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Why was my wireless adapter "end of life" when brand new?


I bought my Dell Inspiron 13 laptop brand new from Best Buy for $650 in October 2016. Now I'm checking the Intel site to see if there are updated drivers for the network adapter Intel AC-3165. But according to the following page, the 3160 family of hardware was "discontinued as of October 2016".


How does that work exactly? Even perishable food doesn't expire for at least a couple weeks, but computer components expire immediately after purchase?

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Super User Retired Employee

First of all, if this adapter was present in the laptop when you purchased it from Dell, then you do not have a warranty for it from Intel. Nor do you for the processor, the chipset or any other Intel components that are in this laptop. In fact, nor do you have a warranty from the manufacturer for any of the other components in this laptop. Your warranty is from Dell. Exclusively from Dell. All servicing, all replacement parts, etc. all must come from Dell.


Secondly, many Intel wireless components that you find in Dell laptops have custom firmware specific to Dell. While I have never seen a case where this firmware was customized enough that special, modified drivers were necessary, you still should be using the drivers provided by Dell regardless.


Third, all Intel components in your laptop were purchased by Dell. This means that, under the covers, while you do not have any warranties from Intel, Dell certainly does. This is why, if you have a problem with these Intel components, you need to go through Dell to have these problems looked at. Dell has special, high-priority pathways for reporting issues to Intel and obtaining help, higher priority than you get reporting issues here as an individual. Of course, you need to get Dell to listen to you. This is getting harder and harder under any circumstances as Dell seemingly wants to avoid providing support as this increases their profits.


Finally, the warranties that Dell have from Intel begin on the day that the components were received from Intel. It does not matter what day Intel might discontinue a product; what matters is the date that Dell's warranty from Intel expires. While any customers still have an active warranty for a component from Intel, you can bet that Intel will be maintaining and supporting the drivers for these components.


Clear as mud? If your warranty from Dell has expired, you have no warranty for any components that came in this laptop. While this doesn't necessarily mean that Intel is no longer maintaining or supporting the drivers, it is likely.



(My opinions only; I am retired and no longer work for Intel)

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