Replacing the Wifi card with Ethernet

Hi guys,

I was wondering, for those using the Framework mainboard standalone instead of inside the laptop, has anyone found an ethernet card using the same A+E key as the wifi card?

Here’s a Gigabit card:

Here’s a 2.5 Gigabit card:

But these two have a header that connects to a cable that connects to a PCI bracket with an Ethernet port. They’re not suitable for a laptop form factor, only a desktop or server form factor.

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There’s an ethernet expansion card about to be released :slight_smile:

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True! However, that might not be suitable for @Jieren_Zheng’s use case:

For all we know, their application may not be able to spare a USB port to dedicate to an ethernet expansion card!


And using a 40 Gbps TB4 port for Ethernet is wasteful, even for 10 Gbit networking. Then there’s the conversion and driver overhead.

If you’re not using the wireless card, might as well put the port to use networking and save USB bandwidth. The networking M.2 slot is at least PCIe 3.0 x2 (or is it x4? Does anyone know?) so it would have 1970 MB/s of capacity (15.76 Gb/s) and PCIe to Ethernet is a lot more efficient than USB to Ethernet.


…very little…almost nothing about the use case (in this thread). However, reading other posts from him, it looks like he has interests in using the board for a desktop build / form factor.

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Thanks for the suggestion guys!

I saw some Realtek ones, but not sure about the compatibility (considering the various Wifi card issues) though the upcoming Ethernet expansion card uses a Realtek chip. I also seen things like this: too. If my memory serves, it uses the same chip as the new expansion card but USB vs PCIe interface as well as the implementation usually differs (from my experience).

As Second Coming have said, I am kinda trying to DIY a ITX build but my home is fully wired with no WiFi, so I am looking for Ethernet options. I have a USB dongle for the Framework I am ordering but as I am thinking of building a kinda mini PC for my parents and Framework has limited IO (less a Thunderbolt dock), I was thinking of maximising the remaining connectors onboard (from my understanding the eDP connector cannot be converted into any kind of HDMI/DVI output with a different resolution), so just thinking about the WiFi module.

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Just to update this thread with relevant links…

Two days ago my veteran FreeNAS/TrueNAS server appeared to be dying so I went on a research mission.

The situation for these cards has changed. Those “Commell” cards are not available outside of distributors, who probably require an account and purchase order minimums.

There are now many, many examples of the A+E keyed cards with the RTL8125. There are some in stock at Amazon and many more ship from China through Amazon or eBay. Here’s an example of an in-stock Amazon one: - they’re all the same. Oddly they do not include a PCI bracket, you’ll have to either find one (like RJ45 Extension Cable PCI Expansion Slot Bracket Cover (Full Profile) - MODDIY) or scavenge one off an old PCI/PCIe NIC. I think they’re universal?

While the Realtek RTL8125 has worked for me, I want to give the Intel I225-V a try - they must have sorted out their issues by now. There are examples of these but frustratingly the M.2 cards are all B+M keyed and wouldn’t work in the Framework communication slot. There are A+E to B+M converters but we’re getting a bit bulky and cludgy here. You could stuff them into an ATX case though.

If you want gigabit, there’s far more selection for both Intel and Realtek with A+E cards.


I am still waiting for the launch of Meteor Lake for Framework before I put my 12th Gen mobo into the cooler master case (it seems to support Ethernet or something?). I am probably getting the Latte Panda one as it seems compatible.

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I ended up in a rabbit hole about these myself as I also intend to throw my 11th gen board into a case to turn into a multi-purpose server once Meteor Lake launches. I had some success with a Realtek NIC (RTL 8125) as well, however I couldn’t for the life of me get it to work with the latest versions of Unraid. I later found that to be due to an incompatibility issue between Realtek cards and the latest Linux kernel versions, as Realtek tends to be kind of slow with releasing Linux drivers. I later tried an Intel I210-based NIC, which seemed promising because it was keyed for an A+E slot, but I couldn’t get that to work at all either in Windows or in Unraid.

I’d love to see the results of using an Intel I225-V. Otherwise, for now I may just fall back to the Realtek NIC…

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