[RESPONDED] Request for framework to use more friendly wifi chipsets (FreeBSD)

I finished watching the presentation you sent @Adrian_Joachim. It was really good and I also recognize the name Adrian Chadd due to me actually receiving another Atheros chip I received, but that one wasn’t supported unfortunately.

I’m a huge advocate for open source and most of my applications are licensed under 2-BSD (but not all). I also don’t support blobs and closed sources, but these presentation definitely confirmed for me that there needs to be blobs for some stuff for the betterment of the society. Imagine allowing someone to just program the chip so that it sends those lower frequency signals that will cause a whole neighborhood to possibly lose service. Things can get dangerous quick. In this case I agree that any functionality that could cause a problem be put behind a blob. Maybe not a popular opinion but yea… Although I still want as much of the driver as possible to be open source, only the dangerous stuff should be in the blob.

Maybe there could be a good compromise between the community and driver makers / regulators someday.

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This was all fun and games when wifi was just in the 2.4 and 5ghz ism bands, with the extended 5ghz and 6ghz range you are sharing spectrum with stuff like weather radar and satellite coms and stuff. The rules on those is a lot more complicated, some frequencies can only be used if they have been scanned and were clear for a certain amount of time and imediately stop transmitting if certain signals are received. So I can kinda understand why the regulators want to lock stuff down. The chip manufacturers being lazy and just locking everything down instead of just the actually important bits is whole other issue.

On the other hand just spewing noise on a frequency can be dome with relatively cheap hardware, no need to hack some complex space magic electronics for that.

IIRC Mediatek is doing some open source stuff right now, afaik it is kinda similar to your danger blob description.

It should be possible to pass the Intel AX210 card to a lightweight Linux bhyve VM configured as a router for the FreeBSD host system. It’s a bit of extra complexity but the technique has been proven on distributions like QubesOS.

@Comfy Yup I wrote a guide about doing that using wifibox. But it causes side effects to the system, including but not limited to the internal bhyve vm not being able to re-detect the wireless card upon resume. There is a bug in the kernel about this but it doesn’t affect all machines (it does for me though). The best thing to do is to get away from the FreeBSD iwlwifi driver completely and use something that is better supported until further notice.

I think an easy compromise would be offering laptops without wifi cards. Framework used to offer the DIY edition without a wifi card but now they require ordering a wifi card. Its directly contradictory to the company’s stated mission goals to ship me mandatory e-waste. If you’re not going to offer a better wifi card, at least don’t make me dispose of your garbage.

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The problem is that Framework as a company tries to keep their amount of SKUs low to help with logistics, and they were seeing too many people damaging their laptops by not being able to properly install the wifi card. It was a decision they had to make in order to account for the large number of customers that would struggle to install their own wifi cards.


You can always put it on ebay or craigslist or whatever. Or keep them as spares. These are brand new Wifi cards, not garbage.

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@Azure I have to admit that my wifi gold connector pin broke like within the first 10 min of me unboxing it back in 2021 lol, luckily I was still able to use the wifi card with no issues by placing the antenna connector on top of where the connector was suppose to be located, and using a little bit of tape and pressure to keep it together. I haven’t had any hardware issues with connection speeds, or disconnects, etc that I’m aware of. The only issue is FreeBSD driver support but that’s a separate story. I’m not against framework allowing the option to have a wifi card, but they don’t necessarily need to remove the “don’t give me a wifi card” option. Just make it so that if someone picks a wifi card, it already comes assembled, like how they already do with the battery, keyboard, and various other components. I was actually pretty surprised of how many things were already pre assembled in the DIY edition. For whatever reason I thought I was gonna have to build the screen, frame, connect to laptop enclosure, battery, etc etc, but a good percentage was already assembled. This is not bad for sure, it was kinda fun just having to worry about putting the memory, wifi, nvme, and the expansion cards haha.

Yeah the ax210 sell like hotcakes on the 2nd hand market, I suspect the rebadged mediatek ones in the amd less so XD

This is actually that logistics issue I mentioned in my previous post. The company originally planned to sell DIY kits where everything was an individual part, but that was going to be a nightmare for their shipping team, so they made the decision for the DIY version to have everything assembled except for the RAM, NVME storage and wifi card, which all came in their OEM packaging with the early laptops (that’s how mine was). when they saw that people were having issues breaking wifi cards, they changed it so that the wifi card was preinstalled into the DIY version just like the mainboard, battery, and screen.

They even talked about this in an earlier thread on the forum (maybe I’ll go find it if I can) but because they assemble laptops before storing them for shipping, it would make inventory harder to stock a “no wifi card” DIY version and a “wifi card installed” DIY version. plus they’d have to guess how many users will want to install their own wifi card, because they way they do inventory, they can’t just take a “no wifi card” DIY laptop, and add a card back in before shipping it from stock.

(note I have no inside knowledge on Framework’s logistics, so all of that is a best guess on how they stock product)


Yeah, I remember that, too. For a portion of the general population, attaching the antenna connector was a physical challenge.


These antenna connectors are the devil, the only worse thing is their equivalent in phones.


Good news all. I received the Atheros AR9462 from ThinkPenguin and replaced the Intel AX210. FreeBSD 13.2-RELEASE picked it up flawlessly and it worked immediately. Sleep/Resume are now working again, no crashes, and association/dhcp worked nicely. I made a new post here (with pictures). I’ll be testing this card now and will update my post accordingly.


Damn I did not know the ax210 was this borked in bsd, appart from the whole being a black box and ap pretty much not working it works beautifully on linux and is pretty much the best card out right now.

The only place where I deal with bsd is freenas and there everything I have thrown at it so far worked, granted it was mostly crusty old 10gbit nics and hbas but those work fine XD.

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A small but significant update. So given that the AR9462 has excellent FreeBSD compatibility, and also that I actually started experiencing an issue that also happened on the Intel AX210, I was able to further narrow down what was going on for one specific (but big) issue. Which is that for my particular router (WRT3200ACM w/ DD-WRT), I would associate with it with no issues, but I could not get (or would take a very long time to get) a DHCPOFFER and thus get an IP (assigning a static IP didn’t work). Long story short, after a lot of experimentation and research, I’ve concluded that I have one of the worst WiFi routers you probably could have. I’ve been running this router / configuration for many years. I actually haven’t had any issues with any of my WiFi devices (Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux haven’t had issues, even with some of these OSes running on this same Framework Laptop). FreeBSD is the first. Now I don’t know if FreeBSD is just pretty strict with its networking implementation, or if all of the other OSes happened to implement some type of workaround that is being used for my particular router (or scenario), but a lot of users have been experiencing issues with the WRT3200ACM + DD-WRT. I also tested that actually if I turn off wireless security completely (a straight open network), the AR9462 on FreeBSD can associate and receive a DHCPOFFER/DHCPACK request instantly, every time, on both 2.4 and 5 ghz frequencies. It’s only once you turn on wireless security that it causes an issue. I’ve tried a bunch of different configurations like having a fixed channel, upgrading to the latest (beta - since all DD-WRT versions are considered “beta”) version for my router (atm it’s running: DD-WRT v3.0-r52459 std (05/08/23)), and I’ve specifically always been using the recommended WPA2 + AES-CCMP combo for all of my radios. This router also has 3 radios (and the third one 2.4/5 ghz combo one should be disabled, since it’s not actually an interface connected to an antenna from my research). Even though I haven’t experienced any issues with any of my other wireless devices on this router, but also because a lot of people are also having issues with this router with respect to wifi, I’ve decided to replace it and order a Netgear R9000 (aka Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200), which is also supported by DD-WRT and apparently it’s really good for wireless and other stuff. I’ll probably still keep my WRT3200ACM as a switch since it’s really good at that, and other people have mentioned the same thing, plus I also got it because it’s specifically a router that’s designed to be used with open source firmware. Once my R9000 comes in the mail, I’ll flash it with DD-WRT, set it all up again, and then re-run my tests on the Framework/FreeBSD/AR9462 combo and report back my results.

With all of that said, I’m back on my Ethernet Expansion Card until I get the new router, and hopefully (cross fingers) it will work beautifully haha. All of this doesn’t invalidate this post, and also doesn’t “magically” fix the other crashes, and lack of driver support for the Intel AX210 that FreeBSD has, but it is one big thing for sure, especially if you are running an AX210 and are fine with 802.11g speeds for your needs and don’t mind or can mitigate the crashes, at least your router still can give you a stable association and ip!

PS: I also tested different combinations of wireless protections and algorithms (WPA+TKIP, and even non-standard combinations like WPA+AES-CCMP, WPA2+TKIP), and all of those just produced unstable connections where the laptop would just keep associating to the access point correctly, then it would just keep doing successful group re-keying, and then it would disconnect and disassociate. Only WPA2+AES produced a stable association, but no DHCPOFFERS/DHCPACKs 95% of the time). Interestingly enough disabling WMM but keeping WPA2+AES allowed the laptop to connect to both frequencies and receive a DHCPOFFER with no issues, but then I couldn’t ping the gateway or have any internet, let alone all of the other issues that come with disabling WMM, which you shouldn’t do). As you can see, there’s a big wifi issue with the WRT3200ACM w/ DD-WRT. I don’t know and haven’t tested the stock firmware on it, but I’ll pass on that.


I’ve been using WRT3200ACM (four of them) with OpenWrt in a 802.11r configuration. That worked well for my needs. Then I recently went over to E8450 (for WPA3) for the dumb APs, still using WRT3200ACM for the routing and DSA features for the wired side of things, and still having a couple of XR500 for vlans with Iot and guests.

At this time, this is a pretty good choice for FreeBSD users given FreeBSD’s needs.

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I have noticed folks using AX201 on OpenBSD with other laptops and Framework. @fearedbliss would you by any chance know where I can look up compatibility for cards? In my geography, AX201 is available as opposed to the one you’ve reported.

How the hell does the “Moar proprietary” (the ones with the 1 at the end that use intels proprietary interface instead of normal pcie) version of an intel card have better bsd support than the one with the standard interface, that doesn’t sound right to me.

@5uie1 This page has the 201 and 210 listed:


Remember that FreeBSD is basically porting the Linux iwlwifi driver (the non GPL parts) and I think it also uses some compatibility layer. But don’t remember right now 100%. So basically a lot of the cards are supported as a consequence I guess you could say haha.

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