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HP Stream Laptop, Buyer Beware.


itGeeks
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A family members Sony Vaio laptop died. The laptop served us well since 2008, Yes the old Vista Days. So off I went searching for a small laptop with about a 13 inch screen that was not heavy for light office, email, internet, YouTube use. I came across the HP Stream 13.3 inch Laptop http://www.amazon.com/HP-Celeron-Horizon-Includes-Personal/dp/B00O65HZKS and I read all the great reviews on it and it was also offered in Pink well (Magenta), Close enough to her favorite color. So after I purchase this I did all the normal things you should do with a brand new computer including making sure the Bios, drivers and Windows are all up to date. Everything seemed perfect and she loved it but after a short while she said to me you no the internet feels slow to me all the time so I said I take a look at it and to my amazment the wireless connection was only reporting a connection rate of 40-60 mbps and after doing a speed test I confirmed this was very bad. Now the specs on the HP Stream Laptop states "wireless 802.11bgn" what they don't tell you or its not clear is its only 20 Mhz wide and you can NOT change it to 40 Mhz hence is the reason you will not get 150 mbps reported connection to your AP. I for one am not happy about this information not being provided right next to the wireless specs, This is crud business as far as I am concerned and something HP needs not to bury deep someplace if even at all so the customer is aware of this limitation. Now I solved the problem with a Wireless USB device, I purchased this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FW6T36Y?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00

And is now working great, I still think this is a great laptop and fits the bill for everything we where looking for and heck I still would of purchased this knowing that the wireless N was locked at 20 Mhz but that's something that I should of been aware of before my purchase.

Edited by itGEEKS
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You can also change out the internal wireless card. What wireless did it come from the factory with Intel, Broadcom or Realtek?

I always grab the service manual to get a better definition on their specs.

Here is the service manual:

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c04501162

 

I am not sure why, but HP has been sticking with 1x1 cards. Even after you find the specs much of the time you need to interpret them:

http://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/Laptops/hp-stream-notebook---13-c020nr-(energy-star)#!&TabName=specs

 

For others reading this, here is a guide on radio's and antenna versus A-B-G-N:

http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/21918/~/what-does-it-mean-when-a-router-is-described-as-being-n150%2Fn300%2Fn600%2Fn750%2Fn900%3F

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My boys are getting to the point where they need a laptop or something to do work on.  (Heaven help me!)  I was thinking about getting two of these.  Also time to beef up my router. Sophos, Untangle, etc.  I'm not sure my kids would notice the wireless speed.

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You can also change out the internal wireless card. What wireless did it come from the factory with Intel, Broadcom or Realtek?

I always grab the service manual to get a better definition on their specs.

Here is the service manual:

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c04501162

 

I am not sure why, but HP has been sticking with 1x1 cards. Even after you find the specs much of the time you need to interpret them:

http://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/Laptops/hp-stream-notebook---13-c020nr-(energy-star)#!&TabName=specs

 

For others reading this, here is a guide on radio's and antenna versus A-B-G-N:

http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/21918/~/what-does-it-mean-when-a-router-is-described-as-being-n150%2Fn300%2Fn600%2Fn750%2Fn900%3F

Kevin thank you so much for taking the time to post this info, I was so aggravated I did not even think to find the service manual for it because in my mind these are sealed units to be thrown away when they brake. It is a Broadcom Wireless card, Now I see in the manual that you posted they offer an "Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 802.11 ac 1×1 WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 Combo Adapter" a quick search came up with this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106258

What do you think? Its funny because when I purchased it there was no option to upgrade the Wireless card but on the service manual they list it. This card is only 20.00 retail, I just don't understand y company's cut corners like this only to add a few extra cents profit, I would of been more then happy to spend an extra 10-20 dollars for this unit to have the wireless perform the way it should.

Edited by itGEEKS
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Normal I would tell you to go for the Intel card on NewEgg, but there have been reports on issues using OEM cards in HP laptops.

The HP part number in the service guide is 784638-005

If it were me I think I would grab this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/784638-005-3160HMW-GENUINE-HP-WIRELESS-BLUETOOTH-CARD-PAVILION-13-A-13-A110DX-/231665921446?hash=item35f05d6da6

 

More than likely they are identical, but I have heard of issues using non-HP branded cards.

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Normal I would tell you to go for the Intel card on NewEgg, but there have been reports on issues using OEM cards in HP laptops.

The HP part number in the service guide is 784638-005

If it were me I think I would grab this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/784638-005-3160HMW-GENUINE-HP-WIRELESS-BLUETOOTH-CARD-PAVILION-13-A-13-A110DX-/231665921446?hash=item35f05d6da6

 

More than likely they are identical, but I have heard of issues using non-HP branded cards.

You are to quick in posting :) I wanted to update my post but I will ask you here. After looking at the kb you posted if I am reading it right, a 1x1 will only give you Max Throughput of 72Mbps on the 2.4, That's my problem now and the wireless AC card that I linked to is also a 1X1 so would I not have the same trouble?

Edited by itGEEKS
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My boys are getting to the point where they need a laptop or something to do work on.  (Heaven help me!)  I was thinking about getting two of these.  Also time to beef up my router. Sophos, Untangle, etc.  I'm not sure my kids would notice the wireless speed.

Dave been there done that with my kids but now my kids are all grown up and I now have grand kids :) , What is your internet download speed? As for the router I have tried pfSense, Untangle and now thanks to Drashna Sophos. When I first installed Sophos I became very frustrated because it is very locked down I mean you don't even have outbound internet and I quickly uninstalled it because I did not have the time to dig in and get it configured but on another rainy day I reinstalled it and went threw the learning pains and with the help of Drashna blog I got it all up and running and I must say I am blown away by its ease of use and the power you get all for free. This has been up and running for almost a year now and has been rock solid. I would suggest you install this on a spare box and keep you old router in tacked so you can learn it when your family is not home to complain becouse the internet is not working or someone cant watch YouTube or Netflix then when its all working good you can cut the cord on your old router. You get all the greatness of pfSence but much easier to use, Untangle was a great product also but you had to pay for the better stuff where Sophos is 100% free for up to 50 devices for all of there great goodness.

Edited by itGEEKS
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You are to quick in posting :) I wanted to update my post but I will ask you here. After looking at the kb you posted if I am reading it right, a 1x1 will only give you Max Throughput of 72Mbps on the 2.4, That's my problem now and the wireless AC card that I linked to is also a 1X1 so would I not have the same trouble?

Sorry, the KB is from the router point of view.

From the NIC end, 1x1 locked at 20Mhz is the issue with the current NIC.

The Intel 3160, will connect at 20 or 40 or 80Mhz, channel bonding.

http://www.intel.com/support/wireless/sb/CS-030709.htm

 

On some routers you need to force 40Mhz.

 

The other thing I like about Intel WNIC is the Proset software and its ability to control settings.

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I like the control proset provides but in the past it seemed like in spite of settings there it had a hard time deciding to jump to a hotter access point. (I have six APs all with the same SSID)

Edited by nrf
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Sorry, the KB is from the router point of view.

From the NIC end, 1x1 locked at 20Mhz is the issue with the current NIC.

The Intel 3160, will connect at 20 or 40 or 80Mhz, channel bonding.

http://www.intel.com/support/wireless/sb/CS-030709.htm

 

On some routers you need to force 40Mhz.

 

The other thing I like about Intel WNIC is the Proset software and its ability to control settings.

Thanks Kevin, I ordered it. I will post back next week how it all went.

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