Librem 14 Network speeds?

I’m confused with the specs for the L-15 Atheros Network.

Gigabit Ethernet Adapter with Integrated RJ45 Connector
Atheros 802.11n w/ Two Antennas

Searching, I find a lot of different Atheros 802.11n so it’s hard know, but

  • what are the top speeds of the Atheros 802.11n and ethernet "adapter? and
  • Is the “adapter” something we plug into a USB?


The Librem 14 features built-in RJ-45/Gigabit Ethernet, as well as the Atheros 802.11n WiFi module (m.2-2230).

The max WiFi speeds of the Atheros module are dictated by the 802.11n standard.

“Adapter” is a poor word choice here; the Ethernet chip is part of the mainboard (soldered). The WiFi module is removable/replaceable.


Are you “teaching a man to fish” here? Why not answer the question?

Because I’d have to look up the spec and I didn’t feel like doing that

Oh, okay. I thought you knew the answer but chose not to give it.

I had already been fishing and couldn’t find a sensible answer. It’s why I came here.

Today, I went fishing again, I even used Google.

I found 802.11n has a “theoretical transfer rate of 300 Mbps”
More importantly the best answer was 802.11ac is better and faster than 802.11n.

802.11ac is a supercharged version of 802.11n. 802.11ac is dozens of times faster, and delivers speeds ranging from 433 Mbps (megabits per second) up to several gigabits per second.

the 802.11n is antiquated and should be replaced with 802.11ac.

Do you know if by replacing the removable/replaceable WiFi module 802.11n with the removable/replaceable WiFi module 802.11ac will attain the speeds from “433 Mbps to several gigabits per second”? (while it’s in the L-14).


It will if you can find the driver and/or firmware for it. Note it will not be open source.

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I’m sorry, I don’t know. As far as I can tell, wifi speeds are mostly “up to”, “depending on”, etc. That’s why I was disappointed with the answer MrChromebox provided.

My concern with this is that 1.5 years ago I spent several months working with some techs at a ISP. I learned then, that trying to attain anything over 100 that isn’t ac or newer won’t happen. I bought some hardware I was going to put into a desktop and upgraded my speed to 300Mbps with the ISP. But all I could get was 100. After dealing with a new found sloth called Buffer Bloat and buying adapters - It was because my Ether was 802.11 b/g/n My NIC couldn’t handle it.

A newer device however has /ac. 802.11ac that was finalized in 2013. And soon is not already, the IEEE 802.11ax

@Gavaudan Then I would definitely need to swap the NIC /n, because it’s max is 100Mbps, for a /ac or possibly the /ax but I wonder, can the rest of the system handle it?


Copy something from a USB drive and see how fast it is.

there are so many factors affecting wireless speeds; I could tell you what I get running speedtest on my L14, knowing the WiFI module is the limiting factor, but I’d have to swap the Atheros module back in as I’ve been testing/using an Intel AX200 (802.11ac). WiFi router firmware, distance, other overlapping networks, etc all reduce that 300Mbps theoretical max to something closer to 90Mbps real world

802.11n can support 600MBs under 5 GHz and 3 Antennas.

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This is a good point. 802.11n as a standard can run over either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. So you would need to know which frequency the specific WiFi module is capable of using and which frequency or frequencies the OP’s router/wireless access point is capable of using.

Likewise there is absolutely no point upgrading to a 802.11ac / ax WiFi module unless the router/wireless access point is similarly capable.

Most WiFi speeds that are quoted are marketing wank.

It would be important to understand also whether the purpose of the WiFi is to move information around the local network or to move information to or from the internet. If the latter, then even if the marketing speeds are achieved, it could be limited by the internet connection.

If speed is important, whether local network or internet, I would be keen to use the ethernet rather than the WiFi if that is at all practical.

Partly true but only if you trust Intel etc. not to spy on you (and your router/wireless access point is even capable of 802.11ac).

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Why are so obsessed with your wifi speed that you want to replace your card? What application/usecase do you have which requires such hight speed?
Your wifi speed will always be unreliable and depend on so many factors. If you really need reliable high speeds you should use the ethernet port.

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That “theoretical” 300 is not theory. I get 300Mbps give or take 10 - 20 with a /ac Nic. 100 or a bit less with /n. It’s a fact. Check it out or google it. A theory is something yet to be proven. In the “real world”, people subscribing to 300 don’t get 90 unless there is problem. Those problems are fixable. If you’re only getting 90 with a AC, check with your ISP. 300 costs more than 100 so if you’re paying for 300, and they say “up to”, and techs can’t figure why you can’t get 250-300, then cancel 300 and buy into the 100. Or find a professional ISP. I am talking cabled. Too you’ll find the /ac should be using a CAT 6 cable because I found that CAT 5 under can’t cut it very well.

Sorry, I really do not understand what you want to say. What does the ISP have to do with your wifi speed?
The point made was, that wifi speed is dependent on a lot of factors (distance between AP and computer, other devices on the same spectrum etc)
What your ISP offers you has nothing to do with that. Well maybe they provide you with the AP which can be a factor too.

@mrtatertot @MrChromebox @Gavaudan @carlosgonz

Seems I have to prove I’m not crazy;

I pay my ISP for “up to 300Mbps”
On a older desktop speed tests are - again - CABLED, is 10/100 which is of the /g/e era 10/100 and when I test on that device, I get 80-100 +/- 10.
On another desktop with a 802.11 /ac, I get 280-300 +/- 10-15.

I just tested Wi-Fi with a Win 10 laptop with a /gn and it floated around 84Mbps +/- 5 and I’m only talking downloads.
Cabled, it hovered around 78-86. /n verses /ac. (Yes - I disabled the wifi) It’s 44 feet away - nothing in between.

I also just tested a Pi-400 and cabled, the little thing attained 284mbps using (5g) after a short climb. Disconnect the cable, and Wi-Fi hovered between 36.5 and 45.5. That’s all that’s needed for a laptop going mobile unless one is gaming.

I know some sites state the /n could attain 10/100/1000 but I’ve never seen any /n get over 100. /n is buggy anyway.

These tests were just done at 2.4, except the Pi. which was 5g.

Wi-Fi and cable being two different things, is why, to answer one question (or point maybe) I use cable because it’s faster than Wi-Fi. To plagiarize Lifewire“802.11ac uses dual-band wireless technology, supporting simultaneous connections on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi devices. 802.11ac offers backward compatibility to 802.11a/b/g/n and bandwidth rated up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band plus up to 450 Mbps on 2.4 GHz”

Ergo, /ac is better than /N and at the other end of the wire, is the MoBo and -things- that also dictate what speeds are available.

So, does the L-14 NIC 802.11/n, when cable-tested reach close or at 300Mbps? I know what looks good “in theory” and white papers but nothing beats a hands on test under normal conditions.

Now that I’ve explained why and what I know, (I hope there isn’t a pop quiz) I’ll see if a L-14 user who pays for at least 300, is getting on the /n. But as /N is/was buggy, the /ac fixed all that and, /ac opened the doors to /ax.

BTW. I’m typing on a Win 7 clunker that gets about 90-100 Mbps cabled on a /n. Now, how long before someone says I need to upgrade to Win 10 or 11? But not upgrade from bugsy-N?

Thanks for all the opinions. Believe me, they are appreciated and many ideas put to use,
Hope we are all here tomorrow and not radio-active dust.


I’m not aware of any bugs in 802.11n, but ac does not seem to be available on 2.4GHz at all.

It was stated upthread that the L14 has 2 antennas (2x2), and IIRC that limits 802.11n to 300Mb/s at 5GHz, 40MHz channel width. Couldn’t quickly find what it means for ac.

Sorry if I misled you, but I don’t give a hoot about W-Fi, except to answer to challenges.

There is no sense in debating the nuances. I care less about them. I only wanted to know if the L-14 can handle 300Mbps or not. I want to know about the L-14 and it’s old and clumsy /n being replaced - not what some white paper says.

I’m told by @carlosgonz that the /n can handle up to 600Mbps. But I read elsewhere that it can reach 1000, but as previously stated, I can’t find anyone to corroborate that with hands on tests. As matter of interest, I tested a /n and only got close to 100 - why? Because the dtop itself cant handle /ac.


Is the L14 close to the AP? to get the fully speed of N the L14 need be close to the AP.
Speed decreases when further away.