Librem 15 - No camera or AC or RJ?

By happenstance, I noticed the L-15 is on sale. WooHoo! great news, but, in re-reviewing specs again, I didn’t see any mention of mic or camera - not in sale specs, nor the set-ups PDF. Is there no camera and/or mic?

The L-15 comes with the 802.11n. May I just open the underside and snap out the N and replace it with 802.11/ac and will the Pure O/S and driver support the “AC” speeds through Pure-O/S?

If interested, this is why:

Below is a breakdown of actual real-life average speeds you can expect from wireless routers within a reasonable distance, with low interference and small number of simultaneous clients:

802.11n - 40-50 Mbps typical, varying greatly depending on configuration, whether it is mixed or N-only network, the number of bonded channels, etc. Specifying a channel, and using 40MHz channels can help achieve 70-80Mbps with some newer routers. Up to 100 Mbps achievable with more expensive commercial equipment with 8x8 arrays, gigabit ports, etc.
802.11ac - 100+ Mbps typical, higher speeds (300+ Mbps) possible over short distances without many obstacles, with newer generation 802.11ac routers, and client adapters capable of multiple streams**.


I’d prefer L-15 had a RJ-45 because unplugged, the outside is unplugged from me, not just me from it, and speeds are higher, more reliable, and constant… c’est la vie. I know about the kill switch.

p.s. I doubt calling it a “Desktop” will ever replace a desktop.
p.p.s. I wondered how long it would take to start renting a non-crippled “app” as in “Announcing: Fund Your App”. Tells me it’s going start costing a lot more sooner than later. Like “free” software (once known as ‘freeware’) is free so long as we buy a subscription - isn’t free.

Interesting, no RJ-45 would also be a game changer for me. So, you’re saying it is wireless only?

P.S. Fund your plug?

Hi @tracy,
If you are asking me, I couldn’t find a RJ-45 on any specs I looked at. Not sure what you mean by “Fund your plug?”.

If you are not asking me, disregard this.

The Librem 15 does not have an Ethernet port. You can get USB-to-Ethernet adapters, but that is the best you can do with the Librem 15 at the moment.

I might be wrong on this, but I am pretty sure that the limiting factor in the Librem WiFi cards is open source drivers. I do not think you can just swap out the wireless card to get 802.11/ac because I don’t think there are wireless cards that support ac while also using completely free/open source drivers. However, if you are willing to compromise on the “libreness” of your laptop, you could install a different WiFi card and get the proprietary drivers from the Debian non-free repository. (Well, you should grab the drivers before swapping the card, because you won’t have network access otherwise, unless you get that USB-to-Ethernet adapter).

I don’t know the specs on the mic/camera, but there definitely is one. No sense in having a mic/camera kill switch if there isn’t a mic/camera.

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Since the Librem 5 has “Fund your App” (since there are apps that users want) I thought it was a funny spin on the idea (since apparently there are plugs that users want).

I know it won’t go anywhere but I thought it a good joke.

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Thanks for that @taylor-williamc and tip on the USB to Ethernet, which I have a few of. Just another thing to haul around :frowning: .

Regarding …“No sense having…” is true, and I thought the same when I bought a laptop before. It has a camera too. Other specs were good and for $799.00 use it as a standby. After trying to figure why the mic didn’t work with Skype, a call to the makers led to being told that there was no mic. I had to buy and cart a mic around. I’m glad they don’t build houses - toilet, but no plumbing.

I’m sure Librem doesn’t play that game, but my years with Internet I’ve become rather jaded with what I read. If I really needed a new ltop, I’d not mind the price. But I spotted the sale on the L-15 and am looking to see where, if any, the 300 savings was cut.

If you want ethernet built-in then you want the Librem 14 (unless you need that extra inch or so of screen diagonal). Of course there are many other reasons to prefer the Librem 14. So it probably comes down to cost.

One of the reasons that Pursim might have had to add the RJ45 back to the 14 was how secure isolation is preformed in Qubes OS for a very secure setup. I do not use Qubes, but it seems like it isolates USB and networking. There are a few workarounds that may work, but it is not as secure. For normal OSs, this does not matter. Hopefully, the next 15 version will add the RJ45 back.

I agree with the prior comment about Purism’s not loading binary blobs from the host OS requirement. If I were upgrading the wireless card myself, and did not mind adding the necessary blobs to the OS, or using a different OS, then I would go with AX. AC has a speed improvement on 5 Ghz only. AX improves both 2.4 and 5 Ghz. 2.4 Ghz goes through walls better. AX also does not let other WiFi networks in the area slow its network down as much, and manages traffic on its own network more efficiently. But if you happen to be close to your WiFi access point, then AC will probably be fast enough. AX access points are still fairly new. If the speed is not worth it, WPA3 might be.

I am looking forward to the next 15 version for the additional memory and 60Hz refresh while using 4K on HDMI (and the return of the RJ45 port).

Hi @matt2 - welcome back.

Is the AX using the mesh approach verses router?

I have tried /n/g/b and am lucky to get 50 - 70 Mbps. When I installed a card with /ac, I get 300+ Mbps (cabled).

AC improved my 2.4


Thanks! I have had my Librium 5 to play with for about a year now, so I have had little reason to be on the forum. I am back because the PLS8 is what I need for it to replace my existing phone, and hopefully that is soon.

AX switches from OFDM to OFDMA, which is more efficient (improves bandwidth) and lowers latency (better for VoIP and some types of games) when multiple users are sharing the access point.

AC is a lot faster on 5 Ghz, which is great if you are close to the access point. Upgrading to an AC access point might have improved 2.4 for other reasons. Maybe it has a better antenna design, faster processor, or it moved other traffic from 2.4 to 5 Ghz, freeing up 2.4 Ghz capacity.

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99.99% of the time, thanks to COVID-19(84) I am the only one here, and I prefer cable over Wi-Fi. I dislike paying for an upgrade from 75 Mbps when I’d get 40 - 50, to 300 and get 50 -75! Part of the problem, which I don’t see mentioned a lot, is “Buffer Bloat” . A lot of debate, but no real solutions.

Anyway, you seem to orbit a much more complex arena than me and my little router. I just need to sort out what desktop to buy. Marrying up Ltop to Router to ISP specs is hard when comparing specs.
I am still leaning heavily on the Librem 15 and maybe get around the lack of RJ-45 with adapters. But yesterday, I knocked over a 27" monitor face down onto the keyboard. Turning it (monitor) on now reminds me of the kaleidoscopes we played with as kids. That, put a damper on things!

Thanks for the info. I copied it into my folder for review when I buy my own modem/router replacing the two tin cans and string provided by my ISP.


Sorry to hear that. I guess the good news is that the Librem 15 might have a RJ-45 when you are in the market for one again. The sale tells me that they are about to upgrade them, and its mainboard will probably be derived from the Librem 14.

I tried a few experiments with CoDel (controlled delay scheduling algorithm), and it made the buffer bloat less bad. I guess the trick is to start dropping packets just before the buffer fills up, which is just below capacity.

I prefer Ethernet as well. There is always a slight delay when adding a radio to the mix, and wireless is more like a Ethernet hub than a switch (other activity blocks it, but for WiFi, it is anything on that frequency, not just WiFi itself).

If you have a router all to yourself, and there are no other Wi-Fi networks in range, than the difference between AC and AX may not be worth the cost. N might be able to keep up with a 300Mbs service. The theoretical max of N is 450Mbps when using 3 antennae (otherwise 300Mbps), but real scenarios tend to be a bit lower, especially if any normal amount of distance is involved.

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