Wifi AC - 2021


Active Member

Reaction score: 2
Messages: 136

Hi there,

The main reason I don't use FreeBSD on my laptop@work is lack of recent wifi drivers.
Last time I tried to install it I was forced to use an old wifi N stick as the internal wifi chipset was not recognised and wifi AC stick had no drivers too.
So I ended with Linux as we ended with Windows a few years before while many apps were Windows only.
Where can I follow the progress of wifi 5 (ac) and wifi 6 (ax) on FreeBSD ?
It seems somethings happens since 2020 but I hardly cant find informations.


Well-Known Member

Reaction score: 227
Messages: 433

Yeah, I can relate to your pain (as can many others).
Personally, I found it to be not that bad to be restricted to 30 Mbps. It's not great for sure, but I don't browse those modern, popular & very heavy websites so the pain is minimal. For system updates I usually just hook up to a local wired ethernet connection.
Other than that I sometimes use if_urndis to tether my phone's connection over USB. More info on that can be found here: https://cyber.dabamos.de/unix/tethering/

As of now, the FreeBSD foundation is funding work towards WiFi 5 (and WiFi 6?) drivers: https://freebsdfoundation.org/project/wifi-update-intel-drivers-and-802-11ac/
Progress: https://wiki.freebsd.org/WiFi/Iwlwifi
Probably also interesting: https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/lenovo-x1-carbon-gen-9.82216/#post-538364

There is also the good old technique of spawning a bhyve VM, running Linux in it (often OpenWRT), passing the WiFi device through and using the Linux drivers that way.
There is net/wifibox which appears/claims to do all of that automagically for you. Although personally I am not a big fan of using someone else's VM image (in this case Alpine based). You just never know...
While this technique is certainly not as great as having native support in FreeBSD, you still end up with a solid FreeBSD system. If for whatever reason Linux is being Linux and experiences issues your machine remains usable and you can somewhat easily investigate the issue.