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Broadcom b43/b43legacy Wireless Support in Fedora

by jon last modified Mar 13, 2009 12:20 PM
Contributors: Sonar_Guy
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A Linux driver for the Broadcom b43 wireless chips. Broadcom never released details about these chips so this driver is based upon reverse engineered specifications.

Requirements

  1. Check to see if your device is supported by the Broadcom Linux STA Driver
  2. Read our Getting Started with Wireless Guide.
  3. Supported Broadcom hardware. (See this page to see if your device is supported.)
  4. Fedora 8+ - kernel 2.6.23.15+ with b43-fwcutter 011+
    Note: This might still work in Fedora 7 with a proper kernel.
  5. Existing connection to the Internet. For example, wired internet.
  6. You must have an updated system:
    1. Open a terminal
    2. Run a yum update:

    3. su -c 'yum update'

Doing the Work

  1. Open a terminal .
  2. Install the b43-fwcutter packages:
  3. su -c 'yum install b43-fwcutter'
  4. Check what firmware your card needs:
    dmesg|grep b43
    

    You will see something like the following with hints on what firmware you need to use:

    b43-phy0 ERROR: Firmware file "b43/ucode5.fw" no found or load failed.
    b43-phy0 ERROR: You must go to http://linuxwireless.org/en/users/Drivers/b43#devicefirmware and download the latest firmware (version 4).
  5. Download the correct firmware for your device from here or select the correct firmware from the following links:

    For b43, download this firmware version 4 and untar it:

    For b43legacy,  download Version 3 firmware:

  6. Extract the firmware:

    For b43:
    su -l -c 'b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware /path/to/broadcom-wl-4.150.10.5/driver/wl_apsta_mimo.o'
    

    For b43legacy:

    su -l -c 'b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware /path/to/wl_apsta-3.130.20.0.o'
    

    For bcm43xx:

    bcm43xx support is outside the scope of this howto. Please read the linux wireless howto for bcm43xx support.

  7. Optional: Enable NetworkManager for managing this device (very recommended!)
  8. Alias the correct module to your wlan0 device:

    For b43:
    su -c 'echo "alias wlan0 b43" >> /etc/modprobe.conf'
    

    For b43legacy:

    su -c 'echo "alias wlan0 b43legacy" >> /etc/modprobe.conf'
    
  9. With some devices, system-config-network will need to be run:
    su -l -c 'system-config-network'
    Select: New → Wireless → Broadcom Device (should be wlan0)
    Then: Select options suitable for your network configuration. We recommend using NetworkManager and setting the device to not start on boot.
  10. Now, reload the driver:

    For b43:
    su -l -c 'rmmod b43 && modprobe b43'
    For b43legacy:
    su -l -c 'rmmod b43legacy && modprobe b43legacy'
  11. If the reload fails to get your device working correctly, just reboot:
    su -c 'reboot'

Troubleshooting

How to test

Open a terminal.

Ping yahoo: (or any host)
ping yahoo.com

Results similar to the ones below should be displayed:

PING yahoo.com (216.109.112.135) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from w2.rc.vip.dcn.yahoo.com (216.109.112.135): icmp_seq=0 ttl=53 time=274 ms
[...]

Common problems and fixes

Check irc.freenode.net #bcm-users for any issues experienced with this driver.

More Information

Disclaimer

We test this stuff on our own machines, really we do. But you may run into problems, if you do, come to #fedora on irc.freenode.net

Added Reading

Document Actions

Issues between b43-fwcutter and bcm43xx-fwcutter

Posted by avillarrealpouw at Dec 14, 2007 09:07 PM
I followed the above instructions exactly but they did not work (I use Fedora 7 with 2.6.23.8-34.fc7 kernel and a Broadcom Corporation BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller (rev 03)).

According to these instructions I saw (with lsmod) that I have the b43 module and should have used the b43-fwcutter.

Instead, after several failures, I used the bcm43xx-fwcutter and it worked like a charm.

The difference is that the b43-fwcutter creates a folder called b43 and puts some drivers in it, while bcm43xx-fwcutter creates some files called bcm43xx-* directly in /lib/firmware. My installation requires the latter.

If you are having the same problem as I had, you can see the kernel log (/var/log/messages) and find that when you try to activate your WiFi (with "ifconfig wlan0 up", for example) a message appears like the following:
 

     firmware_helper[3548]: Loading of /lib/firmware/bcm43xx_microcode5.fw for b43 driver failed: No such file or directory
      kernel: b43-phy0 ERROR: Microcode "bcm43xx_microcode5.fw" not available or load failed.


Finally, you should remove the files that either fwcutter creates between tests, or you might get additional strange error messages.

HP NX9105 & BCM4306

Posted by picnet at Jan 01, 2008 06:02 PM
Ive tried variations on the above instructions with quite a few head scratching moments, the bcm4306 you would think is the 43xx? nope its a b43 so basically for the NX9105, the b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware wl-apsta.o seems to work. the modprobe.conf has the 'alias wlan0 b43'

Thanks!

Posted by garbawnzo at Mar 20, 2008 12:31 AM
This seems to be the only way to get the 4311 card working on my dell inspiron 1720. i've used this method several times and it works like a charm! thanks!

Thanks for this howto

Posted by sophosrex at Jul 02, 2008 12:40 PM
Thanks to whoever wrote this. After much googling this howto worked like a charm on my dell 300M with b43legacy wireless nic

Thanks again

Thanks for this howto

Posted by arielrobaldo at Feb 24, 2009 10:17 PM
Thank you folks.
I've put my HP Compaq nx6110 laptop to work in just five minutes with this info.
It has a Broadcom BCM 4306.
Cheers!!

Wireless stopped working

Posted by jm at Jul 05, 2008 06:27 PM
I have a Linksys wireless card with the broadcom 4306 chipset and I'm running Fedora 8. I used the procedure on this page to get the card working about 5 months ago and it's worked flawlessly until a few days ago, but I can no longer connect to my network. dmesg gives me a message saying that I'm using old firmware and must go to http://linuxwireless.org/[…]/b43#devicefirmware and download the latest firmware (version 4). I did this and it still doesn't work. I then followed the procedure on this page, because this page has a more recent version of the firmware, (broadcom-wl-4.150.10.5 as opposed to broadcom-wl-4.80.53.0) but still no joy.

Not sure what the problem is because my card appears to be working, it can see the network in the Wireless Assistent, but it will not connect to it.

Has anyone else had this problem? Could it be a recent Fedora update that has caused the problem and how can I remove the latest updates to check this? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

John

firmware path

Posted by buddydc1 at Mar 25, 2009 03:06 PM
The driver is looking for the firmware in the b43legacy directory, so extracting the firmware should look like this...

su -l -c 'b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware/b43legacy /path/to/wl_apsta-3.130.20.0.o'

Unfortunately, even though I got past those errors, mine still does not work. It's possible my hardware is broken, this is an old laptop converted from Windows.

Excellent "howto"

Posted by buxelbow at Jun 01, 2010 10:41 PM
I struggled for days trying to get my Linksys wireless card (WPC54G-2) working with Fedora12. It was my last hurdle.

After failing with the "Ndiswrapper" solution, following the above had my connection up and running in 15 minutes using the legacy b43-fwcutter method (BCM4306/2). Great work!

Excellent "howto"

Posted by jared_key at Jul 12, 2011 09:34 PM
I have to post this cause I am so excited. OK- so after spending hours trying to get my card working (found out it had broadcom chip) I finally gave up on it and just bought a new one. It worked first time. I had another similar issue and bought something else a few days later from the same company. Again awesome. It worked first time again. So... now I just have to say this. if you need something go to http://www.thinkpenguin.com/ cause they know what they are doing. Also support was awesome. I got someone on the phone a little before 5AM! I really wasn't expecting that.
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