and there is a significant improvement in signal quality.

    At short range (5 metres from AP) the card is xfering 2.7MB/s. (old card max ~1.6MB/s)

    At longer range (~15metres line of sight to AP) x’fer is 1.6MB/s. (previous card was unable to connect at this distance).

    At 15 meters impeded (floors, multiple walls etc) the card is managing 300Kb/s. There was no signal at this distance with the old card.

    So the new card gives greater range than my laptop using a PCMCIA wireless card (the old VIA card offered significantly less range than a PCMCIA connection). However, the new card is still less powerful than my Dell laptop with internal antenna.

    I’m yet to test the device in a public AP setting, however the initial results (under win7) look encouraging.

  19. Hi All,
    I received my RALINK card, and have installed it.

    I noticed that when comparing the two cards, VIA and RALINK that the 2 antenna plugs (MAIN/AUX) seem to be on opposite ends of the card.

    I know nothing about the difference between the plugs, MAIN vs AUX, but is it possible that switching the connectors around might help. I think on the VIA card the grey cord was originally at the top, which is marked MAIN.

    So if I simply connect the wires to the new card as they came off the VIA, then grey would now be on AUX.

    I don’t have wireless at home yet to test both combinations of wire connection.

  20. Just wanted to let everyone know that I have installed the new Ralink card on my kogan netbook running windows 7 RTM and it works fine. Didn’t even have to use the drivers that Kogan have provided. Also, the wireless button next to the power button works. It does turn off the wireless card.

  21. I’ve installed the replacement ralink card. I’m getting worse performance than I was previously! The connection is cutting out from places in my bedroom that weren’t problematic before.

    Is there anyway to tell which driver version I’m using? ‘lsusb’ lets me see that it’s an ‘RT2501USB Wireless Adapter’ and ‘lsmod’ shows me that the rt73usb, rt2x00usb and rt2500usb modules are in use.

    Ralink’s site ( http://www.ralinktech.com/support.php?s=2 ) tells me that there’s a specific driver for the RT2501USB released in August. Is there anyway of knowing which driver I have installed currently, and whether it’s worth trying to compile and install the official driver instead?

    Cheers, and good luck everyone.

  22. I seem to be getting better performance by swapping out Ubuntu’s Network Manager for wicd.

    Wicd is in the Ubuntu repositories, so all you have to do is type:

    sudo apt-get install wicd

    in a console window (or use Synaptic if you’re a command line phobe) then reboot.

    You should keep a wired connection handy though; otherwise, if you crap out with wicd, you won’t have any easy way of restoring Network Manager!

  23. Pingback: Improving wifi on the Kogan Agora netbook with an Intel 3945ABG network card | kogan agora netbook

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