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Old 07-25-2010, 09:55 AM   #1
enine
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Slackware 13.1 and broadcom wifi


I've installed 13.1 on a laptop with a Broadcom 4311 wifi card. I grabbed the slackbuild http://slackbuilds.org/repository/13.../broadcom-sta/ for it and it loads but when I assign an essid it never associates with my AP. I have a couple other slack systems and disabled all the advanced stuff on the AP so all I need to do with the others is assign the ssid and they associate and work fine but for some reason this broadcom doesn't.
Anyone else have one, its in a Dell Latitude D620
 
Old 07-25-2010, 11:14 AM   #2
Drakeo
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you will need the b43 for your computer. firmware and cutter please read the "read me" so you can install properly.
http://slackbuilds.org/result/?search=broadcom&sv=13.1
if you have a problem just email me I will send you a tar ball and you just un-tar it in /lib/firmware all done.
Quote:
b43 is a native linux driver included in the kernel which is the proper way to support the bcm chips.
these chips, however, do not have any firmware on-board. they rely on the firmware being loaded by the driver at boot time. since the firmware is not open source, it cannot be distributed with the linux kernel with the rest of the b43 driver.
the STA is a hit and miss on many machines hang in there.

Last edited by Drakeo; 07-25-2010 at 11:43 AM.
 
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Old 07-25-2010, 01:46 PM   #3
2Gnu
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I just fought the same battle with a D820 and a BCM4312. I'd been using a D800 with an older Broadcom chip and NDISwrapper. The STA driver built and installed fine; it even connected ... once. I tried everything but standing on my head and could never get it to work properly again. I was careful to blacklist incompatible modules, the whole bit. Nada. The b43 driver is working fine, although throughput is a little slow.

As Drakeo suggested, I think b43 is your best bet.
 
Old 07-25-2010, 05:36 PM   #4
enine
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Ok, I was thinking since it was already working under windows the firmware was loaded when I was reading the readme. I was assuming like normal firmware, you flash it once and its always there.
 
Old 07-25-2010, 07:12 PM   #5
2Gnu
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It's not firmware in the sense that it's loaded into some flash memory on the wireless card, like you'd flash the firmware in a router. Rather, the current wireless cards are software controlled. They need that code to be loaded on each boot in order to run. It's cheaper than the old days when firmware was actually flashed onto the wireless cards and you don't need a special utility for flashing. Just push a new driver with the updated code.

Making the code completely accessible would allow people to fiddle with the radio function, possibly causing it to operate out of band and thereby disrupting other spectrum users. For that reason and to protect their intellectual property, manufacturers keep some of the code protected and in binary format ... even when there's an open source driver. This binary blob or firmware is needed to make the card work.

For the b43 driver and its predecessor, bcm43xx, part of the installation process is extracting that "firmware" from the Windows driver using a tool called a firmware cutter or simply downloading the extracted blob from somewhere on the web. That firmware must then be placed in a directory where the driver expects to find it - usually, /lib/firmware.

Proprietary drivers normally have the "secret code" rolled up into the driver, so there's no two-step process.

Sorry for the off-topic ramble about the "why" part, but to sum it up you still need firmware with the b43.
 
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:52 PM   #6
enine
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I'm temped to just buy another atheros card and stick in it
 
Old 07-26-2010, 10:01 AM   #7
Drakeo
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it is pretty simple you extract the firmware to /lib/firmware/ if you used sbopkg browser for Slackware you would just choose the programs they build and install for you with a click of a mouse.
 
Old 07-26-2010, 04:36 PM   #8
sljunkie
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On 12.2 and 13.0 I would manually build and install the driver and kernel module. However, since 13.1 the b43 driver is compatible with my BCM4312 card, and I just used the scripts from slackbuilds.org. You must install b43-firmware and b43-fwcutter instead of the broadcom-sta package.

Last edited by sljunkie; 07-26-2010 at 04:40 PM.
 
Old 07-26-2010, 07:07 PM   #9
dlee99
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I am running Slackware64-current on an Acer5024wlmi notebook with a BCM4312 wlan and extracted the firmware files from a Debian package years ago and put it in /lib/firmware/b43/

Works flawlessly in conjunction with wicd
 
Old 07-27-2010, 09:34 PM   #10
enine
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Got it working, I'm not exactly sure how, I installed wicd and the broadcom-firmware and broadcom-cutter and just ran wicd and it didn't say anything (and wicd --help didn't really list any options that looked useful) so I modprobed wl and iwconfig wlan0 essid "<my ssid>" and noticed it shows associated to my AP now. I'm guessing when the wl module loads it calls the rest?

Thanks for the help

FWIW Slack is nice on this box, I had a 2003 laptop until last year and replaced it with a $300 netbook last summer then my wife wanted a netbook too and hadn't used this laptop since then. I listed it on criagslist a couple times but no one wanted to give me anything for it and I'm starting to run more virtual machines and my netbook just doesn't have quite the power for it. I upgraded both out netbooks from 1G to 2G ram early this year and found the two 1G dimms work in this laptop so its running 2G now. I just need to get a bigger hdd for it. But compared to both the old laptop and netbook this is pretty fast.
 
Old 07-28-2010, 08:21 AM   #11
Hangdog42
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Quote:
Got it working, I'm not exactly sure how, I installed wicd and the broadcom-firmware and broadcom-cutter and just ran wicd and it didn't say anything (and wicd --help didn't really list any options that looked useful) so I modprobed wl and iwconfig wlan0 essid "<my ssid>" and noticed it shows associated to my AP now. I'm guessing when the wl module loads it calls the rest?
I'm glad its working, but something doesn't add up here. The wl driver does NOT need external firmware, so maybe wl wasn't loading in the first place? You might want to check your lsmod output and see how many Broadcom wireless drivers you have loading. It could be conflicting drivers.
 
Old 07-29-2010, 09:37 AM   #12
enine
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I know wl loaded the first time at least since I did a modprobe wl after I installed the package. I rebooted and didn't have to do anything it just works now, so aparently wl calls the firmware utility itsself automatically.
 
Old 07-29-2010, 12:50 PM   #13
Hangdog42
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Quote:
so aparently wl calls the firmware utility itsself automatically.
Well, wl has the firmware built in already. None of the b43 stuff should have made any difference whatsoever. Since it is working, I sure wouldn't worry about it, it is just very strange and I strongly suspect that installing the firmware and fwcutter didn't actually do anything.
 
Old 07-29-2010, 08:32 PM   #14
enine
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except it wouldn't work until I installed those. OK, one of those is loading automatically

bash-4.1# lsmod | grep b3*
Module Size Used by
vboxnetadp 6242 0
vboxnetflt 14917 0
vboxdrv 152992 2 vboxnetadp,vboxnetflt
speedstep_lib 2683 0
freq_table 2027 2 cpufreq_ondemand,acpi_cpufreq
b43 162121 0
mac80211 153050 1 b43
cfg80211 109656 2 b43,mac80211
lib80211 3282 1 wl

so whichever of the two makes b43 fixed it, I just didn't have to do anything as the b43 loaded for me.
 
  


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