Early 2011 model, A1278 / 2.3 GHz i5 or 2.7 GHz i7 processor.

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Upgrade Wifi Card to 802.11ac in Early 2011 MacBook Pro (13-inch)?

Hi I have the 13 inch early 2011 macbook pro. I've been searching but can't find any compatible parts to upgrade my wifi card to 802.11ac. Currently the highest is N.

Has anyone done this with this model or know where I can find the compatible parts for it? Everything I've seen is for 2012 and up.

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Sadly it all comes down to the AirPort cards connection.

If you review the one yours has it uses a surface mount, while the newer units use an edge connector. BroadCom the manufacture of the part only made a limited number of AC boards with the surface connector which have long since disappeared to the winds. Apple never contracted them to make a production run of the part so only the engineering samples were available.

So where does that leave you?? You'll need to do some deep digging to try to find one or consider using a dongle. Even with a dongle the amount of performance gain will be slight. And if you where looking at Hand Off services they won't work with the WiFi dongle.

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If you're looking for the newer Hand-Off, Universal Clipboard and Instant Hotspot services than according to bsmulders.com (https://bsmulders.com/2016/11/macbook-20...) what your 2011 MBP needs is an inexpensive but tricky for some, Bluetooth 4.0 upgrade from your factory 2.1. That will allow you to enable 'Continuity' from Apple's new OS.

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Heres the IFIXIT part: MacBook Pro Unibody (Early 2011 through Mid 2012) AirPort/Bluetooth Board 4.0 This is still a 802.11n board not the newer 802.11ac board.

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That's right Dan. What Dan's saying is that although this hardware upgrade is avail. you'll get all the added features I listed (Mac 'Connectivity') But like Dan mentioned in his 11/23/2016 answer: since only Mac Airport Extreme 'n' boards are available for pre-2012 MBPro models and not an 'ac' version which only work on the later edge mount boards you won't benefit from the dual band antennas (2.7MHz + 5MHz) most modern router or WLAN signal extenders come with to get you better WiFi speeds.

Thanks Dan! :D

PS: Sadly, as far as I know, no aftermarket companies have been able to take advantage of this untapped market for surface mount 802.11ac Mac boards.

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Easiest answer/solution is to just buy the smallest usb ABGN and AC compatible usb wifi adapter. I bought a tiny netgear branded one that's really small so very in-obtrusive and doesn't stick out 3 inches like some and it picks up AC wifi at my home or anywhere else that has it and it's MUCH faster....I only really use it when downloading large files N is perfectly finefor streaming netflix etc so I don't use it full time but it's nice to speed up those large downloads or move large files on my local intranet at home to my backup drive shared over my network plugged into my AC router's USB 3.0 port. it's waaaaay faster for those backus than the build in draft N but for most things N is perfectly cpable and most hotspots like Starbucks etc are so slow you wouldn't gain much if anything on their free wifi anyways. Most places publicly don't offer dual band even or know what it is. They ust plug in a router and share it and it crawls lol.

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@faslane1969 - You ned to make sure these USB adapters support MacOS, most don't.

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Hi! Peter

It does not make sense for me to change a card if it's working fine, but if you are looking is more speed try update and a deep cleaning of the MAC OS system (Maybe the web browser is obsolete) and this helps a little or you can try buying a external USB or Dongle Wifi Antenna more faster.

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his web browser wouldn't be obsolete at all in a 2011 macbook pro. Safari latest version still runs on that year machine and is updated frequently. He simply needs a USB dongle that has AC wifi and turn off the internal one when using the dongle to ensure he's on the faster dual band. Bluetooth will still be one even though they are all built into the same card, you can turn off wifi and still have bluetooth capabilities etc.

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