Wifi Drivers for TrueNAS Scale

Hello, I just installed TrueNAS Scale for the first time. I am trying to install wifi drivers and found this forum post with instruction for installing wifi drivers on Debian

I added contrib non-free-firmware to each line in /etc/apt/sources.list

Then i tried running sudo apt update && sudo apt reinstall firmware-iwlwifi, but I got the following error

“Attempting to update SCALE with apt or methods other than the SCALE web
interface can result in a nonfunctional system.”

What is the right way to install wifi drivers?

Motherboard Info

In my opinion i.e. this is a personal view not an official position…

  1. There can be no “right way” to install wifi drivers on TrueNAS SCALE - because:

    a. TrueNAS is an appliance and (even though it happens to be based on Debian) users are not supposed to add functionality except through Apps (Kubernetes, Docker, and perhaps now Jails). This is why use of APT is blocked even under root.

    b. It is a deliberate decision by ixSystems not to support wifi connectivity - and given how easy it would be to provide this functionality, I can only assume that there are sound technical reasons that they made this decision.

    So doing this will place you massively outside the SUPPORTED environment - and that is why there can be no “right way” of doing this.

  2. That said, if you are prepared to put yourself way, way outside a SUPPORTED environment, then there might be technical ways to install these drivers and to configure wifi to connect to your network using the CLI.

My advice would be not only to ask how to install drivers (as you have already done) to also to solicit views on what technical issues you might later face if you do this.

As a starter, here is my guess about possible technical consequences:

  • (Unlikely) You will break the system completely.
  • (Likely) The networking parts of the GUI will not recognise the network configuration - partly because you will have to configure it using the CLI and partly because it has no understanding of wifi.
  • (Unlikely but Possible) Some other parts of the TrueNAS code will not recognise the wifi network and will not work.
  • (Reasonably likely) You will lose connectivity every time you upgrade TrueNAS
  • (No idea) You will experience data corruption due to dropped packets (e.g. when other wifi nodes transmit at the same time)
  • (Possible) You will experience very variable performance due to multiple wifi users - and this may become quite likely if you have lower speed wifi and you are talking to the NAS from another device on the same wifi access point.
1 Like

What’s the use case to have Wi-Fi on the NAS? If you already have Wi-Fi (from the box provided by your ISP), putting the NAS in the LAN will make it available by Wi-Fi.

If you do not have a Wi-Fi box, the proper solution is to get an Access Point device (Ruckus, Netgear) and wire it to the NAS.

Maybe this helps?

Not sure why you’d want wifi on a NAS though.

i just came from a qnap qts system. they had a qwa wireless addon card i was using before which worked with their native app ap station. this let me setup a wifi ap on the nas. this way i could have a faster wifi connection, because my other ap is located elsewhere and so has a worse signal. thats my case use and why i myself might want to somehow get this to work but with truenas.

but considering the difficulty to do this, might just be better off getting a mesh ap and put them in different areas (wired backhaul ideally. if not possible then wireless backhaul) e.g. deco mesh or something else wifi 6e or 7, then call it a day.

so like others mentioned TS, maybe have rethink about this :sweat_smile: cauz i certainly did.

Actually the last comments prompted me to think wider and there are going to be lots of solutions which do NOT involve trying to install wifi on your NAS:

  1. Consider locating your NAS next to your router so that you can wire it in.

  2. Use a pair of Powerline adapters to give you a wired connection to your router over your mains cables.

  3. Many wifi extenders have an ethernet port on the bottom so that you can connect equipment - these are probably cheap enough to buy and see if it works and what the performance is like without worrying about the cost if it turns out to be unsuitable.

Obviously it all depends on what your existing LAN / wifi infrastructure looks like.

Note: The Developer Mode documentation says that it doesn’t survive version upgrades, so you would likely need to reinstall and reconfigure the drivers after every upgrade (and you won’t have a network to achieve it remotely either).

There isn’t one, and there’s no legitimate reason to have WiFi on the NAS. Yes, it can be done (developer mode would be the way), but it shouldn’t.

Install a VM and pass the WiFi nic in. Perhaps a
Router OS.

As a side note (because I just got a ticket at work asking for me to configure it) this also means the wpa_supplicant is completely unavailable, so Ethernet 802.1x authentication is not possible for networks that use it.

Gonna have to let a poor guy down and likely convince him his use case of “testing hard drives” may be better suited by something other than a NAS appliance. :sweat_smile: