Broadcom wireless problems

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Broadcom wireless problems

Postby gtmcfar » July 23rd, 2017, 12:32 am


I have an old Gateway laptop that has a Broadcom card, and it won't connect with Stretch. I had problems with this before (Jessie) and gave up to use Ubuntu for several years. I am moving to Debian on all of my machines so it is time to figure this out.

Some outputs from various commands below.

~$ lspci -nn | grep Network
05:02.0 Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Limited BCM4318 [AirForce One 54g] 802.11g Wireless LAN Controller [14e4:4318] (rev 02)

~$ sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter firmware-b43-installer
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
b43-fwcutter is already the newest version (1:019-3).
firmware-b43-installer is already the newest version (1:019-3).
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.

~$ sudo ifconfig -a
enp3s0: flags=4163<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,MULTICAST> mtu 1500
inet netmask broadcast
inet6 fe80::2e0:b8ff:fe8f:f2c2 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x20<link>
ether 00:e0:b8:8f:f2:c2 txqueuelen 1000 (Ethernet)
RX packets 19688 bytes 15275349 (14.5 MiB)
RX errors 0 dropped 0 overruns 0 frame 0
TX packets 16506 bytes 2313625 (2.2 MiB)
TX errors 0 dropped 0 overruns 0 carrier 0 collisions 0
device interrupt 18

lo: flags=73<UP,LOOPBACK,RUNNING> mtu 65536
inet netmask
inet6 ::1 prefixlen 128 scopeid 0x10<host>
loop txqueuelen 1 (Local Loopback)
RX packets 4 bytes 240 (240.0 B)
RX errors 0 dropped 0 overruns 0 frame 0
TX packets 4 bytes 240 (240.0 B)
TX errors 0 dropped 0 overruns 0 carrier 0 collisions 0

wlan0: flags=4098<BROADCAST,MULTICAST> mtu 1500
ether 00:14:a5:8a:1c:c5 txqueuelen 1000 (Ethernet)
RX packets 0 bytes 0 (0.0 B)
RX errors 0 dropped 0 overruns 0 frame 0
TX packets 0 bytes 0 (0.0 B)
TX errors 0 dropped 0 overruns 0 carrier 0 collisions 0

~$ ip a
1: lo: <LOOPBACK,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 65536 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN group default qlen 1
link/loopback 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd 00:00:00:00:00:00
inet scope host lo
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
inet6 ::1/128 scope host
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
2: enp3s0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UP group default qlen 1000
link/ether 00:e0:b8:8f:f2:c2 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
inet brd scope global enp3s0
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
inet6 fe80::2e0:b8ff:fe8f:f2c2/64 scope link
valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

~$ sudo iwconfig
lo no wireless extensions.

enp3s0 no wireless extensions.

~$ ip link set wlan0 up
Cannot find device "wlan0"

Please be gentle with me, I know it is going to be something simple.

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Joined: July 22nd, 2017, 11:51 pm

Re: Broadcom wireless problems

Postby cynwulf » July 25th, 2017, 11:08 am

I used to have a wifi adapter with the exact same chip. I wrote a howto on this site regarding this, but it doesn't seem to apply in your case - plus you're using a recent Debian release. From the output it looks like the firmware has been extracted, but the two packages being installed does not necessarily mean that's the case. It's best to have a poke around in /lib/firmware and verify it's actually there. As to examining system logs and checking dmesg to see if firmware is loaded - no clue as it's systemd.

However Debian Wiki also seems to be as out of date as my howto:

I can't say why you have an interface which ifconfig recognises but which iwconfig does not. I don't know how "modern" systemd era firmware loading works.

I suggest throwing off the Broadcom shackles and just getting a new wifi adapter. Qualcomm/Atheros devices are usually better supported and don't require this messy firmware hack procedure.
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Re: Broadcom wireless problems

Postby Monsie » July 29th, 2017, 6:36 am

Hi Gregg,

Although the iwconfig command works for me in debian Jessie, it may not work in Stretch. Apparently this command is deprecated... and now the iw command is used for configuring wireless devices. See the documentation for this new command over here.

Hope this helps,
My username is pronounced: "Munsee" and is based on my nick name in High School.
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Joined: January 17th, 2016, 11:11 pm

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