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Thread: Which Broadcom STA driver do I install from the ones listed in Synaptic?

  1. #1

    Which Broadcom STA driver do I install from the ones listed in Synaptic?

    Hi, (Please feel free to laugh. I've never actually posted a message before - ever. And I don't actually know what a Thread is. Also, apologies if my earnest enquiry is in the wrong forum. I'll get better - honest. Couldn't find the right "How to" in "Help".)

    I would be most grateful if someone could help me with a Broadcom wifi problem please.

    I've got knoppix 7.0.2 (DVD version) installed on my hard drive (Acer Aspire 5750 laptop). But the wifi isn't enabled. The wifi works fine with Windows 7 that came with the Acer. When I boot Windows, the orange wifi light comes on, and you can toggle it on and off with the blue Fn + F3 key. But in Knoppix, there's no such functionation (yes, I AM English ).

    I've looked high and low for a solution to the wifi problem, and am finding things very difficult because I'm very new to Linux and Knoppix. What I'd presently like to know is this. In Synaptic Package Manager I've found what appear to be the right Broadcom wifi package(s) (driver) for the Broadcom wifi card (BCM43227) in my laptop.

    The Synaptic packages are listed as follows:

    a) broadcom-sta-common Common files for the Broadcom STA Wireless driver
    b) broadcom-sta-dkms dkms source for the Broadcom STA Wireless driver
    c) broadcom-sta-modules-3.2.4 broadcom-sta modules for Linux (kernel 3.2.4)
    d) broadcom-sta-modules-3.2.4-64 broadcom-sta modules for Linux (kernel
    e) broadcom-sta-source Source for the Broadcom STA Wireless driver

    They're all presently uninstalled.

    I read in a README.txt (mentioned below) that if you have something called a "pre-compiled driver" then you follow the instructions it gives in that README.txt ("HOW TO INSTALL A PRE-COMPILED DRIVER"). This seems like an easier route to take, so I wondered if one of the above 5 Broadcom packages IS a pre-compiled driver, and perhaps I just install THAT (using Synaptic).

    (The README.txt also goes into things like "building the driver" using command-line instructions, but this is far too advanced for me.)

    Regarding my thought above about "perhaps I just install THAT", I don't want to just GUESS what to do with the above packages. I don't want to just blindly install them all for example. I'd rather know what I'm doing.

    (THIS IS MY MAIN QUESTION):
    I would be most grateful if a kind member could tell me WHICH OF THE ABOVE PACKAGES TO INSTALL, and what that actually achieves. Will that then make my wifi work? And will pressing Fn + F3 then toggle the orange light on and off? I'm sorry for being so long winded.

    Many thanks if you can help me. John.

    ------------------------

    The following is a Broadcom site that I found which might help others who need a driver for a Broadcom wifi card of the type mentioned below. The site is

    http://www.broadcom.com/support/802.11/linux_sta.php/

    The site provides downloadable drivers, and says "These packages contain Broadcom's IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n hybrid Linux® device driver for use with Broadcom's BCM4311-, BCM4312-, BCM4313-, BCM4321-, BCM4322-, BCM43224-, and BCM43225-, BCM43227- and BCM43228-based hardware."

    The site also provides a detailed README.txt.

  2. #2
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    Greetings, John

    I'd like to help you with your b43 functionation.
    For background, you should know the following.
    Klaus K made a strong effort in Knoppix 7 to solve a long-standing Linux
    problem in handling Broadcom wifi drivers. As you probably already know,
    some (usually) work with the STA driver set and some don't. Trouble is,
    if an installer guesses wrong, it may 'blacklist' the correct choice.
    Here in the Colonies we would refer to that as a 'Catch 22'.

    To make a long story shorter, we had hoped that now all Broadcom drivers
    might be automatically installed correctly by Knopppix, starting with
    Knoppix 7.0 and later. AFAIK most are b43s and none should any longer
    require the STA driver. The STA driver was unique in that it provided the
    necessary proprietary firmware to make SOME b43s work. Knoppix 7 should now
    do that for MOST b43s. I don't think your BCM43227 should be an exception.

    My initial guess is that you may have somehow told Knoppix 7 to install
    an STA driver and inadvertently blacklisted Klaus K's new approach in
    the process. In trying to sort this out, there are some things you might do.

    0. Don't install anything just yet, let's just see where we are.

    0.5 Check the wifi toggle situation; I've inadvertently toggled mine off
    on occasion.

    1. If you made a LiveCD, boot that up, and see if it doesn't install a
    working wifi UN-assisted.

    2. Just how do you have Knoppix on a hard drive? Poor man's install or 0wn?
    Is this functioning as Linux, just no wifi, or what?

    3. If your Knoppix 7 is 'working, just no wifi', then check the blacklist
    situation: tell us what you get for /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-knoppix.conf

    4ab&c What do you get for lspci|grep BCM and for both lsmod|grep b43
    and lsmod|grep wl.

    Also, please stay with us on this, we'd like to make sure we have the
    BCM43227 covered.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by winger9 View Post
    ...will pressing Fn + F3 then toggle the orange light on and off? I'm sorry for being so long winded.
    I missed this.
    If the light is toggling off and on, maybe you're all set.

    Do you have a Network Manager icon on your task bar?
    Have you chosen a network and given it WEP parameters?
    It isn't clear to me what state your Knoppix is in.

  4. #4
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    @winger9

    What is the output of the command
    Code:
    sudo rfkill list all
    issued in a terminal?

    You have to create a kernel module yourself if you really need a special one for you WLAN adaptor, but I am not sure that the module source package broadcom-sta-source from the testing (wheezy) or unstable (sid) package repositories is compatible with the Linux kernel 3.3.4 of Knoppix 7.0.2. Creating a module package is easy if you can use the module assistant (m-a). Your first steps could be
    Code:
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get -t testing install  broadcom-sta-source
    sudo m-a build broadcom-sta
    If everything goes fine you will get a new package in the /usr/src directory that could be installed with the dpkg program or
    Code:
    sudo m-a install broadcom-sta
    I hope that helps.

  5. #5
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    @klaus2008

    I think Klaus K would like to see if his new b43 approach can be made to work
    without exception for the wl alternative.

    I can't tell from John's material if his BCM43227 represents an exception or not.
    There is other evidence, e.g. Ubuntu, that says it works with the wl driver.

    We'd not like wl to present any new problems in Linux.
    You may recall 6.4 favored b43 and 6.7 favored wl; we're trying to get beyond that.

    Otherwise, please stick with us to see if we can unravel this.
    Last edited by utu; 08-21-2012 at 06:52 PM.

  6. #6

    Re: Which Broadcom STA driver do I install from the ones listed in Synaptic?

    Hi utu

    Yes it's me. You thought I'd been swallowed by a black hole. No, just by
    life's furculations.

    (A) Thanks very much for your reply to my enquiry. ("Which Broadcom STA
    driver do I install from the ones listed in Synaptic?", 20Aug12).

    What an exceptionally clever man you are, having such a depth of knowledge, AND
    insight.

    I'm sorry for my inability to describe things briefly. Why write one word when
    twenty will do?

    (B) Could I make clearer something in my original post. In the list of Broadcom
    packages in Synaptic that I gave, ( a) to e) ), knoppix.net seems to have
    changed my tabs into single spaces in the posting. So the package names run
    straight into their descriptions. So I've re-done the list below to make
    it clearer. Also please note that I'd missed a bit off the end of entry "d)"
    (asterisked) (now complete).

    a) broadcom-sta-common Common files for the Broadcom STA Wireless driver
    b) broadcom-sta-dkms dkms source for the Broadcom STA Wireless driver
    c) broadcom-sta-modules-3.2.4 broadcom-sta modules for Linux (kernel 3.2.4)
    * d) broadcom-sta-modules-3.2.4-64 broadcom-sta modules for Linux (kernel
    3.2.4-64)
    e) broadcom-sta-source Source for the Broadcom STA Wireless driver

    (C) Here's the info that you asked me for, using your fine numbering order:

    0.5 No, the wifi orange LED doesn't come on AT ALL in knoppix. Once knoppix has
    booted, when I press the blue Fn + F3 combination (which should toggle the wifi
    LED on and off, and presumably the radio signal) the LED never comes on (as it
    dutifully did in windows 7).

    1. I booted up my LiveDVD, but the same no-wifi-at-all scenario still exists.

    2. I used 0wn to install knoppix from the DVD to hard drive. I recall
    opting NOT to use the GRUB/GRUB2 bootloader (I didn't want it to overwrite the
    Master Boot Record). Windows 7 is still on the same hard drive (separate
    partitions), and I have a dual-boot setup (Windows 7 and Knoppix, although the
    bootloader won't boot Windows at the moment).

    Re your 2nd question under "2.", I wasn't quite sure what you were asking me
    ("Is this functioning as Linux, just no wifi, or what?"). So here's my stab at
    sussing ("working out", in case that doesn't translate to your fine part of the
    world) what you're asking me. My hard drive Knoppix IS running as Knoppix, and
    seems to run OK, but the wifi isn't working. Once booted, it's in LXDE
    (Lightweight X DEsktop (in case any new users like me are reading this)).

    3. Yes, "Knoppix 7 is 'working, just no wifi'". What a genius you are, knowing
    all the following commands, and WHERE various important files are. My mind is
    boggled at your prowess.

    Here are the contents of /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-knoppix.conf :

    # modprobe blacklist for KNOPPIX

    # HP Mini 110 PC wifi w/wl.ko breaks if ssb is loaded,
    # but b43* requires ssb
    # blacklist ssb

    # if b43* are used, wl.ko should NOT be auto-loaded
    blacklist wl

    # graphics/KMS drivers should not get autoloaded by udev
    blacklist nvidia
    blacklist nouveau
    blacklist nvidiafb
    blacklist intelfb
    blacklist mbp_nvidia_bl.ko
    blacklist rivafb
    blacklist i915
    blacklist radeon

    4. Here is the info you want for a,b,c.:

    a)

    knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ lspci|grep BCM
    02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetLink BCM57785 Gigabit
    Ethernet PCIe (rev 10)
    02:00.1 SD Host controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM57765 Memory Card
    Reader (rev 10)
    03:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM43227 802.11b/g/n
    knoppix@Microknoppix:~$

    b)

    knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ lsmod|grep b43
    knoppix@Microknoppix:~$

    (No output returned. John.)

    c)

    knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ lsmod|grep wl
    knoppix@Microknoppix:~$

    (No output returned. John.)

    -------------------------------------------------

    Just for belt and braces, here's the complete lsmod output:

    knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ lsmod
    Module Size Used by
    parport_pc 23255 0
    ppdev 4143 0
    lp 6122 0
    parport 21794 3 lp,ppdev,parport_pc
    ipv6 205277 46
    uvcvideo 50081 0
    videobuf2_vmalloc 1476 1 uvcvideo
    videobuf2_memops 1250 1 videobuf2_vmalloc
    videobuf2_core 13842 1 uvcvideo
    videodev 59186 1 uvcvideo
    media 7012 2 videodev,uvcvideo
    acer_wmi 16111 0
    sparse_keymap 1996 1 acer_wmi
    battery 8393 0
    ac 2369 0
    wmi 5907 1 acer_wmi
    snd_hda_codec_hdmi 18271 1
    snd_hda_codec_realtek 77224 1
    tg3 104674 0
    snd_hda_intel 16731 4
    snd_hda_codec 50923 3
    snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec_realtek,snd_hda_codec_ hdmi
    i2c_i801 6174 0
    joydev 6678 0
    i915 309222 3
    drm_kms_helper 18353 1 i915
    knoppix@Microknoppix:~$

    -----------------------------------------------------------
    (End of data that you wanted.)

    (D) Thanks very much for leaping on my problem for me. It's very unusual in
    this world to find someone who actually WANTS to help someone else in such a
    detailed way.

    Prior to coming to you fine chaps at knoppix.net, I spent a long time trawling
    the Internet to find a solution to why my knoppix wifi isn't working. So it
    might be relevant to describe some significant things that I've found out.

    (E) One contributor said that with Broadcom cards, the wifi problem isn't
    distro specific, and that you have to actually obtain the appropriate driver
    for your card, AND place it in the CORRECT directory in Linux (when I say
    "Linux", I mean any distro of Linux).

    (F) I spent a long time trawling the Internet to find a driver for MY
    particular Broadcom card (BCM43227 802.11b/g/n). I finally found a site that
    seemed to have it (http://www.broadcom.com/support/802.11/linux_sta.php/). This
    is the site I mention in my original post.

    The site provides downloadable drivers, and says "These packages contain
    Broadcom's IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n hybrid Linux® device driver for use with
    Broadcom's BCM4311-, BCM4312-, BCM4313-, BCM4321-, BCM4322-, BCM43224-, and
    BCM43225-, BCM43227- and BCM43228-based hardware."

    My Broadcom card is BCM43227 (which is included in the above list).

    (G) Before finding this site, the nearest drivers to my card that I could find
    were called Broadcom "B43" and "B43 legacy". At that point, I sort of felt that
    they wouldn't actually be the correct drivers for MY particular card. But I
    considered downloading them (particularly the b43) to try them out, and placing
    them in the directory specified by the chap at (E).

    But then I found the following directories on my knoppix system, which suggested
    to me that those drivers were ALREADY on my system:
    /lib/firmware/b43
    /lib/firmware/b43legacy
    /lib/modules/3.3.7/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/b43
    /lib/modules/3.3.7/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/b43legacy
    /lib/modules/3.3.7-64/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/b43
    /lib/modules/3.3.7-64/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/b43legacy

    SO I FIGURED THAT KNOPPIX WOULD BE USING THESE DRIVERS ALREADY IF THEY WERE THE
    RIGHT ONES. BUT OF COURSE MY WIFI DOESN'T WORK, SO THE APPARENT PRESENCE OF
    THESE DRIVERS APPEARS TO MAKE NO DIFFERENCE.

    (H) So when I found a driver at
    http://www.broadcom.com/support/802.11/linux_sta.php/
    that SPECIFICALLY covers my BCM43227 card, it seemed that this MIGHT BE THE
    RIGHT DRIVER.

    For some reason, I looked in Synaptic Package Manager and found the driver
    packages listed at (B) above. THESE SEEMED TO HAVE A CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE
    DRIVER DESCRIBED AT http://www.broadcom.com/support/802.11/linux_sta.php/, and
    in the README.txt at that site.

    (I) So I concluded that these Synaptic driver packages might actually BE the
    same driver as offered for download at
    http://www.broadcom.com/support/802.11/linux_sta.php/ .

    *** So I thought, perhaps all I need to do is install THE CORRECT ***
    *** Synaptic PACKAGE (OR PACKAGES) and perhaps then my wifi might ***
    *** work. ***

    That's when I posted my original enquiry "Which Broadcom STA driver do I
    install from the ones listed in Synaptic?", 20Aug12".

    (J) Re your kind addendum question:
    There IS a networking icon on the taskbar. If I right-click it, you can then
    click on "Edit Connections" which fetches up sotware called "Network
    Connections". Some while ago I selected it and set up WIRELESS parameters
    (which I seem to recall had no existing entry).

    I had to ask my ISP (the rooting tooting Post Office) to suggest what parameters
    to enter. For "wireless security" I've selected "WPA & WPA2 Personal" as
    opposed to WEP because the Post Office say that the former is more secure.

    Presumably, having these wireless parameters set up, isn't significant yet, in
    that the wifi hardware isn't being kicked into life yet by good old knoppix.

    Well I think that's it (for now). Thanks very much utu for your kind and expert
    attention to my problem.

    John


    ------------------------
    Please use the "Go Advanced" button to have more abilities to format the posting; before sending your posting use "Preview" to see how it looks like.
    WPS
    Last edited by Werner P. Schulz; 08-24-2012 at 04:59 PM.

  7. #7
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    Greetings, John.

    From what I see here, 43227 may be a Broadcom exception not handled
    correctly by Knoppix 7. Neither b43 nor wl drivers were loaded. Also,
    wl was blacklisted.

    We know the 43227 will work with a wl driver; Knoppix 7.0.2 may provide one,
    but it would need to compile one from source material. Perhaps Synaptics will
    do that, but the kernel used to compile must match that of 7.0.2. Klaus2008
    can help you if you want to go that way.

    The easiest solution here might be to make a Knoppix 6.7.1 LiveCD. Using 6.7.1,
    My Broadcom wifi, which works with either wl or b43, automatically sets up with
    the wl driver.

    We also know a b43 driver should also work if it gets the correct Broadcom firmware.
    It does so using a program called b43-fwcutter.
    Knoppix 7.0.2 should build a b43 driver module correct for its specific kernel.
    We know it didn't install one. Did it build one?

    root@Microknoppix:/etc/modprobe.d# modprobe --first-time -v b43
    ERROR: could not insert 'b43': Module already in kernel
    root@Microknoppix:/etc/modprobe.d# lsmod | grep b43
    b43 298744 0
    bcma 16433 1 b43
    mac80211 283250 1 b43
    cfg80211 116931 2 b43,mac80211
    rng_core 2363 1 b43
    ssb 35297 1 b43
    pcmcia 25367 2 b43,ssb

    In my case it did and it works and it was all automatic.

    So, you might decide to try building your own wl; or switch to 6.7.1;
    or we can continue to diagnose your 7.0.2 to see if it'll work with b43.

    If the latter, do Klaus2008's test (see post #4)
    to make sure your wifi isn't disabled, then
    1. look in Synaptic and see if b43-fwcutter is installed; then, if it is,
    2. do modprobe --first-time -v b43, and lsmod | grep b43 again.
    Get back to us with your progress anyway.
    ________________

    You may note that there is a mail/news reader program in Synaptic called wl.
    wl is also the designation of a Broadcom wifi kernel module. They are quite different.
    ________________

    Also, note you are giving Werner fits having to re-format your postings.
    I suspect that you need to let NoScript know that knoppix.net is an exception.
    Also, you can preview your posts before you post them to see how they'll look.
    They usually look pretty bad if NoScript eats all your whitespace.
    Last edited by utu; 08-24-2012 at 07:49 PM.

  8. #8
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    Greetings, John

    Try the following:
    Install, using Synaptic, in addition to what's already there,
    firmware-b43-lpphy-installer
    Some Ubuntu folks find this helps some Broadcom wifis find the
    right b43 firmware for 'low power' wifis.

    The first test is to see if b43 shows up in lsmod|grep b43.

  9. #9
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    John, Klaus2008

    At present, it may not be possible to easily find a wl driver for the 3.4.9 kernel.
    There is a bug report on broadcom-sta-dkms filed in June. See:
    http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=677193

    Still doesn't work for me forcing dkms to 2.2.0.3-1.1. Bummer.
    Better hope b43 works out for us.

  10. #10
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    Knoppix 7.0.4: missing kernel header files

    Hi, utu!

    I tried to build the broadcom-sta-module package as I had described above. I was successful with Knoppix 7.0.3, but in Knoppix 7.0.4 the directory /usr/src/linux-headers-3.4.9/include/asm-x86 is missing. Therefore the compiler does not find the include file asm/system.h and the build process fails.

    The version numbers of the two packages broadcom-sta-source and broadcom-sta-dkms seem to be identical. Therefore I don't expect that one can use dkms instead of the module assistant.

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