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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).


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Old 01-26-2006, 09:47 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2005
Posts: 43

Rep: Reputation: 15
how-to: Get Broadcom Wireless working on your lappy ;)

Ok, so I'm relatively new to the forums, but it seems like every other thread here in the laptop section is about wireless, and 8/10 of those seem to be people having trouble with Broadcom specifically. So here's a how-to, hope this helps some people:

First off, you need to have ndiswrapper installed on your system. How you do this is different on differnt distros, depending upon your package management system. I use Ubuntu, which is Debian based, so it's a simple apt-get ndiswrapper-utils. Someone else can post how to do it with RPM's on different distros.

Once you have it installed (test by typing ndiswrapper -l in terminal), you need the Broadcom drivers for your card. This may take some googling, but some can be found at in the Installation Wiki.

Make sure you have both driver.inf and driver.sys (for me this is bcmwl5.inf and bcmwl5.sys) in the same folder. Do the following:

ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf

(you may need to add the path in front of it, i.e. ndiswrapper -i /home/olly/drivers/bcmwl5.inf is mine).
if you don't get any errors, you should see this when typing

ndiswrapper -l

driver present, hardware present.

Then type:

ndiswrapper modprobe
ndiswrapper -m

Now you should be installed. next let's get it up and running:


Where 'DEVICE' is replaced by your card, most often seems to be wlan0, and ESSID is replaced by your SSID (the name of your wireless network) and XXXXXXXXXXXXX is replaced by your wep key. If you don't use a wep key, skip the 'key XXXXXXXXxxXXXXXX' portion of the command.

At this poinnt, if you type

iwconfig wlan0

You should see some output that includes the name of your network in quotes. Next, type

dhclient wlan0


ifconfig wlan0 up

or whatever other DHCP config your distro uses (ask someone in the forums with your same distro).

It should give you some output that ends in: renewal in x seconds.

You are now up and running.

To make this happen automagically, you need to edit your interfaces file. Do this by:

vim /etc/network/interfaces (where 'vim' can be rpelaced by your favorite editor, nano or whatever)

Under primary network interface, add the following lines:

iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wireless_keymode [here either add restricted or open]
wireless_mode [here have auto or managed etc]
wireless_essid ESSID
auto wlan0

So, for a real world example, mine is as follows:

iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wireless_keymode restricted
wireless_mode managed
wireless_essid ESSID
auto wlan0

Save this file, welcome to wireless

Old 01-27-2006, 12:51 PM   #2
Adrian Baker
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: PCLinuxOS 2007 on my laptop and Suse 10.2 on my desktop.
Posts: 341

Rep: Reputation: 30
Very helpful advice.



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