TL-WN722N support on FreeBSD.

Roland Smith rsmith at
Wed Aug 27 18:00:15 UTC 2014

> > On Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:39:56 +0300, atar wrote:
> >> So you give me additional reason to stay with Linux and
> >> not to migrate to FreeBSD since even a basic wireless
> >> adapter which came with your Sony isn't supported by
> >> FreeBSD. To be honest, I don't know if your Sony wireless
> >> adapter is supported by Linux, but in general, I think
> >> linux is more flexible and supports more devices than
> >> FreeBSD (and more than all the rest of *BSD variations).
> > 
> > Of course this is a problem in FreeBSD, and it's a known
> > problem. There is a workaround (which isn't really helpful
> > afterwards, but beforehand): First check if the hardware
> > is supported, then buy it. Especially wireless devices
> > are subject to the tricky game of "driver lottery". You
> > will have more luck with Linux in this regards, as it
> > covers hardware with working drivers more than any other
> > operating system does, and usually, it keeps the support
> > for devices that "Windows" has long dropped (if you happen
> > to insist on using specific hardware, such as video grabber
> > cards, DVB sticks, sound cards or other "non-mainstream"
> > equipment).
> > 
> > Up to this point, I was always lucky with the hardware I
> > purchased: FreeBSD's support for WLAN components was
> > excellent.

For off-the-shelf no-name WLAN cards it is in my experience often difficult to
tell which chipset is used inside. There have even been instances where
manufacturers switch the chipset to something completely different without
changing the part number!

In cases like this I tend to download and unpack the windoze driver from the
manufacturer's website. If you look through the configuration files for the
driver install (.inf, IIRC) you can generally tell which chipset is used.

Or you can buy a slightly more expensive brand name card for which you *know*
drivers exist and save yourself a lot of time.

> > I've been using IBM / Lenovo, Dell, Siemens-
> > Fijutsu and Sony laptop hardware, and FreeBSD did not
> > have any trouble getting the buildin hardware to work.
> > Still there are models which cause problems: Some of
> > them use chipsets not supported by current drivers, others
> > just use f*cked up ACPI implementations, and others
> > delegate hardware functionality to proprietary drivers
> > which make the actual devices "appear" and "work", and
> > as you will guess, those are only available for specific
> > versions of "Windows".

Like winprinters. Blegh!

> > It depends on you if you want to:
> > 
> > 	a) purchase other hardware to replace what is
> > 	   not supported,
> > 
> > 	b) relapse to using Linux which supports your
> > 	   hardware, or
> > 
> > 	c) accept that it's not working and make a better
> > 	   choice next time you buy something. :-)

If I'm buying a PC or laptop I tend to go to a shop with a FreeBSD DVD or
memstick and ask if I can try booting the machine in question from it. Then
the dmesg output tells me what works and what doesn't.

Smaller shops can generally build PC's and sometimes laptops to order with
components that you specify. That is generally what I do.

> > FreeBSD isn't exactly blazing fast in this regards, but to me, never
> > buying "the newest" for having "the newest" for few weeks (instead buying
> > "good" in order to have "good" for several years), it doesn't really
> > matter, so my opinion doesn't matter much.

Definitely agree. Never buy the latest generation hardware! You pay top dollar
(especially for CPUs) and the difference to the previous generation that is
probably better supported by FreeBSD is generally not really significant.

These days the biggest speedup for a computer is probably to use an SSD instead
of an HDD. But since GELI doesn't support TRIM yet, and I consider encryption a
must have for my own data in case of theft, I'll wait for a while. Of course
using a relatively small unencrypted SDD for the OS with an encrypted HDD for
data would be a solution for that.

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