[Assist] parabola and non free wifi

Luke Shumaker lukeshu at lukeshu.com
Wed Dec 6 01:27:14 GMT 2017

On Mon, 04 Dec 2017 16:32:52 -0500,
Divan Santana wrote:
> Hi Luke,
> Hope you don't mind me emailing you out of the blue.

It's quite alright, though in general it's a good idea to use the
assist@ mailing list.

> I've been using parabola for a few years. And am a bit free software
> fan. I actually purchased multiple **very** expensive usb wifi chipsets
> and have been using that for a few years.
> As of late, they are giving me a lot of trouble. And often not working.

I'm sorry to hear that.

> They were really pricey and I need a more reliable wifi. I'm kind of
> keen to learn how to get the built in wifi working on my laptop.
> I believe you might have some insight in order to do so?
> 02:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Intel Corporation Wireless 7260 [8086:08b1] (rev 73)
> The above is my builtin wifi.
> Any tips or insight would be appreciated!

Unfortunately, I don't think any of the Intel wifi chips are usable
without non-free firmware and/or drivers.

However, the internal wifi cards are often (easily!) replaceable with
a libre-supported wifi card (and these are often available for less
money than the equivalent USB).  Which model laptop do you have?

Usually the internal wifi is just a mini-PCIe card (possibly
half-height); any card with the AR9285 chipset (e.g. Atheros AR5B95)
*should* work fine.  Obviously, a full-size mini-PCIe card won't fit
in a laptop that uses half-height mini-PCIe, but a half-height card
can be expanded to fit in a full-size slot with a little metal shim.

The thing to watch out for here is that a few laptop motherboards are
known to have a whitelist of hardware IDs for the wifi, and will
refuse to work with the replacement wifi if it's not on the list.
Often there are work-arounds though.

> Greetings and best regards from South Africa :)
> --
> Divan

It's always exciting to hear from users from different parts of the
world! :)

Happy hacking,
from boring-old Indiana,
~ Luke Shumaker

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