domenica 29 maggio 2011

opensuse 11.4 Broadcom BCM4311 wireless

I will to write this brief notes due the fact I faced a frustrating situation when suddenly my wireless stopped to work.

I use an old HP Pavillion DV6230BR laptop which is equipped with an AMD Turion 64 processor (64bit), a BCM4311 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller and latest openSUSE 11.4 64bit O.S.

So far I used to install the Broadcom wireless drivers on previous openSUSE, by using the system supplied script:

/usr/sbin/install_bcm43xx_firmware

which allows to install a free version (reverse engineered) of Broadcom drivers.

But nowadays it seems that newer kernels require the new proprietary Broadcom drivers which are available through the Packman repository:
  • broadcom-wl
  • broadcom-wl-kmp-[kernel flavour]
To check what is the right broadcom-wl-kmp-[kernel flavour], simply issue a "uname -a" on your system console and choose consequently the package to be installed.
Also take care about the architeture if you have a 32 or 64 bit platform.

I.E. if "uname -a" returns with "2.6.37.6-0.5-desktop", then your package shall be:

broadcom-wl-kmp-desktop.

When you have installed the two broadcom packages above from Packman repository, you have to reboot your system.

Likely the wireless board doesn't went recognized at first glance, this is due the configuration file:

/etc/modprobe.d/50-broadcom-wl-blacklist.conf

which blacklists some kernel modules which went no loaded, then you have to play right on them in order to make your wireless work.

I.E. in my case the above configuration file has been modified in this way:

# modules blacklisted for broadcom-wl

blacklist bcm43xx

#blacklist ssb

#blacklist b43

blacklist ndiswrapper

blacklist brcm80211

blacklist wl


As you can see I blacklisted all but ssb and b43 which are essential to my wireless board to work.

Finally, after a second reboot, you will notice that the orange wireless led on the front of the laptop keyboard begins blue, confirming that correct Broadcom drivers have been loaded, then you can use your Wi-Fi connection as in the past.

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