FC5 with bcm43xx support (HOWTO)

David Woodhouse dwmw2 at infradead.org
Sat Mar 25 10:52:12 UTC 2006

Cross-posting since I was planning to send something like this anyway. I
was going to wait till the kernel and bcm43xx-fwcutter were actually in
the repositories and thus skip the first couple of paragraphs, but since
I've been asked....

On Sat, 2006-03-25 at 03:13 +0100, Robert Allerstorfer wrote:
> are there any step-by-step instructions on how to enable bcm43xx
> support on Fedora Core 5 ppc? I think the default 2.6.15-1.2054_FC5
> kernel should be good.

If you haven't already done so, update to the 2.6.16-1.2071_FC5 or later
kernel, from http://people.redhat.com/davej/kernels/Fedora/FC5/ if it
isn't in the official repos yet. The bcm43xx driver _does_ work in the
2054 release kernel, and I've been using it like that for months, but
it's far less picky about its initialisation in 2071, and doesn't lose
the network every time NetworkManager scans -- so for the sake of the
HOWTO it's just easier if you upgrade. The improvements to the driver
_will_ be in the official kernel update when it eventually comes out.

Install the bcm43xx-fwcutter package from Extras. It's in extras-devel,
but not yet in extras-fc5 yet because my request to create the branch
hasn't been honoured yet. There's a copy of it at
http://david.woodhou.se/bcm43xx-fwcutter-003-2.ppc.rpm (there's also
i386 and src rpms there).

	(By next week, hopefully the above will be reduced to 
	'yum update kernel ; yum install bcm43xx-fwcutter')

Then proceed as described
in /usr/share/doc/bcm43xx-fwcutter-003/README.Fedora:

As root, extract the firmware from your Windows or MacOS driver by
running the command
	bcm43xx-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware <DRIVERFILE>

The README file in the same directory (not README.Fedora but just
README) contains a bunch of links to drivers if you don't have one.
Apparently, any of them should be OK; it doesn't matter which you use.

Load the driver by 'modprobe bcm43xx'. NetworkManager should work with
it, as should system-config-network and the standard initscripts.

WEP works, and according to my limited testing WPA works too, as long as
your AP is broadcasting its ESSID (that latter restriction seems to
apply to _many_ cards, in fact. There's a hack to work around it at

We disabled the automatic loading of the bcm43xx driver in FC5 because
it's quite new and experimental, and partly because of the bugs which
have now been fixed in the 2071 kernel. To make sure the driver gets
loaded automatically, either add '/sbin/modprobe bcm43xx' to
your /etc/rc.local script, or copy the alias list
from /usr/share/doc/bcm43xx-fwcutter-003/modprobe.bcm43xx into
the /etc/modprobe.d directory, which tells the module loaded which PCI
IDs to associate with the bcm43xx driver.

Finally, give us feedback in bugzilla so we can know if/when we should
enable the driver by default again:

Please leave feedback even if it's working -- if the only people we hear
from are those who can't get it to work, then we're _never_ going to
enable it by default. :)

If you can't get it to work, try bringing it up by hand using 'ifconfig'
and 'iwconfig' commands, and show/attach the kernel output ('dmesg')
from when you do so. Also try adjusting the rate (iwconfig eth1 rate 2M)
and setting the SSID again. We already default to 11M, but that might
not be slow enough in some situations -- we don't automatically fall
back when the link is poor, so you have to set the speed manually.


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