The Linux noob I am was worried about this. Doing some preparatory online reading did nothing to reassure me either. It looked like there was no macOS It Just Works! ™ magic and no Windows .exe to install the required driver and I was getting the impression one was supposed to purchase only a carefuly handpicked Linux-compatible card, and then was required to know exactly which driver to install by hand, while wishing for the best.
I’m not the wishing-for-the-best kind of person, I’m more on the what-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong kind of guy.
But I needed a WiFi card. So, I braced for the worst-case scenario: the driver of my carefuly handpicked Linux-compatible card refusing to work and me being forced to reinstall Linux from scratch for this stupid card to be recognized and correctly configured. And I ordered the card, waiting for it to arrive up until this morning.
I took a deep breath — backups were already taken care of — and switched off the PC. Unpacked the card — is it tiny — and opened the PC. Unscrewed one of the little metal plate thingy at the back of the PC — in order to make room for the card’s external antennas. Plugged in the card. Connected the included Bluetooth-USB cable on a free USB connector on the motherboard — yeah! I now have Bluetooth and just need something Bluetooth to connect to it. Slowly screwed the card’s two small external antennas — they are now neatly sticking out of the back of the PC, making it almost look like an odd and square fat rabbit with pointy ears. Admired my handiwork. Took another deep breath. Switched on the PC and…
It was working. I just needed to connect to my home netwwork. Neat.
To say I was surprised would be un understatement. Was the driver already installed without my knowing, or was it Manjaro, with its always uptodate kernel, that detected and configured the card at reboot? I have no idea, but it feels a lot like what I was used to with Mac and macOS: it just works! ™ ;)
There was an issue, though. I don’t see how it is related to the card but since it happened just after I connected to my home network through this new WiFi card, here it is: the computer clock insisted to be set to 1/1/2053 and I had to change it at least three times before it registered the right date and time.
I don’t have a WiFi 6 network and have no intention in upgrading for the time being. But since I had to purchase a new WiFi card, I wanted something that would work fine in the future.
I have no idea how fast the card is. I don’t care that much about data transfer speed but, using this new WiFi connection instead of Ethernet, Manjaro’s updates looks fast enough to me through my 1gb/fiber Internet access.
About the card
I purchased it on Amazon FR. It is the “Ubit Carte Réseau PCI-E AX WiFi 6 sans Fil 2974 Mbps| Bluetooth 5.0 | MU-MIMO | OFDMA 160MHz | Ultra-Faible Latence | Compatibilité Win 10 64bit” which is quite a name. They do mention Linux compatibility in the detailed description, though.
And here is what
inxi -F has to say about it, and which driver it is using:
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 driver: iwlwifi