Librem 5 Wi-Fi performance

Testing Wi-Fi performance on a Librem 5 Birch, using the speedtest command from the speedtest-cli package, I get roughly the following:

Download: 32 Mbit/s
Upload: 3.6 Mbit/s

That’s the best I get, having the phone is placed really close to the Wi-Fi router.
For comparison, on my laptop I get over 200 Mbit/s down and about 50 Mbit/s up, and on the PinePhone I get about 40 Mbit/s both up and down.

According to the Wi-Fi hardware is supposed to be “Redpine Signals RS9116: 802.11 abgn 2.4GHz/5GHz” and journalctl shows the following:

redpine_91x: ================================================
redpine_91x: ================ RSI Version Info ==============
redpine_91x: ================================================
redpine_91x: FW Version        :
redpine_91x: Driver Version        : RS9116.NB0.NL.PURISM.LNX.1.3
redpine_91x: Operating mode        : 13 [Wi-Fi STA + BT DUAL]
redpine_91x: ================================================


wifi-nl80211: (wlan0): using nl80211 for WiFi device control

Is the fairly limited upload speed (about 3.6 Mbit/s) to be expected given the Wi-Fi hardware in the Librem 5, or is it something that could be improved by software or configuration changes?


For another data point, I have a Chestnut and I just tried speedtest as well. I got 14.69 Mb/s down and 18.46 Mb/s up. On a wired machine on the same network I get 930Mb/s down and 4.14 Mb/s up (I don’t know why the upload speed is slower on the wired machine, but that’s beside the point).

I then setup iperf to run in server mode on the wired machine and in client mode on the L5 and I got pretty similar numbers to those reported by speedtest; around 15Mb/s in both directions.

That was with my L5 around 8’ (2.5m) from the access point. Moving it closer got me 3-5 Mb/s faster.

Not really useful information for you, but it does seem to verify what you are seeing.


5.92 / 2.69 for my network, at the moment.


Yes, it is useful, I think. It shows that it should be possible to get more than 18 Mbit/s up, that’s something like 5 times higher than what I got. I was wondering if my low upload speed was due to a limitation due to the hardware, your info tells me that is not the case.

But I was seeing only 3.6 Mbit/s, you get very much better speed. Do you mean it’s still lower than you had expected?

Anyway, thanks for sharing those numbers!

Can you try some other device on the same network for comparison?

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Yes sorry, that is what I meant. 802.11n should support up to 300 Mb/s I believe so getting speeds that are a tenth of that or less seems off.

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Laptop, through my VPN: 8.93 / 10.18
Laptop, without VPN: 4.73 / 11.04
Librem5 again: 4.01 / 2.07 (not through a VPN either time)

There are so many variables to consider, though:
Your internet provider
Other services running on your wifi (I was streaming internet music)
Your particular router and equipment


True. Today, when I try speedtest again in the same way as before, now I get much better results, both download and upload speeds are now between 20 and 30 Mbit/s, sometimes a bit above 30. Annoyingly I don’t know why, what has changed to give this improvement. I did install updates and reboot in between, there could have been some update that affected this, I don’t know.

I would have liked to list all updates that were installed during the last x hours or days, not sure how to do that.

Edit: found this info in the /var/log/apt/history.log file, it shows there were many packages updated between my previous speedtest runs and today.


Cool. I’ve got everything from 11/17/20 contained in dpkg.log1 and dpkg.log.

As another point of reference, speedtest performed (in same EU country, both over same VPN with Firefox, max. FTTH connection should be 500Mbps down/up):

  • Laptop wired: 434Mbps down, 223Mbps up;
  • Tablet (Surface Go with Debian testing) wifi: 354 Mpbs down, 209 Mbps up;
  • Librem 5 Evergreen wifi: 25Mbps down and up.

However, I noticed that Librem Settings App only reports the connection to wifi AP as 6Mbps. My wifi AP reports something else regarding the connection with Librem, like 150Mbps (over 40Mhz). So probably this is only reporting issue in Settings App. I see the same connection (only 6Mbps) being reported on my tablet with Debian testing, while actual connection link is also much higher.

But the end-result of 25Mbps up and down on my Evergreen is somewhat low and will hopefully improve in the future.


Just tested Librem 5 wired with USB-C to ethernet adapter: 234 Mbps down and up!


divided by 8 it’s ~ 30 MiB/s not bad so far. how far do you get with an x86/64 from your ISP (no VPN/TOR just straight up pipe) ?

Librem 5 wifi without VPN: 26Mbps down, 34Mbps up
Librem 5 wired (USB-C to ethernet) without VPN: 310Mbps down, 324Mbps up
Regular older Intel laptop (USB-A to ethernet) without VPN: 492Mbps down, 572Mbps up

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yep. the L5 is definitely limited by the lower usb-2.0 bus but it should still go to 480mbps (divided by 8 it’s ~60 MiB/s R+W)

480 is usb bus (controller or host uplink) speed half-duplex bulk transfer. Ethernet is not bulk-transfer (streaming) but packet oriented. So add framing, segmenting and protocol (start/stop) overhead and you should get close to 320-400Mbps (depending on avg payload size) half-duplex or 160-200Mbps full-duplex.

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Here is link to MB0_Datasheet (if needed).


According to speedtest, my Evergreen’s download speed very slow, always slower than the upload speed.

Just now:
My desktop system (wired Ethernet): 383.52 Mbit/sec down, 10.99 Mbit/sec up.
My Librem 13v2 (WiFi): 58.28 Mbit/sec down, 11.12 Mbit/sec up
My Librem 5 (WiFi): 9.09 Mbit/sec down, 11.46 Mbit/sec up
My Android phone (WiFi): 57.6 Mbit/sec, 10.6 Mbit/sec up

I’m running the latest OS update. No SIM card is installed. The Modem and Camera/Microphone switches are off.

These results are consistent; I’ve run speedtest several times on the L5 and get between 4 and 9 Mbit/sec every time, significantly lower than the (many) other devices in my home. Upload speed is consistently around 11 Mbit/sec, which is what I expect based on running speedtest every now and then on my L13, desktop system, Android phone, etc.


how much do you get when you dl this >

Doesn’t boot on my Ubuntu based PopOS 20.04 system. I wonder if the problem is the AMD Ryzen processor, since Purism seems to be very Intel-centric. I’ll try it on my L13 laptop, but that will have to wait until next year… :wink:

The qemu image does not work on my L13 either. I see the grub menu, then the Librem startup screen with the spinning circle, but it eventually ends at the (initramfs) prompt.