Dell XPS 15 9500 WiFi on Ubuntu 20.04

I just got a new Dell XPS 9500 with Killer Wi-fi 6 AX500-DBS (2x2) that is not supported by currently available kernels. The device ID for the WiFi is 17cb:1101.

sudo lspci -nn | grep Qualcomm
6c:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Qualcomm Device [17cb:1101] (rev 01)

Luckily I found out here https://lkml.org/lkml/2020/9/14/964 that the driver for the WiFi is being developed and possibly included in the kernel later this year in version 5.10.

I was able to get the WiFi working for my Dell XPS 15 9500 with the help of the message in the above link by Kalle Valo in the Linux Kernel Mailing List and I explain here how to do it until it is included in the Linux kernel. Since the driver is still under development there might still be issues with it.

You will have to build the kernel yourself and install the firmware.

  1. First install the dependencies needed:
# For cloning the code kernel and code repositories
sudo apt install git

2. Then clone needed repositories:

# Clone kernel source code with latest changes for the driver
git clone -b ath11k-qca6390-bringup https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/kvalo/ath.git

3. Install the firmware

# Copy the firmware to the right directory
cd ath11k-firmware
sudo mkdir -p /lib/firmware/ath11k/QCA6390/hw2.0/
sudo cp QCA6390/hw2.0/WLAN.HST.1.0.1–01740-QCAHSTSWPLZ_V2_TO_X86–1/*.bin /lib/firmware/ath11k/QCA6390/hw2.0/
sudo cp QCA6390/hw2.0/WLAN.HST.1.0.1–01740-QCAHSTSWPLZ_V2_TO_X86–1/bdwlan.e04 /lib/firmware/ath11k/QCA6390/hw2.0/board.bin

4. Select in kernel config support for the device

cd ../ath
make menuconfig
Navigate the kernel configuration menu as in the screenshots and make the selections as in the highlighted green area.

5. Build and install the kernel

# Build the kernel
sudo make -j $(nproc)

6. Restart and make sure you are running the new kernel

# After restart
uname -a
Linux xps 5.9.0-rc5-wt-ath+ #1 SMP Wed Oct 7 22:21:06 EEST 2020 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

After these steps I’m able to connect to an access point and the connection seems to be fine for normal use. There is still some issue with the wifi not working after suspend but I can live with that until the proper driver is included in the kernel.

P.S. Thanks to all Linux kernel developers who makes it possible to run Linux on new hardware

Machine Learning Partner at Fourkind