Author Topic: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.  (Read 4285 times)

Offline utu

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Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« on: July 21, 2016, 04:25:56 pm »
Reloading Synaptic will provide an updated Broadcom wl driver.
It is provided via broadcom-sta-dkms version 6.30.223.271-2

I find this driver to provide a considerable improvement over b43 on my
Dell Inspiron 1545.

I'm using 64-bit Peppermint 7 as a LiveUSB and now getting about twice
the download rate and a steadier connection with the new wl vs the older b43.

I'd be interested in other's experience in this regard.



Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2016, 11:54:25 am »
Seems to be Broadcom chip dependent, some chips work better with wl, some with b43, and some will only work with one or the other (or indeed neither).
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Offline utu

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2016, 01:22:18 pm »
Thanks for your comment.

Having used both b43 and wl interchangeably for years, this last Broadcom update
changes the ballgame for this Dell computer by about a factor of two in speed.
Since Peppermint does a perfect default install of b43, I think it is news-worthy
that struggling to bring in the new wl Version '271 is worth the effort for
Dell 1545 Inspirons and possibly others.

 I first noticed this on PCLinuxOS, then Peppermint. I think the change may be using
some 64-bit magic where earlier drivers may have been only 32-bit. It used to be one-
size-fits-all; now there's a 32- or 64-bit choice.

For those more technically gifted than I, there is a Broadcom reference that
might help explain what's new here. Find this at https://www.broadcom.com/support/802.11.
The README file at the bottom of that page is the place to start.

Cheers.

Offline Bigoeuf

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2016, 04:44:41 pm »
Hello utu
I am very interested in what you have posted. I have a very similar setup to you, a Dell Inspiron 1501, which has a BCM4311 wlan chip & according your link to the README file at https://www.broadcom.com/docs/linux_sta/README_6.30.223.271.txt it is supported by the new wl driver. Also the output from
Code: [Select]
sudo lshw -C network
Code: [Select]
*-network               
       description: Network controller
       product: BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN
       vendor: Broadcom Corporation
       physical id: 0
       bus info: pci@0000:05:00.0
       version: 01
       width:32 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list
       configuration: driver=b43-pci-bridge latency=0
       resources: irq:18 memory:c0200000-c0203fff
Appears to indicate to me that as you suggested
Quote
earlier drivers may have been only 32-bit

As you said in your last post
Quote
Peppermint does a perfect default install of b43,
indeed so & it works perfectly for me but your original post is tempting me to try the new wl driver.

So how did you go about installing it?
Code: [Select]
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-generic dkms broadcom-sta-dkms??

Did you remove any other drivers for the Broadcom wireless device, blacklist them & then Insmod the driver as per:
Spoiler (click here to view / hide)
[close]

From the README file at https://www.broadcom.com/docs/linux_sta/README_6.30.223.271.txt ?
« Last Edit: August 06, 2016, 04:48:52 pm by Bigouef »

Offline AndyInMokum

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2016, 05:50:23 pm »
Hi Bigouef, How's if going?  When you're posting web links, could you please remember to encapsulate them with the: Insert Hyperlink function.  This is located above the Wink  ;) emoticon in the forum editor.  I've done this for you  - many thanks  ;).
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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2016, 03:06:20 am »
I've always done:
Code: [Select]
sudo apt-get install build-essential dkms bcmwl-kernel-sourcethe kernel headers are already installed .. and linux-headers-generic would be wrong for Peppermint 6 which would instead require linux-headers-generic-lts-utopic. So the above will work for PM6 AND PM7
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Offline Bigoeuf

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2016, 06:35:08 am »
Hello Mark

I lifted the command that I posted from your post here in the 'Slow Boot' topic :

Okay then, run:
Code: [Select]
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-generic dkms bcmwl-kernel-source......

I take on board what you say about linux-headers-generic but I substituted broadcom-sta-dkms for  bcmwl-kernel-source because I'm after the 6.30.223.271-2 driver (which broadcom-sta-dkms provides according to Synaptic - bcmwl-kernel-source provides 6.30.223.248+bdcom-0ubuntu8). This is what utu's topic is about:

 
Thanks for your comment.

Having used both b43 and wl interchangeably for years, this last Broadcom update
changes the ballgame for this Dell computer by about a factor of two in speed.
Since Peppermint does a perfect default install of b43, I think it is news-worthy
that struggling to bring in the new wl Version '271 is worth the effort for
Dell 1545 Inspirons and possibly others.

 I first noticed this on PCLinuxOS, then Peppermint. I think the change may be using
some 64-bit magic where earlier drivers may have been only 32-bit. It used to be one-
size-fits-all; now there's a 32- or 64-bit choice.
..........

So I presume:

Code: [Select]
sudo apt-get install build-essential dkms broadcom-sta-dkmswould be ok?

Also have you any comment on the last part of my post Mark?

...........
Did you remove any other drivers for the Broadcom wireless device, blacklist them & then Insmod the driver as per:
Spoiler (click here to view / hide)
[close]

From the README file at https://www.broadcom.com/docs/linux_sta/README_6.30.223.271.txt ?

Cheers  :)

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2016, 04:14:56 pm »
Either bcmwl-kernel-source or broadcom-sta-dkms should work .. they both provide wl, I was just mentioning what **I've** always done ;)

Yeah if you're using wl, the open source drivers should be blacklisted if they're also getting loaded .. no need (though it also won't hurt) if they're not.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 04:17:26 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline utu

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2016, 07:36:50 pm »
Hello, Bigouef.

Sorry to be so late with this response.
Glad you find some interest in my original post about replacing b43 with wl.

FYI, I've always used the broadcom-sta-dkms offering in Synaptic to install the updated wl.
I've done this successfully with a number of other current Linux offerings.
I haven't blacklisted anything, myself.

Anxious to hear how this turns out for you.

HTH

Offline Bigoeuf

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2016, 04:33:19 am »
Hello

@ utu
Yes thanks for your post. I haven't done it yet because I want to be reasonably sure I know what I am doing & have got all my ducks in a row & be able to get back to where I am now - which works perfectly (so why mess about - indeed  :-X)

@ AndyInMokum
Yep no problems Andy - I did actually do that when I was creating the post but for some reason it kept on messing up (double postin the hyperlink & the encapsulation not forming correctly - dont know why & seems to be ok now (have just made a post using a hyperlink & all went well  ;))

@ PCNetSpec
Ok Mark thanks - however with regard to my specific paragraph to utu above i'm afraid I need to twist your melons a wee bit more - if I can be so bold lol  ;D

Re:

..................
Did you remove any other drivers for the Broadcom wireless device, blacklist them & then Insmod the driver as per:
Spoiler (click here to view / hide)
[close]

From the README file at https://www.broadcom.com/docs/linux_sta/README_6.30.223.271.txt ?

The portion of the README file quote in the spoiler is for a fresh install of wl driver. It says:
Quote
............. The wl driver will not function
properly if ssb the module is loaded.

# lsmod  | grep "brcmsmac\|b43\|ssb\|bcma\|wl"

If any of these are installed, remove them:
# rmmod b43
# rmmod brcmsmac
# rmmod ssb
# rmmod bcma
# rmmod wl

Does this need to be done in addition to blacklisting the open-source drivers as you stated in your last post? Please be aware that my wired internet connection is via a Broadcom BCM4401 card & the output of:
Code: [Select]
lsmod  | grep "brcmsmac\|b43\|ssb\|bcma\|wl\|b44"is:
Code: [Select]
b43                   417792  0
bcma                   53248  1 b43
mac80211              737280  1 b43
ssb_hcd                16384  0
cfg80211              565248  2 b43,mac80211
b44                    36864  0
mii                    16384  2 b44,usbnet
ssb                    65536  3 b43,b44,ssb_hcd

I don't know how to read the output above but does an 'educated guess' suggest that the b44 module needs ssb??

Also the latter part of the README file quote in the spoiler says:


Quote
2: Insmod the driver.

Otherwise, if you have not previously installed a wl driver, you'll need
to add a security module before using the wl module.  Most newer systems
use lib80211 while others use ieee80211_crypt_tkip. See which one works for
your system.

# modprobe lib80211
  or
# modprobe ieee80211_crypt_tkip

If your using the cfg80211 version of the driver, then cfg80211 needs to be
loaded:

# modprobe cfg80211

Then:
# insmod wl.ko

wl.ko is now operational.  It may take several seconds for the Network
Manager to notice a new network driver has been installed and show the
surrounding wireless networks.

Am I right to assume that as I have the cfg80211 module already loaded & as I'm not going to touch it I don't need to do the first part  & just:
Code: [Select]
insmod wl.ko?
Cheers :)

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2016, 02:35:57 pm »
Well that makes no sense .. if you blacklist wl, how the heck can the updated "wl" driver work ? :-\

blacklist b43

then REBOOT

then post the output from
Code: [Select]
lsmod  | grep "brcmsmac\|b43\|ssb\|bcma\|wl\|b44"again
« Last Edit: August 17, 2016, 02:42:12 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline utu

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2016, 05:10:16 pm »
For reference, I am using
Synaptic package broadcom-sta-dkms version 6.40.223.271-2 to install
    the 64-bit wl driver, broadcom-sta-dkms(amd64) in Peppermint 7.

Using PCNetSpec's lsmod command, I get the following:
Code: [Select]
peppermint@peppermint ~ $ lsmod  | grep "brcmsmac\|b43\|ssb\|bcma\|wl\|b44"
wl                   6447104  0
cfg80211              565248  1 wl
peppermint@peppermint ~ $

FWIW,
bcmwl-kernel-source will install an earlier version of the STA-mode wl driver,
version '248 rather than '271.

I have experienced good throughput using Peppermint 7 and version 271 and
similar improvement over b43 results using Lubuntu 16.10-alpha and bcmwl-kernel-source and
version 248. In both cases I just used Synaptic and didn’t try to help it
with any blacklisting.

@ Bigouef
My advice is not to diddle with a well-working system, but rather give this
idea a try-out on a LiveUSB install. UUI makes it very easy to make a LiveUSB
with persistence directly from an iso and 16 Gb USB3 Cruzers are very cheap.

@PCNetSpec
I have no issue with all your suggestions here, I was perhaps extremely lucky using Synaptic
and having such good luck with so little effort in this case.




« Last Edit: August 17, 2016, 05:43:05 pm by AndyInMokum »

Offline AndyInMokum

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2016, 05:45:38 pm »
Hi utu, for future reference, could you please remember to encapsulate terminal outputs with the Insert, Code # function.  For extra long outputs, please use the Spoiler, Sp function.  Don't combine the functions.  Only use one or the other  ;).  These preserve the original format of the output.  This makes it easier for future visitors to relate to their own issues.  These functions are found in the forum editor, above the,  :-[ Embarrassed and  the :'( Cry emoticon respectively.  Use the Preview button to see how it'll look in the forum.  This time, I've done it for you - many thanks  ;).
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Offline Bigoeuf

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2016, 10:35:46 pm »
@PCNetSpec

I see where you're coming from Mark - the portion of the README file quote in the spoiler is for a fresh install of wl driver really needs to be read in context (i.e. open the spoiler & read the whole section) as it talks about:
Quote
........
 Any previous revisions of the wl driver also need to
be removed.
So sorry about that.

My point is do the modules need to be removed in addition to being blacklisted?
As it states:
Quote
There are several other drivers (besides this one) that can drive
Broadcom 802.11 chips. These include b43, brcmsmac, bcma and ssb. They will
conflict with this driver and need to be uninstalled before this driver
can be installed.

 And my specific concern is regarding the ssb module as it 'appears' it is required by my Broadcom BCM4401 card (which provides  my wired internet connection):
Code: [Select]
mick@mick-Inspiron-1501 ~ $ lsmod  | grep "brcmsmac\|b43\|ssb\|bcma\|wl\|b44"
b43                   417792  0
bcma                   53248  1 b43
mac80211              737280  1 b43
cfg80211              565248  2 b43,mac80211
ssb_hcd                16384  0
b44                    36864  0
mii                    16384  2 b44,usbnet
ssb                    65536  3 b43,b44,ssb_hcd
  - See ssb bottom line

Also you made no comment about:
................
Also the latter part of the README file quote in the spoiler says:


Quote
2: Insmod the driver.

Otherwise, if you have not previously installed a wl driver, you'll need
to add a security module before using the wl module.  Most newer systems
use lib80211 while others use ieee80211_crypt_tkip. See which one works for
your system.

# modprobe lib80211
  or
# modprobe ieee80211_crypt_tkip

If your using the cfg80211 version of the driver, then cfg80211 needs to be
loaded:

# modprobe cfg80211

Then:
# insmod wl.ko

wl.ko is now operational.  It may take several seconds for the Network
Manager to notice a new network driver has been installed and show the
surrounding wireless networks.

Am I right to assume that as I have the cfg80211 module already loaded & as I'm not going to touch it I don't need to do the first part  & just:
Code: [Select]
insmod wl.ko
I say this because I have no wl module loaded (as you can see from above) & as yet I have not installed a wl driver.

Sorry to be a PITA Mark but I dont want to jump in & then bugger things up - if you get what I mean.

@utu
Interesting to see your post & I take on board your comments specifically for me (which I may well do - I see what Mark says ;)) Do you have an ethernet card (for wired internet connection)?

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Updated Broadcom wl wifi driver.
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2016, 04:09:09 am »
If you're talking about installing the broadcom-sta-dkms driver from the default repos then all this should be taken care of for you.
(including the blacklisting and update-initramfs).
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