WIFI problems with 4.14.20-ti-r36

I’m updating my images to new kernels and such and have run into a problem on the SanCloud BeagleBone Enhanced.

Basically, in the recent kernel images, several of the wifi and other modules are built into the kernel and thus loaded and initialized at boot. However, the firmware that they require are not added to the initialrd. Thus, wlan0 is never created.

I’ve worked around that issue by adding the firmware to the initrd. That creates the wlan0 device. But I cannot get wlan0 to connect to anything. I can list all the services in connmanctl, but any attempt to connect fails. Everything times out. “authentication with 78:8a:20:24:54:83 timed out”

Can I ask why the modules were built into the kernel? With them in the kernel I cannot even use the normal modprobe.d stuff to blacklist them and use the realtek drivers.