Terrible WiFi performance with Librem13, Librem15


Hundreds of posts and years later the issue persist, and these people think they can engineer a phone? No wonder it can’t make calls.

Would be great to have an update on this. A $1500 laptop should be able to at least get wifi if more than 6 meters away from the router.


Purism solved the problem on the phone by working with Redpine Signals so the RS9116 can function over SDIO 2.0 without binary blobs in Linux. I expect that Purism will also use the RS9116 in future Librem laptops as well, since there appears to be no way to make the Atheros 802.11n chip work well.

Instead of criticizing Purism, you should be thanking the company for its work to give us a free/open alternative to the crappy Atheros 802.11n chip.


Any chance this module / implementation could be bought as an upgrade kit at some point? I’d love to put a better wifi module into my Librem 13v4. I would definitely buy such an upgrade module from purism.


There’s always a chance. Why not ask Purism directly?

I couldn’t tell whether this is drop-in replacement compatible though i.e. at the hardware level. I expect the software change can be managed.


I am also experiencing multiple WiFi issues with Librem 15v4. I would like to add that this is a brand new device. I’m dual booting PureOS and Ubuntu 18.04. The WiFi issues really only started when I started using Ubuntu. I would attempt to connect to my home WiFi, and it would state “Connecting” for about a minute, then state that the connection failed. No amount of turning WiFi off/on or killswitch off/on would work. Eventually I tried turning hwcrypt off and disabling IPv6, which seemed to do the trick for about 3 hours or so. But then speeds got really slow, pinging to google.com gave 55% packet loss. Then it stopped working completely, back to “Connecting” and failing again. I then tried restarting the NetworkManager service by doing sudo service network-manager restart then followed up with sudo ifdown wlp1s0; sudo ifup wlp1s0 just to be sure. This, surprisingly, worked… For a day. I then switched to PureOS to check some things out, noticed I was having wifi issues there now. Switched back to Ubuntu, back to square friggin’ one. Unable to connect again. I’m typically able to connect to my phone’s wifi hotspot however. But this time I wasn’t. I restarted multiple times. After the 4th or 5th restart, it started working again (?).

But even though it’s connecting now, the connection is really spotty. Attempting to play League of Legends is impossible as the network connection will drop out of nowhere for 3-5 minutes, or I’ll experience severe packet loss.

It seemingly has a mind of its own.


A little update, I wiped the internal SSD completely and started with a fresh Ubuntu 19.10 installation. Things seem to be going a lot better now. Previously in addition to the WiFi issues, I was having graphics issues as well (20 fps in League of Legends, 10 fps in Overwatch, 10 fps while playing RLCraft Minecraft mod w/ lowest Shader settings). This was on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. But I’m guessing there was some configuration issues, because Ubuntu 19.10 works like a charm and I have yet to experience any significant WiFi or graphics issues like before on PureOS and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.


Okay, I’ll be honest. I’ve been using the Librem 15v4 for awhile about 3 months now and this is just terrible. WiFi is god awful. I can’t get steady ping on any game and the WiFi will literally stop working occasionally. I have to jiggle the screen back and forth for it to get speeds that I should be expecting, but as soon as I stop moving the screen or the laptop about it goes back to, what I can only describe as negative bandwidth. It’s literally that bad. If you see this forum post and are considering buying a Librem laptop, I STRONGLY ADVISE YOU TO LOOK THE OTHER WAY AND DO NOT – I REPEAT, DO NOT – BUY A LIBREM LAPTOP. I feel almost scammed out of my money at this point with how barely functional this stupid laptop is.


I’m sorry you’ve reached this conclusion. I’ve had a 13v2 for almost a year and a half now, and while I’ve noticed that wifi performance is worse with it that my other laptops, I have not ever considered this a reason to not buy it. Your AP source could be moved, you could change where you are using your laptop.

If wifi performance is so critical to you that you totally disregard every other important reason to buy a Purism product, perhaps you made a bad choice to begin with. I mean I get your frustration, but just blaming the laptop for all of your problems seem like an easy scape goat, and your recommendation rather foolish.


When paying $1800 for a laptop, yes, poor wifi performance (with no built-in Ethernet port) as well as random crashes/freezes on multiple different distros, half a decade old CPU, and keys that start squeaking after only 3 months of use is definitely a deal-breaker. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Free and Open aspect of Librem, but it seems the only thing that the majority of my money went toward was for Purism to neuter the Intel ME. Every other aspect is simply way too overpriced.

Not to mention having to wait 2 whole months for the device to be shipped, only to find out they shipped me the wrong laptop (a Librem 13).


@Septem151 saying that you have to jiggle the screen to get a stable connection might point at something being wrong with the placement of the antennas within the screen or with the cable running from the wlan card to the antenna.
If that’s not the case and the wlan connection is a know weak point the solutions to it are already with in this thread Terrible WiFi performance with Librem13, Librem15.
I’ve done that on a librem 13v4 without a problem.
But from your posts it seems like your mayor use case seems to be gaming an that’s probably the one thing the Librem Laptops aren’t really suited for, in my opinion it’s more of a business Notebook.


How do you spend $1800 on a laptop with all the deficiencies you just pointed out, and then complain that you spent that much money on it? I mean you knew all of that BEFORE you spent the money on it.


It’s not that perfect wifi is priority number one. It’s that working wifi is kinda part of a laptop. So it’s borderline not a working laptop by just baseline properties.

Maybe jiggling the screen, actually what you’re doing is having your body being an extension of the antenna.

To say the problem is “solved” in the thread you point to is absolutely false. I’ve tried everything and the wifi is still barely functional.


I’m not saying this is the case for you or Septem. I’m just saying that in my own Librem wifi performance while not as good as other laptops is still very functional.

Have you contacted support and worked to get it resolved through official channels?


My librem’s been back twice (once for wifi). It can take months to get it back, and after all the testing etc I’ve given up.


Hey man, you did your part for sure. Sorry it didn’t work out.


@ninja if you’re referring to me saying there is a solution. The solution the link should lead to is to replace the wifi module with another one from Intel.
That might not be the solution you are looking for but it is a solution if wifi is that critical to you.


Just to have it mentioned: Changed my M.2 Wifi Card to an Intel 9260. Beside having killed the micro-antenna-plug of the black antenna-cable (so just running on white antenna-cable instead of black and white) link-quality and signal-level have increased a lot.

The Intel 9260 seems to deliver a much better connection. As to the two antenna-cables: Having both it doesn’t matter how the laptop is positioned in regard to the router. With black cable gone the laptop pointing towards the router delivers a strong signal while being pointed in the opposite direction delivers weaker. So both antennas are probably positioned in opposite polarity (sitting in the hinge below display).

Also tried a Killer 1535 - which i couldn’t get to work at all.

Additionally a USB3 to ethernet-adapter can come in handy to sort out difficulties on installing the new hardware.


I’m adding my two cents as another data point: I also upgraded the stock 802.11n Ath 9K in my Librem 13 to a 802.11ac Intel 9260 and I’m extremely happy with the results. The only downside is that the 9260 drivers in Linux are binary blobs (iwlmvm.ko and iwlwifi.ko).


i don’t own a Librem laptop yet but when i order one i’ll probably see to it that it’s air-gaped and i’ll buy something like this separately instead of the wifi+bt module > https://tehnoetic.com/adapters/tet-n300hga

i believe something that has external antennae will work better in almost every case

btw - has anybody seen any improvements in using a Pringles tube for signal restriction/beam-forming ?


Maybe get it with wifi and just have it kill switched. You never know when you’ll have your librem but not your wifi dongle.

I totally agree that an external antenna will have much better luck.