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

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 2 May 2019 at 03:04 AM EDT. 17 Comments
Newer Realtek WiFi chipsets are about to see better hardware support under Linux thanks to Realtek contributing the new "RTW88" driver to the mainline Linux 5.2 kernel.

RTW88 is a new 802.11ac WiFi driver that initially supports the RTL8822BE and RTL8822CE chipsets while they are working to extend it to more hardware including the likes of the RTL8821C and RTL8814B chipsets. This new Realtek open-source WiFi Linux driver only supports the PCI-based chips for now while USB and SDIO chips will be added as well moving forward. Standard STA/AP/ADHOC modes should be working along with other functionality.

This new Realtek WLAN Linux driver comes in at 47,514 lines of code, which does include some large generated tables and header files.

The RTW88 driver appears to be in good enough shape for the upcoming Linux 5.2 kernel that Greg Kroah-Hartman has already removed the "RTLWIFI" driver from the Linux kernel's staging area. So RTW88 is the successor to the long-in-standing RTLWIFI driver. Nuking the RTLWIFI driver code lightened up the staging area by 123,321 lines.

This new RTW88 driver for Linux 5.2 adds to the other big changes expected for this next kernel release that will premiere as stable around July but its merge window should kick off next week, assuming Linux 5.1 successfully ships this weekend.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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