Wireless
Issues related to Intel® Wireless Adapters and technologies
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Usable alternative to Intel M.2 WiFi modules?

Santomet
Beginner
340 Views

In our NUC-based embedded product we have saved a lot of space by utilizing Intel wireless modules for the creation of an AP (instead of adding another AP/RouterBoard into the box). It is essential for us that the 5GHz band can be used - with explicitly settable channel based on the surroundings.

Now that the LAR can not be disabled in Linux - and for some reason you guys do not care at all about the potential of your products and about pro users - we have to replace all the modules in our deployed systems for something better.

What do you recommend? Something from Qualcomm, Broadcom, Realtek, ... ?

I'm serious, I need a replacement...

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9 Replies
Jean_Intel
Moderator
315 Views

Hello Santomet

 

Thank you for posting on the Intel️® communities. 

 

We want to check what you mean by saying NUC-based embedded product; are you using a Nuc product? If so, what is the model of the unit you are using?

 

We cannot recommend any product as a replacement for a wireless product as Intel® does not support wireless integrations. We recommend you speak to the wireless adapter manufacturers to confirm if their products meet your requirements.

 

Best regards,

Jean O. 

Intel Customer Support Technician


Santomet
Beginner
278 Views

Hello, Jean,

Thank you for the answer.

 

First some details about our usage of Intel NUC - we are using the basic NUC sets from 7th up to 11th generation (with WiFi modules based on AC8265 up to AX201). We were utilizing the space-efficiency of these boards to build boxes as small as possible. Some usage scenarios are embedded, some portable. I can not specify the particular product in detail but basically it is being used as a broadcasting equipment that records videos from various sources and then allows for an instant replay on another wireless device. For this, an absolute control over SoftAP WiFi channels is essential - and the possibility to disable LAR in older kernels was very useful.

 

We were expecting that the LAR will get sane and for some reason hoped that it is not going to determine the location only by dumbly scanning surrounding APs because that is wrong on multiple levels:

  1. Very often, you won't find any APs around. But you still want to be able to create a 80MHz wide AX hotspot @ 5GHz...
  2. As the regulations are very often extremely outdated or incorrect in various equipment, people tend to set their APs to another country. It allows for particular bands that are already legal in their country - and then set the performance level wisely to comply with these regulations. We do it all the time with APs from i.e. Grandstream (great usability, great support, you should learn from these guys btw). The poor LAR algo then thinks that the return value should be "US"...
  3. Sometimes, people change their country code without actually knowing what they are doing. Intel Wireless will be happy to hop on anyway...
  4. The availability and reliability - you've made that into uncertainty and frustration when it comes to SoftAP...

 

But we finally woke up and realized that LAR is never going to get sane. And I do not expect that Intel Wireless guys will ever listen to any rational argumentation.

Now we need to either add some router board into the system and make the box bigger, or find a replacement for Intel's Wireless as the LAR made it basically into NO-IR-only half-usable piece of HW. I know that you can not recommend anything but I believe that the community has some experience. And If not, I am going to test anything that comes to my hands and then report it here

 

Thanks for reading my ramble (it must be annoying, regardless of how justified I think it is).

I wish Intel Wireless much success and less LAR-level ideas.

Best Regards,

Marek "Santomet"

Jean_Intel
Moderator
258 Views

Hello Santomet,


I undertand your situation, the information you provided has been useful.


I would like to investigate your issue and see if I can find a solution for your LAR conflict on your network. I would like to confirm the Linux Operating system you are running at this time. As well as having an Intel SSU report from any of your Intel Nucs.


Intel System Support Utility (Intel SSU)  

• Download the Intel SSU (https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/download/18377/25293/intel-system-support-utility-for-window...)

• Open the application and click on "Scan" to see the system and device information. By default, Intel SSU will take you to the "Summary View." 

• Click on the menu where it says: "Summary" to change it to "Detailed View." 

• To save your scan: click on "Next"; then "Save." 


Best regards,

Jean O.

Intel Customer Support Technician


n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
254 Views

Just my two cents worth: Whether you see it this way or not, you are essentially asking for a way to use an Intel product to circumvent a country's regulations on channel usage, width, etc. Why would Intel ever want to give you the ability to do this? If they did, they would be setting themselves up to lose the ability to get their solutions certified for use in these countries. I don't think Intel should or will ever give you this capability and I very much doubt that any other reputable vendor would do so either. You need to be looking for a way to work within these restrictions. I am sorry that this is a problem for you, but I don't see it being otherwise.

Just saying,

...S

Santomet
Beginner
243 Views

Thank You guys,

 

First, @Jean_Intel ,

According to various sources (1, 2), it is actually not possible to create a 5GHz softAP under Linux. Furthermore, somehow fixing the problem in my current location won't fix it universally. However, if there is a known and fixable problem that prevents my AX201 from creating a 5GHz AP, I will happily comply.

Current system: Linux Mint 20.3 (Ubuntu 20.04) @ 5.13 kernel. The outdated Intel SSU for Linux sadly does not provide any info about the wireless.

 

Second, @n_scott_pearson 

Thanks for your comment. However, I would like to point out that:

  1. My intention is not circumventing any country's regulations. I know these well and when it comes to AP functionality, Intel restricts the usage far more than my country. I do not mind these regulations and I live with them and work with them on a daily basis.
  2. I am not directly asking Intel for some personal help with their product, but asking the community for any experience with a good-enough alternative to Intel's wireless.
  3. While doing so, I did not miss the chance to complain about how bad of an idea the LAR is. Admittedly, with some level of contempt, but also with good argumentation (see my first reply to Jean) and small hope that it will stimulate someone inside Intel to think about this again.

The part about compliance with regulations is a good point - LAR is apparently an attempt to do this without creating products with hard-coded regulatory domain within the devices. I do understand the original rationale behind this idea. However, I claim that this particular approach is nonsensual and does not solve the real problem - and only is the pro-forma alibistic way for getting these certifications.

Jean_Intel
Moderator
209 Views

Hello Santomet,


I would like to know which Intel Nuc models you are using on your network.


Creating a hotspot under a protocol relies totally on the Operating System and not the wireless card. You mentioned that it is impossible to create a hotspot using your current operating system, so try using Windows as your operating system and check if the problem is present.


If the issue persists while using Windows operating system may confirm that it is a regulatory limitation in your region. Disabling LAR is not a possibility as this is expected behavior due to meeting country-specific regulatory limitations.


Best regards,

Jean O.

Intel Customer Support Technician


Santomet
Beginner
200 Views

Hello Jean,

Seriously, I am not sure if you are kidding right now

  • Linux is essential for our usage (I am not an end customer, we are trying to build something here).
  • Yes, ofc, it is not about the wireless card - it is about the Linux driver written by Intel in combination with the idea of Location Aware Regulatory...
  • Regardless of what your support FAQ materials are saying, LAR does not cause the card to meet regulations! In a significant number of cases it restricts the usage far more than actual regulations or uses the wrong domain anyway - breaking actual regulations. It is just a way to screw with certification process in a number of countries while not giving a f*** about real scenarios. Let that sink in, please.

I am really asking the wider community about any feasible alternative.

Still, I am glad that you are trying to be helpful.

Best regards,

Marek "Santomet"

Jean_Intel
Moderator
183 Views

Hello Santomet,


Thank you for the information provided. 

 

I will proceed to check the issue internally and post back soon with more details.

 

Best regards,

Jean O. 

Intel Customer Support Technician


Jean_Intel
Moderator
177 Views

Hello Santomet,


As Scott mentioned previously, what you are asking for will circumvent a country's regulations on channel usage, width, etc.


I want to clarify that the Location-Aware Regulatory (LAR) feature works by ignoring the userspace regulatory database and instead deduces the regulatory region by listening to other nearby access points. I made a mistake explaining myself in my previous comment. My apologies. 


The no-IR flag is set to meet the regulatory compliance and disable the soft AP mode on 5GHz channels in certain countries. For details, refer to the article Linux Wireless - Regulatory rules. (https://wireless.wiki.kernel.org/en/developers/regulatory/processing_rules#:~:text=The%20no%2Dir%20f....)


Older kernels had an option to disable this which was removed in 2019 due to it causing the firmware to crash. Since this removal, Intel cards supporting LAR can no longer be used as access points in the 5 GHz band. (https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/software_access_point#Cannot_start_AP_mode_in_5_GHz_band).


Also, to be clear, Linux drivers for wireless are not provided by Intel, these drivers are provided, and maintained by the Linux* distribution vendors.


Since this was removed in the kernel my best recommendation is to search for options in the Linux community. However, as you mentioned that you wanted to seek assistance in our community, feel free to keep looking for help. Hopefully, other community members will help you. If you need any additional information from Intel support, please submit a new question as this thread will no longer be monitored.



Best regards,

Jean O.

Intel Customer Support Technician


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