Replacing the WiFi Card on an Asus ROG Strix B450-I Motherboard

I’ve recently got so fed up with the Linux driver support of the Realtek RTL8822BE network adapter on my motherboard (especially its poor Bluetooth support) that I seriously considered a hardware fix. In the end I’ve replaced it with a much better supported card, an Intel® Wi-Fi 6 AX200.

The Realtek linux driver in Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 up to 21.10 is crappy, to say the least – I’ve constantly had WiFi connection issues and connecting to my stereo via Bluetooth was not even working out of the box. Only after manually extracting the firmware from the Windows driver, copying it to the right location, and adapting a few settings, it worked. Poorly.

Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8822BE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi adapter
Subsystem: ASUSTeK Computer Inc. RTL8822BE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi adapter
Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 74, IOMMU group 15
I/O ports at c000 [size=256]
Memory at fc500000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=64K]
Capabilities: <access denied>
Kernel driver in use: rtw_8822be
Kernel modules: rtw88_8822be

Having already dealt with these issues before on my Dell notebook by, surprise, replacing the Realtek card with an Intel AX200 about a year ago, I was eager to try the same on my Mini-ITX motherboard.

Asus Wi-Fi GO! Card Socket

I haven’t found much information about the Asus Wi-Fi GO! card on the board. But I’ve seen quite a few of them on eBay and some were shown in a disassembled state. So I was quite confident that the RF shield could be opened and inside would be a standard PCIe M.2 WiFi card that could be replaced.

The RF shield is held on the board by two screws (from the bottom side) and it can be pulled off the PCIe connector after removing these screws. Another screw holds the two halves of the shield together.

Opened Wi-Fi GO! Card Shield
Removed Realtek RTL8822BE Card

Replacing the PCIe WiFi card should then be pretty straight forward. In my case I’ve bought an Intel AX200 card for under 20,- € (shipping included) as replacement. It should be possible to replace the PCIe card without completely disassembling the the two SMA connectors; I’ve done it for convenience. Also there’s a black rubber block stuck onto the card that you might want to reuse (peel it off carefully).

The reassembly with a new card is pretty much doing the same steps in reverse order, so I’m not describing or showing it here. In the end, it probably took me longer to get the motherboard out of the Mini-ITX case and back in again than disassembling the Wi-Fi card; less than half an hour for the actual card disassembly and replacement.

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