Upgrade airport card to 802.11ac
Can u upgrade the airport card from 802.11n to the new 802.11ac from the late 2013 retina 15" MacBook Pro
2.4GHz, 2.7GHz, or 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache.
No, its not really workable.
The issue is more than the ability to plug the unit in (slightly different sizes). The issue is the antennas the way 802.11ac works requires waveform shaping to gain the throughput your systems antennas can't offer this as they are designed to support different bands.
Testing has proven there is no benefit swapping it out (in fact it tested out worse throughput) Techctrir - Does it work?
Yes you can and I have done so successfully. It was tough finding the Broadcom BCM4360 to buy. But if you trawl the DHGates and Alibabas you might get lucky as I did.
Here's proof (as best as I can provide) that my early 2013 15" rMPB is connected to my ac Time capsule using 5Ghz ac wireless:
The test linked to above uses a 2013 MBA card in a rMPB. The Air's card only has 2 antennae while the rMPB uses 3. As such I would take their results with a grain of salt.
I can't provide throughput metrics and comparisons however as I lack the setup/inclination to do so. All I can say is that I have seen significant improvement moving files to a file server with gigabit ethernet.
It's an easy and worthwhile upgrade if you can find the card.
I don't believe that is was what Steve was asking. He asked if an Airport card from a Late 2013 Retina MBP could be used. Looking at the iFixIt tear down of the Late 2013 model the Airport card does have 3 antenna connectors. Has anyone actually tried replacing the card in an earlier model Retina MacBook Pro with the card from a Late 2013 model?
Yes, it works. I don’t know if it makes a difference in the networking speed, but it does add the ability to unlock the Macbook with an Apple Watch, and is almost completely seamless aside from the caveats listed below.
The part number to search for is:
I’ve found them on Amazon, eBay, and other sources.
The two caveats on this: