New Post: Shipping new SparkLAN Wifi cards with Librem 5

When I read the U.FL-LP-N-2 Datasheet (PDF) correctly, you need not only the Extraction tool, but also the Insertion tool.
When I add the price of these tools to the already spent costs of the SparkLAN card, it all becomes less and less interesting to upgrade my L5 in the future. Way too expensive.
This could all be made less expensive when Purism would deliver from a store located in the EU and perhaps includes the needed tools with the SparkLAN card.

Yes I noticed that too. I was thinking of getting or making a tool myself because one of the key features of this phone is the user upgradability of the phone, I don’t want to have to send my phone in, spin up my old android backup phone while it’s gone. I wish I knew about these tools before I had started the SparkLAN upgrade. Purism should put together a toolkit at least with these u.fl tools, a set of screwdrivers, spudgers, suction cups, etc…

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You know a month after I got my phone, I had problems with the modem. contacted purism support and they said the modem needed replacing and that they would do it under warranty, etc. and pay for shipping. I just didn’t want to be without the phone for that long, so I opted to have them ship me the modem and I would replace it myself.

Fortunately, it all went well, and the new modem has been working fine. I do remember being nervous about pulling the cables off the modem. never would have imagined that the cable connector could come off?! I feel very lucky right now. In particular, because I recall some purism email or language that says if you opt to do the work yourself, it could void the warranty. So, this is frustrating.

Yeah, the L5 is nice, but it is not working out as well as I had hoped it would. These types of little things, do give me pause and worry, and makes me think how much I do want to commit to purism in the future. They are doing what we all need, it just all feels very tenuous.

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I finally got mine but I think my phone is too old (shipped a year ago). The card is not seen. I’ve reset it a few times now.

… as in, no wlan0 (no wifi or bt icons either, no effect from HW switch etc.). I’ve been looking but can’t find: where are the instructions/how-to on changing the card and adding what’s missing on the firmware and driver side? There seems to be only parts here and there in this thread.

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To check whether the jail is already there: New Post: Shipping new SparkLAN Wifi cards with Librem 5

To flash the jail:


How to upgrade:

  • Check if you have /usr/share/firmware-librem5-nonfree/firmware/brcm
  • Install spark lan
    • You remove the back cover
    • Remove the cover for the wifi and modem modules (3 screws)
    • Unplug the antennas for both modules
    • Remove the mid cover (all outer screws and 1 screw in each module compartment)
    • Reroute the longest cable from it’s snake and hide it down the right side wall
    • Replace the mid cover making sure the antennas aren’t squashed
    • Note any golden pins :D. (credit to Chris - Camera kill switch not working?)
    • Insert the modem and it’s antennas
    • Insert the new wifi and it’s antennas
    • Replace mid cover
    • Replace screws in the module compartment
    • Replace module cover
    • Feel free to test at this point if you like
    • Replace side screws
    • Replace back cover

My Experience:
I got the impression that a fully updated phone would just work swapping out the card. This isn’t really true. To be extra cautious I figured I’d even go as far as re flashing the whole phone. This didn’t work either. You must use the instructions in librem5-fw-jail. If it wasn’t for community members in this thread and @dos, I don’t think I would have got this working at all. It really really needs a follow up post and link to instructions when shipping out the module. Right before I went to flash the firmware on it I had some rattling going on and found Chris’ post on the golden pin (TY!). Also no idea if I did this but the volume rocker seems to fall out pretty easily now. :frowning: fixed :smiley: See my reply if you have this issue.

So far local music bluetooth playback on a pair of jabra elite 75t is awesome. Where it used to periodically stutter, to a point I wouldn’t use it, it is much smoother now. It will stutter if you leave setting open with it scanning, but once I closed that 0 stutters. I think I read a comment that while on the internet it would fail. In my short experience so far, firefox streaming youtube and bluetooth audio has no stutters. Initially I wasn’t seeing the same kind of speed improvements others had. I went from ~20 down to ~10 Mbps. I thought that was weird so I got cozy with the router and got 126/134 Mbps. Then back in the office I got 20 again which is nice. While doing that I left the local bluetooth music streaming going, still no hic ups. :slight_smile:

All in all I think this solves one of the most annoying things about the L5, and I’m very pleased :). Now I just need to bring myself to contact support about gps.


I flashed the firmware jail first and when I ran into problems with pairing devices I reflashed the OS too.

@dos what package will contain the update to help with the stuttering? My Bluetooth headphones are A2DP and as of today (Feb 28) I still get some stuttering, but it doesn’t seem as bad as when I first tried it out a couple of weeks ago. There was a kernel update since then so maybe that made a difference?

Edit: I also meant to add that I don’t mean to sound demanding. I know there are improvements being made everyday on the Librem 5 and I think all the developers for their hard work. Take your time! I just want to know what to look out for whenever the updates are ready.

Just nitpick details, the instructions for this are not perfect for the older model flashers (who might still be new to L5 or read these in the distant future). If your L5 is otherwise ok, you only need to follow the librem5-fw-jail instructions. Those imply that you just connect the phone via usb at the beginning and do nothing for the connection beyond that. While actually (using Ubuntu 20.04) script needs to be run with sudo and the phone needs to be set up for the connection (flashing mode means: connect usb cable while battery is off while holding volume button, then adding battery and after that releasing volume button - and HW switches need to be off). Forgetting these might stump anyone who hasn’t read through the forum threads. A link to FAQ would suffice.

Other small tidbits:

  • Doing ls /usr/share/firmware-librem5-nonfree/firmware/brcm afterwards gives the best indication that everything is where it should be (besides a working wifi) as the nmcli -f GENERAL.DRIVER d show wlan0 may show just empty lines (if it’s not working, it just gives an error - unsure what is going on with this, not very helpful). Same with sudo dmesg | grep brcm (still came empty afterwards).
  • On the installing of the card: the small three screw cover that comes over the cards has a little bump that is used to hold the card and connectors down in place. With the new card it doesn’t cover the antenna connector closest to the outer side of the phone. I hope in later L5 versions this gets fixed, but for all those upgrading, you should se, if you have something small and rubber/like that you can glue to add to that bump - just to make sure the antenna wire doesn’t accidentally get loose.

But, all in all, very nice. Flashing worked. Card is doing what is should in regards to net connections (haven’t tried BT yet).

Just out of curiosity (for not): what would be the procedure going back to the old card? No need to worry about the driver, I suppose - but can anyone say to that for sure? Or are there steps to be taken?

That screenshot has the answer printed outside of the viewport - you would have to press the right arrow to scroll into it, or make the font size smaller.

Anyway, nmcli -f GENERAL.DRIVER d show wlan0 is irrelevant to checking whether the jail is installed and I’m not sure why it’s being mentioned here. I posted it to answer a question on how to check which card is being used. If there’s no WiFi card being seen by the system, it’s obviously not going to return anything.


What’s the timeline for getting the updates to eliminate the stuttering? The new SparkLAN is still stuttering for me on my earbuds. I haven’t even bothered trying HSP call yet.

In the mean time, here are two options I’ve found will resolve stuttering until the proper fix is in place:

  1. Use a single earbud instead of both
  2. Disable WiFi

These may not be an option for you, but if either are, I’ve found it will remedy stuttering.

I did try disabling wifi but then re-enabling it and now it seems fine which makes no sense…lol. Seems like that act of disabling and re-enabling got rid of the issue.

17$ i believe if these are MHF4 connectors. I used a plastic spatula tool myself, those tools you can buy as a set to do phone repairs, or phone screen repairs for cheap as well. I just worked myself around the connector carefully from all sides not just one. Similar to

which cost around $7.

Best of luck next time you have to remove it again. I did the same and now am operating only on the main antenna. no diversity.

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I got the Sparklan Card today. It arrived two days sooner than the shipping estimate (go USPS!).

I was able to expose the motherboard and get the micro coax cable to reach the card. Unfortunately I had to cut the cover that was over the card to be able to close it back up.

The phone started back up and I didn’t have to do anything for it to just work. The speed is as advertised and pleasantly a little bit faster. I appreciate that this card should be able to do WPA3.

Between this and other updates the device seems to be much less warm and have a bit better battery and performance.

Overall I’m happy with it! Well done, Purism! :slight_smile:


Hi Cap.Morgan,
I agree that the tool itself isn’t that expensive, but considering all cost for this upgrade (and the risk of breaking something, in this case the modem connector) is something you need to consider as well before choosing to order the card.
Also, the upgrade instructions aren’t that straight forward to me.
I have not swapped the cards yet, because of the risk of damaging hardware or loosing data.

Here is a list of my expenses, just to receive 2 SparkLAN cards:

2x SparkLAN card - $ 58.00 (€ 82.85)
International shipping - $ 29.98 (€ 42.82)
Money Transfer - $ 17.50 (€ 25.00)
Import/Tax - $ 20.15 (€ 28.78)
Total cost for 2 cards: $ 128.63 (€ 179.45)

When Purism would have an EU selling point, the cost would be considerable lower.
I do hope they will have one in the near future, but as long as the have not, I’m reluctant to buy future upgrades again.

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What kind of ridiculous exchange rate do you use? The numbers in EUR should be lower than the numbers in USD. You are loosing 50 EUR on rip off conversion.

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1.00 US Dollar = 0.94115819 Euros

1 EUR = 1.06252 USD

105.48+22% is anyway a lot of USD for two cards from States:

As correlated:

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I don’t know actually why do overseas customers pay VAT?
In the past I recall that some online shops were selling without VAT for customers who would pay customs duty on top in their home country.

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