Librem 14 with WWAN m.2 LTE card

The Librem 14 has two m.2 slots for NVME SSD. Therefore, I had the idea to use one slot for SSD, and another slot for m.2 LTE card. I have Quectel EP06-E card, this cards have m.2 key B form factor and work via USB, but SSD have m.2 key M form factor and work via PCIe.
Therefore I have a question: will the LTE card work if it is connected through this adapter ?


Funny idea - no matter whether it works or not. I’d love to have LTE integrated (again - like in the times of my Sony and Fujitsu notebooks) into my Librem.

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But in this way you have not a comfortable hardware kill switch for LTE, you need to open the back cover every time.
Anyway I prefer to use the hot spot of L5.


You are going to need to add some antennas inside your case to get the cellular signal. Let us know how the experiment goes.


Good luck with the effort.

I think it may be easier to get it to work in the slot where the WiFi card is located, there are usually adapters that can be found to add LTE card into WiFi slot that includes a slot for a SIM card.

You would lose WiFi though and I think would still need new antennas due to the different frequencies that LTE works on compared to WiFi.


As you say, that is the first problem to be solved.

Also, I think Quectel EP06-E is not M.2 but is instead mini PCIe. You want Quectel EM06-x perhaps.

Also, did you want voice calls only or data only or both? I think in general people in this situation want at least data only for the laptop - and some modules will be data only.

This is a can of worms.

Bear in mind that the Librem 14 is “pre-order”. So noone has one. So it would be a bit speculative to say whether it will work.

With my existing laptop I just use an external USB dongle (presumably data only).

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Thanks for clarification, yes I meant Quectel EM06-E with m.2 key B form factor, not EP06-E.

For me, the built-in LTE card is more convenient than a USB modem.

Yes, it is more convenient. The USB dongle has a better kill-switch though. :slight_smile:

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on that note a usb-C modem dongle might be easier to kill and then “switch” back on again :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

or just use an adapter ? long live the wall-Es of this day and age … :sweat_smile:

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You also need to consider where the SIM will go. Normally for these kinds of m.2 cards the SIM slot is not on the LTE card but on the motherboard. You might need a different adapter that has a SIM slot on it.

It might work, but don’t get your hopes up. :slight_smile:


Perhaps some additional thought/idea or speculation to get to the point of having M.2 slot plug and play ready for some blobs free M.2 LTE modem inside L14. For example, I really don’t mind if Purism decides to put Welink ME3630 M.2 C2B modem (or something quite similar for Linux platform) inside L14, just proofing it, making relatively simple experiment (PURISM STAFF ONLY) with it would make some people happy. Voice is not supported but who cares if M.2 LTE device works for what it is intended by having/putting emphasis on the fact that “OpenLinux solution are embedded in C2A version” (expecting the same for C2B version). Also, I’m aware that here will be no support for Quectel EM06 series LTE Cat. 6 modem (or similar proprietary code ones) but with proper testing of Welink ME3630 code there might be small chance, who knows, that it might slide well into the development concept in favor of having optional LTE, with or without HKS, setup for L14v2. Additional note, I neither mind having possibility to order L14 with optional M.2 LTE modem (Broadmobi or Neoway might have something blob-less to offer as well) with HK switch instead of Wi-Fi M.2 card while when at home/office connecting via an Ethernet cable should be indeed fine (healthier) option (for me).

Anyway, only thing that really matters here, IMO, is that @menscren can still use his M.2 cellular modem with any Librem laptop with simple USB 3.0 adapter, Aliexpress item: 32989606174.

Even incorporating dummy (if not used) SIM card slot within laptop body is just matter of approach (design) and not of cost, IMO.


Please, clarify blob-less models?
Modems from Broadmobi, Neoway and Welink ME3630 are based on Qualcomm chips as well as modems from Quectel. In my opinion, they have the same blobs. Share your opinion on this issue.

I was referring just to particular chips like Qualcomm MDM9607 CPU and Modem (Neoway N720 OpenLinux and Broadmobi BM818):

Binary blobs are explained here:, but (as I’m no expert) below explanation is my favorite one here:

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Yes, every cellular modem on the market requires binary blobs, but there are 3 types of blobs:

  1. Requires a proprietary Linux driver (and usually proprietary firmware as well stored in /lib/firmware). This is the worst option because the blob is loaded into the Linux kernel and executed by it.
  2. Requires proprietary firmware stored in the Linux file system (in /lib/firmware) and then the blob has to be passed to the modem every time that it is initialized. This isn’t as much of a security threat, because the binary code is only copied over, and it isn’t executed inside Linux.
  3. Requires proprietary firmware stored on the modem, so the main Linux system never has to touch the blob.

The BM818 and PLS8 used in the Librem 5 are the third type of blob, which is allowed by the FSF’s Respects Your Freedom certification.

All cellular modems require proprietary firmware, and it is nearly impossible to reverse engineer the firmware. The manufacturers also won’t release any info or code for fear of patent lawsuits.

The situation isn’t much better for WiFi and Bluetooth. There were two types of WiFi 802.11b cards where experimental FOSS firmware was reverse engineered but they didn’t work very well. The only WiFi 802.11n cards that don’t require any firmware are Atheros ath9k (but they require proprietary firmware for the Bluetooth). The Redpine Signals RS9113 and RS9116 (which is used in the Librem 5) have proprietary firmware, but it is stored in the component. For 802.11ac/ad/ax we don’t have any options.


amosbatto, thanks for the valuable information. Please answer a few more questions or share links:

  1. What other LTE cards of the third type of blob are there?

  2. Is there the third type of blob among these popular linux cards: Quectel: EG25-G, EC25-E, EP06-E, EM06-E, EM12-G, EM20-G; Telit: LM940, LM960A18; Sierra: MC7455, EM7455, EM7565; ThinkPenguin TPE-EM7455CHIP; SIMCom SIM7100E; usb modem Huawei E3372h-153 ?

  3. Is the default stock card BroadMobi BM818-E1 the third type of blob or is it purism’s customization?

  4. Are the other BroadMobi models (BM916-E1 and BM806U-E1+) the third type of blob or not?

I know that the ThinkPenguin TPE-EM7455, SIMCom SIM7100E and Quectel EG25-G can use FOSS drivers and don’t have proprietary firmware in the /lib/firmware directory. For all the rest, you will have to investigate on your own.

As far as I know, Purism is using the standard M.2 card supplied by BroadMobi, so I don’t think that this is customized. In contrast, Purism is having to pay for custom manufacturing of the M.2 card for the PLS8.



I know I’m reviving an old post here, but have you been able to make it work?
I’d be interested in having a Librem 14 with a WWAN module as well, but I’m pondering on how much effort I’m willing to put in there to make it work.
If you have managed to make it work, that would be great news!