Purism Personal Computer & Wifi Questions

I am eyeballing the upcoming Librem 14 laptop for use as a personal computer, given what is happening in this country as this time security wise. I will continue to use an apple computer for business purposes because of compatibility reasons.

The librem 14 looks very promising especially with the strong increase in CPU cores, which means more fun art wise.

My question is this: has the Wifi problems been fixed so there is a strong connection now or am I going to have to wait a while longer while that gets improved?

The Librem 14 uses the same Atheros ath9k WiFi/Bluetooth as previous models. It works, but it doesn’t have as good of range as an Intel WiFi card, and will transfer files slower even when close to your WiFi router.

I wouldn’t let that prevent you from buying a Librem 14. If you decide that you can’t live with the performance of the Atheros WiFi card, just buy an Intel WiFi card for $20 on Amazon.

Then do this on the command line:
wget http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/non-free/f/firmware-nonfree/firmware-iwlwifi_20190114-2_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i firmware-iwlwifi_20190114-2_all.deb

Then, open the case and change the WiFi card.
Librem laptops are very easy to open and it literally takes 2 minutes to change the WiFi card.


I didn’t know I could customize the laptop like that. Yes, internet connection speed counts for me, especially from user standpoint. I listen to podcasts, watch videos, and other multimedia uses.

I will save all of what you have included in your post into a text file on my desktop screen for future reference until I can afford the librem 14 laptop. Thanks for sharing that information.

Edit: anyone feel free to save this.


Another option for home use is that the Librem 14 now has an ethernet port (yay!). So you don’t have to use WiFi at all when at home.

To take that thought further, if you absolutely insist on the privacy of keeping Intel WiFi blackbox spyware out of your computer and you absolutely insist on better network speeds and your home networking is such that ethernet is not available in the location where you are using the laptop then … you could use a WiFi bridge that gives you an ethernet port (or even maybe a pair of powerline adapters) … so that you can use the ethernet port in that location. That will cost more than $20 though.

indoors more than 2.4 Ghz will probably not be very satisfactory since lower frequencies have an easier time passing through objects … i would invest more than 20$ to have a good WIRED experience if i have a lot of EMF in my local environment which might be the case if you’re sleeping near the microwave oven … :crazy_face:

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For what it’s worth, I’ve listened to podcasts and streamed videos to my Librem 13 without issue. There are some corners of the house where the Librem 13 doesn’t pick up WiFi where other devices do, which has been the bigger issue for me, but one easy to adjust to/work around. For me the free/open WiFi drivers were a big perk of buying the laptop, but it’s nice to see the other solutions shared here, since I also wasn’t aware how easy it is to swap out the WiFi card if needed.

I do like the option of swapping out parts when needed. It makes things easier, plus it is more control over what is used and isn’t. I did enjoy being able to upgrade parts when I chose to to make my previous laptop last longer. Now, my current laptop doesn’t have that ability. (Apple).

That is why I enjoy tinkering with things, especially computers. I learn better that way of how they operate and how they function. I saved amosbatto’s response in a local textile with command line instructions for being able to use a better wifi card.

I enjoy, and respect, computer companies that fully respect user choice regarding what their customers do with the computers they bought.

That could be a viable option. My home office is certainly not directly close to the router.

Picking up the above comment and

It may well make sense to get your local data cabler in and just put an ethernet port in your home office.

I would definitely do that but that comes with a cost (and the cost per port is highest when doing a small number of ports - so if doing it at all then you would put 4 ports or even more in your home office).

It goes without saying that you have to own your own home in order to do this (unless you have a really really cooperative landlord). If renting then either WiFi bridge or powerline adapters might be the options (as originally suggested).