What WiFi M2 card to buy for rock5b?

I was waiting for official M2 wifi6/wifi6e card from radxa but looks like it is not going to happen at rock5b launch. This is what ameridroid told me.

Is intel ax210ngw a good choice for rock5b? Looks like it is not properly supported by Linux kernel until 5.13, do we expect driver problems with radxa Linux kernel?

Is it better to go with safer bets like ax200 instead ?

@Radxa team what is your recommendation?

Thank you

Please keep in mind that kernel support for RK3588/RK3588s right now is very special. All RK356x/RK3588(s) thingies are somewhat based on Rockchip’s reference designs and they both tested and optimised driver support for a limited set of Wi-Fi/BT chips only.

So when searching for M.2 modules that will work flawlessly most probably it’s a good idea to look around what will be used on devices having to use Rockchip’s recent BSP kernel (as such we can look at RK3568 too) and what is already confirmed to work. Also keep in mind that if certain interrupts are not routed properly stuff like powermanagement (waking up BT from sleep and so on) doesn’t work.

  • Firefly M3, Rock 5A: USB2 internally attached RTL8852BU-based Fn-Link 6252B-UUB providing 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax and BT5.2/BLE5.2
  • M.2 key E card in Rock 5B review sample: PCIe attached Realtek RTL8852BE-based Fn-Link 6252M-PUB providing WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2
  • Khadas Edge2, Mekotronics R58, Mixtile Edge 2, RD-RK3588 development board, UGOOS UT8 PRO and Orange Pi 5: PCIe attached dual-band 802.11 ax/ac/a/b/g/n WiFi 6 2T2R and Bluetooth 5.0 via Ampak AP6275P

I would buy this thing here to be better safe than sorry: https://wiki.radxa.com/Rock5/accessories/radxa-wireless-module-a8 (which according to @Jack is a ‘WiFi 6/BT5.2 M.2 card’ as such I would guess it’s also based on RTL8852BE-based Fn-Link 6252M-PUB?)

Update: (not too) surprisingly a M.2 2230 key E card with RTL8852BE is also recommended by Ameridroid (see at the bottom here).

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It depends on if you are going to use Android or Linux. For Android, we recommend Radxa Wireless Module A1(AP6212) / A2(AP6256) / A6(AP6275S) / A8(RTL8821BE).

For Linux, ax200 is reported working by community members.

Why is there a differentiation between Android and Linux? Where can we read about ax200 experiences?

It’s safe to say that it all comes down to what you want .

Moving to the ax210 gives you better frequency support with 6GHz, and added to that the WiFi 6 badge.

Please note that there is zero support for true WiFi 6 and all the multi lane benefits won’t truly be available until next gen silicon which will arrive in WiFi 7.

Ultimately it comes down to your use case and without understanding what your are after, it’s very difficult to give an accurate answer

My goal is to get best WiFi experience and not fall into a trap of missing drivers or bad kernel support.

You’re answering your own question then :slightly_smiling_face:

But what are you going to use the board for?

That will heavily influence what’s going to be best.

For example are you going to use the board as an AP or a STA?

Rockpi 5 was also recently added to Armbian build system, where you can enable missing driver in no time. However, this kernel is old and a few of drivers might not be able (too much work) to be ported here. But again - if there will be needed, there is again not such big a problem as most popular drivers are getting into the kernels this way. Not difficult to add others.

Also, as @Sean exposed with a question … some of those WiFi adaptors might not work in AP mode due to firmware blocking and that you usually can’t change. IIRC Intel used to allow 2.4Gh AP, but block 5Gh … something like that. You need to check wifi card small print.

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Thanks. Very useful info

The bluetooth stack for android requires the vendor to support and update for different android versions.

@igorp Although the rock pi 5 is in the armbian build system, it’s still WIP and only recommended for Dev as yet.

I personally use the rock 3a with the ax210 running armbian 22.08 server, and the ax210 it’s fully supported without having to rebuild the kernel now - although you have to download the Linux firmware for the card and rebuild the wirelessreg-db to get 6GHz working

@Cdome If you are considering understanding the kernel rebuild, and it is needed, here’s the link for that: https://docs.armbian.com/Developer-Guide_Build-Preparation/

Its on identical quality as Radxa build.

@igorp I’m only going off the website as I was looking for getting one myself.

Note: Armbian are also using jammy with 5.19 kernel which is ahead of what radxa support through there downloads page.

Are you saying you have tested and it’s working?

I’d be interested in knowing about PoE too if you are aware

Armbian provides 55 different kernels … It is impossible to provide images for this hardware with any other kernel.

Here is one in the automated test system and results are showing no issues.

They are working same good or bad as the official builds. Just a few general things has been improved.

More in this topic: Armbian images are now available for Rock 5b!

Sorry, don’t know if this works or not.

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PoE working is just hardware, maybe you need to configure the pin to enable the FAN.

Nope, unfortunately lower. But your ignorance will prevent you from leaving ‘Armbian Chief Advertising Officer’ role.

I have a intel ac8265 ,it works fine

There was no wifi card available when ordering my rock5 so purchased a RTL8852BE from aliexpress.

It did work ootb using Debian image but signal is super weak.
First time using this kind of module.

I’m supposed to use external antenna? Is there other m.2 cards having built in antenna?


Allnet and Ameridroid sells the A8 on sale its cheaper I do recommend it.

Thanks but the card in my link is already installed.
So it is a generic question.
All these m.2 cards require an antenna to work properly?
Or is just my card that suck?