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Old 05-03-2006, 10:05 AM   #1
Registered: Apr 2006
Posts: 78

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Talking Does Linux bcm43xx and newer b43 for Broadcom wireless cards work on a HP ze4805us?

Note: The information below this paragraph may not apply to those who have moved to Fedora 7 and 8. Beginning with Fedora 7 the developers slipped in a new driver - "b43" supplanting the bcm43xx. I confess to abandoning my effort to get my Broadcom 4306 working with the b43 and relied on my Clevo for access to the net until Fedora 8 was available. After installing Fedora 8, I visited this link found in another post: (sorry, did not make a note of where I found this...). Only after installing the wrong firmware (revealed by "dmesg") was I able to get my card up using the b43legacy version. Follow the instructions at this link and you should succeed at getting your Broadcom card to work. Good luck.

For those of you still using pre-Fedora 7, what follows still applies. Due to the age of this thread, you may have to do a little extra work.

Some of the links are broken in this thread, so you will have to do some searching on the internet to find the files mentioned below.

The above comments were added mid-June, 07 and on November 14, 07.

Just when you thought you were ready to deal with ndiswrapper, the new Linux bcm43xx driver for Broadcom wireless cards appears. Fortunately, I have already determined the driver works with the card in the HP ze4805us laptop. Module bcm43xx.ko is included with the 2.6.16 and newer kernel versions for Fedora Core 5.

Before I go any further, make sure "mc" (Midnight Commander) is installed. Check by typing "mc" at a terminal prompt. It should open, or you will get a message saying no such file... For some unknown reason mc is not included in an install unless you specifically select it for installation. Most Linux flavors include mc on the installation discs, so you may want to search them before downloading from the internet. This nifty file manager is packed with features to simplify common tasks and is fast! If you learn to use it, it will become your "most used tool". Try using it to do everything mentioned below. Want to install or update a .rpm package? Just highlight the "rpm" file, hit enter and choose from the options. Want to unzip a bz2 file? Hit F2, move the cursor to "extract the contents of a compressed tar file" and hit "enter". Want to copy or move a file between directories? Move to the "left" or "right" side using your "indent" key. Locate the directory where the file you want to move or copy is located. Move to the opposite side your cursor is on using the "indent" key. Locate the directory you want to copy or move the file to. Select the appropriate action from the options offered along the bottom of the "mc" frame. "6RenMove" means press "F6". A window will open and at this point you may rename the file or move it as is. You can move, or delete groups of files. When your media players and plugins are properly installed you can even open videos and sound files by simply highlighting the file and hitting "enter". Once you get the hang of your options in "Midnight Commander", you will enjoy using this program!

Download the files mentioned below thru Windows XP, or if necessary and they allow it by using a USB flash drive at your local library. You will need the latest kernel and kernel development; ; bcm43xx-fwcutter-004.tar.bz2 (enter search word "bcm43") and latest windows XP bcmwl5 driver pack "sp28537.exe" or whatever it may be called at the present time from You may also want to download "Wine" and "wine development" Install your "sp28537.exe" file in Windows XP or with "wine" in Fedora. The extracted files will be found in "/drive_c (or whatever mount point you use for Drive C:/)/SWsetup/sp28537a". If you are a a new Linux user, it may be easier to do the .exe file under XP. If you have MS Windows, you may create a separate directory on a USB drive and copy all of the files extracted after executing the "sp28537.exe" file onto the USB drive. Create "/lib/firmware/" if it does not already exist. Next, copy the files from the USB drive into Linux "/lib/firmware/". Once inside Fedora, copy bcm43xx-fwcutter-004.tar.bz2 to /usr/src/redhat/SOURCES/ and using "Midnight Commander" decompress the file. Read the "README" instructions in the "top directory" and follow them to the letter. You must have "wireless tools" installed, which was as a matter of course probably installed during your Fedora system installation. Just type "iwconfig" at a terminal prompt to see whether or not the package was installed during your Fedora Core installation. Once everything is done according to the "README" instructions "modprobe bcm43xx"; At the root terminal "prompt" type "lsmod|less" to make sure module bcm43xx has loaded. There will be some related modules that also load. Copy the file /usr/share/bcm43xx-fwcutter-004/modprobe.bcm43xx to /etc/modprobe.d so the module will load when you boot up. At a terminal root "prompt" type "iwconfig wlan0". If response is "no such device" do the following. (Do not try to use the "Network Device Control" program since it will not offer bcm43xx as an available device.)

Using Midnight Commander, locate and highlight /etc/modprobe.conf
Select F4 (edit). The following is what you should see:

alias snd-card-0 snd-ali5451
install snd-ali5451 /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install snd-ali5451 && /usr/sbin/alsactl restore >/dev/null 2>&1 || :
remove snd-ali5451 { /usr/sbin/alsactl store >/dev/null 2>&1 || : ; }; /sbin/modprobe -r --ignore-remove snd-ali5451
alias usb-controller ohci-hcd
alias wlan0 bcm43xx
alias eth0 natsemi

Note: I have found it easier sometimes to name your wireless device "eth1". So, you may want to substitute "eth1" for "wlan0".

The important thing is that "alias wlan0 (or eth1) bcm43xx" should be there. If it is not, then add the line to the file. Make certain there is a carriage return at the end of the file, then save it (F2) and exit (F10).

Locate /etc/sysconfig/networking/devices/ You should see a file called "ifcfg-wlan0 (or eth1)". If you do not. Hit "^o" (Control, small letter "o"). At the prompt enter "gedit ifcfg-wlan0" and hit enter. Copy the following into "gedit" (Except comments I have added next to each line - unless you want to keep them.)

# Please read /usr/share/doc/initscripts-*/sysconfig.txt
# for the documentation of these parameters.
ONBOOT=yes #(or no)
USERCTL=yes #(or no)
DEVICE=wlan0 #(or eth1)
HWADDR=00:90:4b:93:36:4e #(or other appropriate address for your card)
ESSID= #(enter the name of the ESSID if you know what it is)
CHANNEL=1 #(enter the channel if you know what it is, otherwise your card should scan all channels for the best signal)

Make sure there is a carriage return at the end of the file, save the file and exit "gedit".

NOTE: Added May 02, 06. At root prompt type:

"WIRELESS_MODE=Auto" <enter>
"ifcfg wlan0" <enter>
"ifup wlan0" <enter>

Note: Don't know why, but I have had to repeat "ifup wlan0" a second time before the card comes up...

Then type "iwlist scanning" to see if wlan0 is up and working. If it is not, you will get a message indicating wlan0 does not have that capability.

If wlan0 is up, depending upon how many nodes are nearby, you will get a message something akin to this:

[root@localhost@localdomain ~]# iwlist scanning <enter>

wlan0 Scan completed :
Cell 01 - Address: 00:12:17:6D:56:F7
Protocol:IEEE 802.11bg
Encryption keyn
Bit Rates:54 Mb/s
Extra: Rates (Mb/s): 1 2 5.5 6 9 11 12 18 24 36 48 54
Quality=100/100 Signal level=-73 dBm
Extra: Last beacon: 172ms ago

Cell 02 - Address: 00:11:50:12:AA:9F
ESSID:"Mod Coffeehouse"
Protocol:IEEE 802.11bg
Encryption keyff
Bit Rates:54 Mb/s
Extra: Rates (Mb/s): 1 2 5.5 6 9 11 12 18 24 36 48 54
Quality=100/100 Signal level=-53 dBm
Extra: Last beacon: 28ms ago

Cell 03 - Address: 00:0F:B5:A2:25:60
Protocol:IEEE 802.11bg
Encryption keyn
Bit Rates:54 Mb/s
Extra: Rates (Mb/s): 1 2 5.5 9 11 6 12 18 24 36 48 54
Quality=100/100 Signal level=-77 dBm
Extra: Last beacon: 360ms ago

If you get a message like this, Open your Browser. You should be on the net.

If you have WEP keys and such to deal with I don't. So, yer on yer own thar. Good Luck.


Last edited by svarmido; 11-14-2007 at 12:17 PM. Reason: Update
Old 05-05-2006, 10:45 AM   #2
Registered: Apr 2006
Posts: 78

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15

Does no feedback mean my thread is working for you without a hitch if you are using it to install the bcm43xx driver? If you have a non-HP computer, is this thread helping you anyway? I'd appreciate hearing about successes and problems related to the info. I've given.

Old 06-13-2006, 05:44 PM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: Oct 2004
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 28

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Instead of installing the fwcutter and all that, there is a package with the firmware already extracted.
It's made for Ubuntu but there is a tar.gz so you can just extract that.

BTW I haven't read you whole post since I'm looking for a solution to another problem I have with the bcm43xx driver. But I'm first going to update the kernel before I post anywhere.
Old 06-27-2006, 04:34 PM   #4
Registered: Apr 2006
Posts: 78

Original Poster
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My sense is that the nature of the firmware may vary with the version of the Windows driver you are using. Why else would each card require a different driver or version of the driver? Maybe your problem with the bcm43xx driver is with the firmware and not the driver supplied with the kernel?

Old 10-10-2006, 03:02 AM   #5
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Pennsylvainia
Distribution: Slackware / Debian / *Ubuntu / Opensuse / Solaris uname: Brian Cooney
Posts: 503

Rep: Reputation: 30
There are two reasons to cut your firmware:

the first is that your milage may vary depending on which card you use with which firmware

the second is that its probally grey area to distribute it, and having the user download it themselves and cut it somewhat decreases this liability

Also, this card works on slackware with both ndiswrapper and the native driver, but I have found that is is a "good thing" to load the native driver as a module, and not compile it in... because it tends to flake out and lock up if it fails to connect to somthing on the first try, or after exiting kismet :-/ Using it as a module saves me a reboot bc i can just unload/reload it

Last edited by Kahless; 10-10-2006 at 03:08 AM.


b43, b43legacy, bcm43xx+fwcutter, f7, fc5, fc6, midnight commander, software, windows xp, wine

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