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Old 01-08-2008, 02:05 AM   #1
Grub3r
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Help understanding wireless set up with bcm43xx on Fedora 8


Hi there everybody,

I have recently installed Fedora 8 on a laptop(hp 6715b) with a Broadcom bcm4312 (rev 02) wireless card.

I'm trying to get the wireless working with at least WPA. I have used much time on finding the answer on the net, finding many threads on how to do that but everybody talkes about different ways of doing it.

I want to simply try to understand(and of course, if I do so, to set up the wireless the way it should be) the ways of wireless and how it could be set up.


What is the best way of installing the card itself? And here are my thoughts:

If there native support for this card in Fedora 8 OOTB, how do I check to know and how to configure it...

Should I use ndiswrapper with drivers from xp/2k/vista? How to proceed?

What is b43-fwcutter for a thing? "Firmware extraction tool for Broadcom wireless driver" Can it be used to set up the wireless card? How to do that?


So, when the card is up and running: How to go wireless with WPA:
Should one use NetworkManager and dispatcher? Why? How?

There's something called wpa_supplicant, how to configure it to be able to go wireless? What's the connection between ifcfg-wlan0 and wpa_supplicant...


It's about it, I ask myself many questions but where are the answers?!(There are many but what should I choose and how do I proceed?)

The point of this thread is to mainly set up wireless on that machine and to discuss the ways of doing it. I find myself lost at sea when I think about Wifi.

Please do not aswer with: "Turn on Network Manager and you should be online", but the constructive answers with why YOU have chosen this method. How it's the best method and how to set it up using this method...

Been writing for some time now, time to talk...

-DB
 
Old 01-08-2008, 08:07 AM   #2
thedonkdonk
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Looks like there is no OOTB support for the bcm4312 card. You will want to install ndiswrapper. Also, for WPA it looks like wpa_supplicant is a good choice. Not sure why anyone would need b43-fwcutter. You can just use unzip on the driver installer .exe file. You are looking for the bcmwl5.sys and bcmwl5.inf files. If you need help installing and/or configuring these applications please post back here.
 
Old 01-08-2008, 08:32 AM   #3
Grub3r
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedonkdonk View Post
Looks like there is no OOTB support for the bcm4312 card. You will want to install ndiswrapper. Also, for WPA it looks like wpa_supplicant is a good choice. Not sure why anyone would need b43-fwcutter. You can just use unzip on the driver installer .exe file. You are looking for the bcmwl5.sys and bcmwl5.inf files. If you need help installing and/or configuring these applications please post back here.
Ok, thanks.

Will be checking these.

'll post back with the results.

Tanks again.
 
Old 01-31-2008, 03:06 PM   #4
frndrfoe
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I was able to setup the bcm4306 on my rhel 5 laptop and I wrote a little howto that may help you.
http://pitmanweb.com/blog/index.php?...&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

Good luck
 
Old 01-31-2008, 04:31 PM   #5
bbfuller
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Hello Grub3r

There are actually two potential ways of controlling a broadcom 4312 card under Fedora 8.

One is the b43 driver and the other is ndiswrapper. Note that the more common bcx43xx driver is no longer included in Fedora 8 and the instructions relating to it will no longer work.

Confusingly the old bcm43xx-fwcutter is still included and although it appears to work, the files it outputs are not correct for the b43 driver.

If you run this command from a root command prompt:

Code:
/sbin/lsmod | grep b4
The output should show you that the b43 module and its associated parts is being loaded.

If that is so then download the broadcom-wl-4.80.53.0.tar.bz2 file from this page:

http://linuxwireless.org/en/users/Dr...devicefirmware

The page is the home page of the organisation that develops the driver in Fedora. Unfortunately, the page has changed to reflect an update in the driver and its cutter program that hasn't made it into Fedora yet, so the command for cutting the firmware should be:

Code:
b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware driver/wl_apsta.o
not that on the page.

When you have done that, the commands:

Code:
iwconfig
and

Code:
iwlist wlan0 scan
from a root command prompt should give sensible answers.

If you are running Gnome you should now have an icon in the notification area representing networks and left clicking on it should give a list of potential networks to connect to.

You "may" also need to go into the Network applet off the System - Administration menu. If your card connection has an entry on the "Devices" tab you should "Edit" it's properties and make sure it is not set to Activate on Boot. If your system is up to date in the last week or so there will be a further entry "Controlled by Network Manager", that should be selected.

Be aware that some people still can't get their cards connected to anything other than an unsecured network. It must be a network where the SSID is broadcast, at least the first time the connection is made.

If that doesn't work and you want to try ndiswrapper, you should blacklist the b43 and ssb modules in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.

Post back about that if you wish.

I've got a 4318 card that connects every time that way and a 4306 that connects about 1 time in 10 so you have an adventure ahead. I should say though that the 4306 won't connect with ndiswrapper either.

You will have more success if you can get your installation updated first. The NetworkManager software was quite flakey when F8 was released though it has improved in the last three months.

Personally, I use it because it's easier than ndiswrapper and when it works, it works well.

Last edited by bbfuller; 01-31-2008 at 04:54 PM.
 
Old 02-20-2008, 01:07 PM   #6
toosh
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Question

I'm having somewhat similar issues on my fedora 7 system. In this instance I've added a Linksys WMP54GS card to my system. I looked around and found posts that seemed to indicate this is a Broadcom 43XX card. Now I blindly went and started down the ndiswrapper route and was stuck at the point when I tried to modeprobe the ndsiwrapper, I kept getting some invalid module error. But then I noticed that I had the b43 module already loeaded. currently able to do a scan and see the ap I want to connect to. I can use iwconfig to add the necessary mac, channel, key, and essid info, but I don't understand how to actually get the wlan0 to try to connect. Upon booting the last entry as shown by dmesg is (ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP)wlan0: link is not ready. Additionally when I reboot the system all the iwconfig information I had previously entered is gone. Also the network is using a WEP.

Can anyone point me in the right direction here? Has my partial installation of the ndsiwrapper mangled things?
 
Old 02-20-2008, 05:14 PM   #7
bbfuller
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Hello toosh

I think we need to be clear here what we are talking about.

If you use the command:

Code:
/sbin/lsmod |grep b
from a terminal, does it indicate you are loading b43 as a driver or bcm43xx.

I can't remember which fedora 7 was using when I had my wireless running under it and I therefore can't be sure if it has updated since then. Remember that four months is ancient history in a fast moving distribution like Fedora.

What I do remember from that time is that whichever of the 'b' series of drivers was included at that time just wouldn't work with my broadcom 4318.

Although it always looked as if it should work it would never actually connect and I went the ndiswrapper route very satisfactorily.

I think you may consider two choices here.

Either update to Fedora 8 which has much better support (although not perfect) for Broadcom cards.

Or continue to go with ndiswrapper.

I think one of the determining features is what chipset is in your card:

Code:
/sbin/lspci
may tell us more about that.

Another factor is going to be what sort of encryption you have on your access point.

Post that information back and we'll think again.
 
Old 02-20-2008, 06:03 PM   #8
jschiwal
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If you are going to use the b43 or bcm43xx driver, you might want to uninstall ndiswrapper. That will prevent a conflict if both have been installed. This will probably be easier to do then adding a blacklist entry in /etc/modprobe.conf.

Look in /usr/share/doc/b43-<version> or /usr/share/doc/bcm43xx-<version>. When you install a package, there is usually a README file. It should provide instructions to get you started. They may even have url's to download drivers and/or provide an md5sum of the driver file known to work.
 
Old 02-25-2008, 01:13 AM   #9
toosh
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Ok, I've made some sort of progress but am stuck.

Since my last post I have removed b43 and ssb caue I saw somewhere the ssb was part of the b43 deal. I also corrected an error that I failed to mention, that is I was trying to use 32 bit windows drivers with ndiswrapper. I have 64 bit system so I found some drivers for that and installed them with ndiswrapper. I feel I'm on the right track here since now I have wlan0 showing up in my gui network configuration as well as iwconfig.

I did do an lspci to make sure I was trying to use the correct drivers, I have BCM4306 chip so I've got the right hardware drivers.

I'm stuck now cause I can't associate with the AP. I can iwlist wlan0 scan and see the AP but beyond setting the key I can't get my essid or ap address to hold when using iwconfig wlan0 essid <my essid> or iwconfig wlan0 ap <my ap address>. I've been reading up on troubleshooting solutions on the ndiswrapper sourceforge page as well as an HP page for wireless tools for linux, http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Jean_...nux/Tools.html

Does anyone have suggestions at this point?

Thanks for the earlier feedback and any further comments.
 
Old 02-25-2008, 04:15 AM   #10
bbfuller
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Hello toosh

You don't say what level of encryption you are using - if any.

However, if you are using up to and including WEP there is the opportunity to enter all the connection information in the "Network Configuration" GUI. Highlight card, click "Edit". What happens if you do that?

I'm struggling to remember just how things were set up in Fedora 7 but I think there were still two basic ways of controlling a wireless card, the Network Configuration you are using and something called NetworkManager. In 8 at least they conflict with each other.

If you are content to only go as far as WEP it may be worth opening:

Code:
system-config-services
and disabling NetworkManager to see if it makes any difference.
 
Old 02-25-2008, 03:38 PM   #11
toosh
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I did try entering the configuration data via the gui configuration tool, when I tried to make active wlan0 it would just return error saying it couldn't establish the link and to "check cable?".

I'm only using WEP and its a 10 digit number for the key.

I'm at work right now but I'll try to disable NetworkManager when I get home and see if that helps.

Thanks for the continued suggestions...
 
Old 02-26-2008, 12:49 AM   #12
toosh
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OK, the error I get when trying to use the GUI Network Configuration is:
Code:
Error for wireless request "Set Encode" (8B2A)
SET failed on device wlan0; invalid argument
I've turned off NetworkManager and nothing has changed. I think my next step is to turn off WEP and try that way.
 
Old 02-26-2008, 02:59 AM   #13
bbfuller
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Hello toosh

Certainly try with the encryption turned off, that's recommended practice. Do remember though that in Fedora, when you enter a WEP encryption key in the window that is a child window of the one that starts from 'System Menu - Administration - Network', that you have to enter 0x in front of the hex numbers.

That's a zero and a lower case x

There are two other things that you might like to consider.

First, the NetworkManager software that you have disabled is the preferred method of connecting wireless cards in Fedora. It makes the inputing of keys so much easier.

Second Fedora is always work in progress and if you haven't done so I would recommend getting a wired connection to your laptop to get all the latest software updates.

While we are talking about that I have a broadcom 4306 based card here, I'd never had any luck with it and the b43 drivers though I had just managed to get it to work without encryption under ndiswrapper the last time I tried. I didn't have a WEP access point to try it on so I can't say how it fared there, it wouldn't do WPA.

I noticed there was an update to various b43 bits with the last fedora kernel and so I put it into a machine with a new, updated, fedora installation and as soon as I had cut the firmware it worked perfectly on WPA encryption. Might be worth considering,

Last edited by bbfuller; 02-26-2008 at 03:09 AM.
 
Old 02-26-2008, 09:17 PM   #14
toosh
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Ok, turning off WEP did the trick. So now I guess I'll just live with an open AP...
 
Old 02-27-2008, 03:48 AM   #15
bbfuller
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Hello toosh.

I suppose how you feel about lack of encryption will depend on how urban your neighbourhood is. I certainly wouldn't be happy running my wireless without security.

That said all wireless security can be broken and it is a matter of making it difficult enough to encourage the person trying to take advantage to go elsewhere.

You should have in your access point the ability to restrict is to accepting connections from only certain equipment based on MAC addresses and that might be worth activating.

That said, if you look on the following page:

http://ndiswrapper.sourceforge.net/j...3/id,list_g-l/

and do a search for WMP54GS you will find that your card is probably the broadcom 4306.

I've got one of those working quite happily with the b43 driver just recently and if you want to talk about doing that post back.

You probably don't even want to think about it at present, but that would involve you replacing your Fedora 7 with 8!

Last edited by bbfuller; 02-27-2008 at 03:50 AM.
 
  


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