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[GNU-linux-libre] Internal USB WiFi on laptops.

From: Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli
Subject: [GNU-linux-libre] Internal USB WiFi on laptops.
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2016 22:08:26 +0100


Many laptops do have mini-PCIe connectors internally.
Theses connectors also have pins for USB (D+ and D-).

On some laptops[2], the BIOS refuses to boot if the internal PCIe WiFi
card is not in its white-list[1].
Some laptop's BIOS[2] even go so far that they will refuse to boot if no
card found in the white-list is present.

In the case where the BIOS doesn't check for the presence of a card,
but still checks it against its white-list, using an USB card in a
mini-pcie form factor could work.

A wiki page on the elinux wiki[4] may suggest that it might exist.
Does ath9k_htc compatible WiFi cards exist in that format?

If so, shops selling RYF hardware such as ThinkPenguin and Tehnoetic
may be able to also sell it.

Internal cards have the advantage of not breaking easily during
External cards also have a dilemma where the user has to choose between
compactness and good range.

[1]It usually does that by checking the PCI ids of the card.
[2]I've laptops fitting each of theses case:
   The Lenovo X60 default BIOS[3] only checks if the card is not in the
   Also, I was given a broken HP Envy laptop that refuses to boot when
   you remove its (Intel) WiFi card.
[3]Libreboot doesn't have such restrictions and is compatible with
   that machine.


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