Non-Intel WiFi options

iwlwifi (the Linux driver for Intel wifi) is horrible. It always has been, it always will be. I’m tired of laptops shipping with Intel wifi that’s then totally broken, and I’m tired of waiting fifteen minutes for my laptop to get a stable connection. But, in theory, the great thing about the Framework is that I can look elsewhere.

Anybody have recommendations for WiFi cards that (a) are not Intel, (b) have Linux drivers, and (c) are compatible with the Framework frame?

(Apologies if this has already been answered. I tried to search for it, but I’m just swamped by other people suffering from iwlwifi being so trashy.)

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Some options presented here:

although the 3rd party manufacturers may not specifically market them like that.

You should look for an M.2 2230 A+E slot card. There are still a lot of mini PCIe cards available that look “wide” - those would be incompatible.

Thanks! Those seem to have been the magic words I couldn’t find. Buying an Atheros that should work, fingers crossed.

This is the best supported Linux card available

You would drop to WiFi 4 in speeds but with an ethernet card (when available) you could still reach gigabit speeds when it really matter to you

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In case anybody comes by here wondering the same thing I was: I preinstalled the (proprietary) firmware blob for Qualcomm Atheros wireless, and got a “Killer 1535” dual Wifi/Bluetooth card. Worked instantly. Works really reliably. I highly recommend the swap for Linux users.


just to chip in, i have zero issues with the intel card on linux, in fact i am surprised about it. my most recent pains were the wl module and a usb dongle that used some rtl8xxx module that has severe reliability issues. both of those are orders of magnitude more painful than iwlwifi.

having used the framework laptop as my single work device for almost a month, personally this wifi card is fine. what differences do you actually see with the killer 1535?

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The tricky thing with iwlwifi’s crappiness is that it arises with the combination of Linux, iwlwifi, and certain wireless routers, though exactly which are unpredictable. For instance, iwlwifi is 100% rock solid with my work’s wifi. At home, I have some Linksys wireless router and, as a backup, the wireless built into my ISP-provided cable modem, and both make iwlwifi flaky. Both work great with all other devices, and even Intel wifi on Windows.

If you Google for iwlwifi disassociated due to inactivity (which is what’s reported in dmesg), or iwlwifi disconnecting every three minutes, or something like that, you will see many accounts of the horror stories. iwlwifi has been trash since its inception. But, if you happen to be lucky not to need a network with which it’s unhappy, you’d never know.

Personally, having had this experience with iwlwifi (on three laptops now), I would consider this swap essential, just so that you don’t find yourself unlucky next time you’re on an unfamiliar network. But, that’s a lot of years of frustration with iwlwifi talking :slight_smile:

i have been in several unfamiliar networks and have not had that issue, i haven’t had a single random disconnection and i have 3-4 different networks i connect to in my house (one even being a raspberry pi running one of the aforementioned kernel modules), plus a couple of others during some recent trips. i know what these sorts of issues are like because my previous laptop (wl module) used to have those all the time.

not denying that they might be present but i wouldn’t go as far as spreading info about how bad a certain wireless module is given the fact that it’s clearly above average when it comes to linux support.

You wouldn’t, I clearly would. We’ve had different experiences with iwlwifi, and most people who’ve had my experience will be in my camp, and presumably most people who’ve had your experience will be in your camp. The Linux support for Atheros is exactly as good (proprietary firmware blob + open source driver), but doesn’t have this issue, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s strictly an upgrade; anyone who hasn’t had this issue presumably won’t see it as worthwhile.

Until they do encounter this issue.