Wiki Table of Contents

Broadcom wireless

Introduction

There are a number of different types of drivers for Broadcom wireless chipsets that have different capabilties and features. Here are some examples:

Driver Description Comment
brcmsmac/brcmfmac Open-source kernel drivers  
b43, b43legacy and b44 Reverse-engineered kernel drivers  
broadcom-wl   Proprietary Broadcom STA driver Causes kernel drivers to be blacklisted
brcm80211 Open-source kernel driver  
Various Proprietary Windows drivers Require Ndiswrapper

For a Wireless device, go to the Linux Wireless site, select the appropriate device type (PCI, USB or PCMCIA) and click through to the table to find the latest information about your device. If you have an older Broadcom chipset, and want to use the native driver instead of using Ndiswrapper, you may have to enable the correct driver and suppress the others.

CLI method

This illustration uses the most frequent case of the common driver b43 that is blacklisted by default in MX Linux because it conflicts with the wl driver. NOTE: the same method could be used for the other kernel Broadcom drivers.

NOTE: This method is intended for use on an installed MX Linux. You have the option of doing Step 1 while running Live, then install. When you boot into the new installation, you should have an active wireless interface. Step 2 should then be carried out to avoid interference with b43.
Step 1
  • Open this file in a root Thunar:
     /etc/modprobe.d/broadcom-sta-dkms.conf
  • Comment out (add a hash sign) to the first blacklist line so that it looks like this (bolded):
     # wl module from Broadcom conflicts with the following modules:
     # blacklist b43
     blacklist b43legacy
     blacklist b44
     blacklist bcma
     blacklist brcm80211
     blacklist brcmsmac
     blacklist ssb
  • Save and close the file.
Step 2
  • Open a terminal, become root, and enter this command to remove the competing wl:
     modprobe -r wl
  • Reboot.

GUI method

Carry out Steps 1 and 2 using the MX Broadcom Manager.


v. 20150519

4 thoughts on “Broadcom wireless”

  1. The key to making this work on my Dell Latitude E6400 was to un-blacklist the B43Legacy, load it, and leave the wl driver loaded as well. If i unloaded or blacklisted either one the internal wifi stopped working. This is on MX19, “patito feo”.

    Reply

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