Wireless Driver and HW Configuration Questions

I have a Purism laptop whose native wireless radio and drivers are limited to 802.11n because FOSS drivers are available unlike, say, 802.11ac or 802.11ax drivers which are only available as proprietary blobs from chip vendors.

I’ve opted to allow non-Free drivers in my recent installation of NixOS 23.05 and plan on using a USB 3.0 802.11ac wireless adapter that uses a RealTek chip/driver.

Have the following questions:

Q1: When I did my install of NixOS 23.05 my hardware was scanned and the hardware-configuration.nix file was generated automatically. Is it possible after installation to somehow re-run NixOS’s scan utility with my new USB 3.0 wireless adapter plugged in and have NixOS detect the new adapter and generate a NEW or UPDATED hardware-configuration.nix file?

Q2: If not, what are my NixOS options for locating/obtaining/installing the necessary driver from either the Nix Package repo or have procured and available locally?

Q3: Docs and tutorials I’ve explored so far seem to indicate I can configure hardware options like networking and wireless in either my hardware-configuration.nix file or my configuration.nix file. If one of the primary virtues of NixOS is one configuration file to rule them all, why wouldn’t I put all my laptop’s hardware-specific configuration into configuration.nix as well?

Yes, you can rerun the scan and regenerate the hardware-configuration.nix anytime. If I recall correctly, you even can control the file destination with a cli flag.

There is no magic to hardware-configuration.nix except that it is replaced when re-running the scan. It is a convenience to make the boot config work with minimal human intervention.

I have removed mine after reviewing and moving its contents. I prefer to manage the contents more abstractly. Occasionally I will re-run the scan for new hardware, and then pick out the bits relevant to the new hardware.