USB WiFi adapter support request for the rtl8822bu driver

  • Hello LibreElec engineering crew,


    A long-time LibreElec user here - I recently donated to the project so I hope my request gets a careful read-through at least once ;)


    From searching the forum already, it seems the LibreElec team do not seem keen on adding drivers so easily but...


    Put simply: I want to make a feature request of LibreElec to support the rtl8822bu driver.


    As OpenElec 10 is in beta right now, I'm wondering if it can make it into this release cycle (or maybe into 11 or 12).


    This rtl8822bu chipset is used in TP-LINK AC1300 USB Adapter (Archer T3U) - please see photos. It supports 802.11ac and 5Ghz which my home wifi supports so I was keen to get this working with LibreElec. It's also USB3 and more power efficient etc.


    It is pretty solid, mature "system-on-a-chip" and is actually designed for set-top boxes RTL8822BU - REALTEK


    On pluging this adapter into my OpenElec 9.2.6 build, I was quite sad to see that it was not supported...


    However, the good news is that there is excellent support for this chipset out there in Linux, I got it compiled and working great on Debian 10 [x86_64] using this GitHub - jeremyb31/rtl8822bu: RTL8822BU Wireless Driver for Linux


    (To be fully honest - there were some additional tweaks to get the driver working 100% with Debian 10 - I can detail them in this thread if required)


    I attach a photo of the package of the TP-Link AC1300 USB Wifi adapter in case other users have the same model and can add a voice of support for this request.




    If it helps here is the usb-devices output from LibreElec 9.2.6 for my USB Wifi Adapter with the rtl8822bu chipset


    Code
    LibreELEC:~ # usb-devices
    ...
    T:  Bus=02 Lev=01 Prnt=01 Port=02 Cnt=01 Dev#=  2 Spd=480 MxCh= 0
    D:  Ver= 2.10 Cls=00(>ifc ) Sub=00 Prot=00 MxPS=64 #Cfgs=  1
    P:  Vendor=2357 ProdID=012d Rev=02.10
    S:  Manufacturer=Realtek
    S:  Product=802.11ac NIC
    S:  SerialNumber=123456
    C:  #Ifs= 1 Cfg#= 1 Atr=80 MxPwr=500mA
    I:  If#= 0 Alt= 0 #EPs= 5 Cls=ff(vend.) Sub=ff Prot=ff Driver=(none)


    Thinking ahead, maybe for a future LibreElec release you can add support for DKMS GitHub - dell/dkms: Dynamic Kernel Module Support

    Then users have a shot of installing drivers that would work with whatever kernel is in use.


    Thats it - thank you so much for LibreElec!




    • Official Post

    It's unlikely any other out of tree realtek drivers will be added. We have made this statement for some time.


    Realtek seems to introduce a new driver for each line of chipsets and it becomes unmanageable to make it work for all of them. We typically recommend someone wanting to use some obscure realtek driver to compile their own version of LibreELEC with the driver included.

    • Official Post

    The rtw88 driver in the upstream kernel is under active development and has been adding support for 8822* chips, but I'm not sure what state things are in with the 5.10 kernel used in LE10, it might need something a bit newer to have things work.


    DKMS solves a different problem. It allows you to recompile the driver to match the kernel - but it assumes the driver can be compiled for the kernel in the first place. LE's problem is that we frequently bump to the latest kernel and this results in drivers that simply do not compile on the target kernel version. Over time (and multiple drivers) you get rather bored of reinventing this wheel.

  • The rtw88 driver in the upstream kernel is under active development and has been adding support for 8822* chips, but I'm not sure what state things are in with the 5.10 kernel used in LE10, it might need something a bit newer to have things work.


    DKMS solves a different problem. It allows you to recompile the driver to match the kernel - but it assumes the driver can be compiled for the kernel in the first place. LE's problem is that we frequently bump to the latest kernel and this results in drivers that simply do not compile on the target kernel version. Over time (and multiple drivers) you get rather bored of reinventing this wheel.

    Thanks for the info guys, it seems that the 5.2 Kernel will start to have official Realtek support for the 8822 family of chips starting with PCI WiFi adapters. USB adapters like mine coming later. I guess I will be patient and wait for an official LE to adopt this.


    Realtek Contributes New "RTW88" 802.11ac WiFi Driver To The Linux Kernel - Phoronix


    I totally understand wanting to avoid a big support headache by providing users their own development tools on each installation image. What's the saying... "give someone a rope long enough and they will hang themselves" :D

    Far better to rely on solid driver support in-tree eh?


    Update: I've been doing some research on commits to the kernel and sadly it seems rtl8822bu and USB support is still not there (although there seems to be commits that mention preparation for it) - guess we will still have to be patient.


    kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git - Linux kernel source tree