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Fixing Broadcom and Realtek Wireless Issues

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DevynCJohnson

Guest
Linux is becoming a popular operating system. Also, Wifi is becoming a popular method of network connection. Many Wifi-network-cards are Broadcom or Realtek. Some Linux systems may need a driver to use this proprietary hardware.

Obviously, a second system or form of network connection is needed to obtain the driver for the wireless device. Some users may be able to use an Ethernet connection or USB-Wifi-dongle. If so, then the user can use the same system. If not, then the user will need to use another system to obtain the driver and transfer it to the Linux system via USB memory card.

Assuming the same system can be used, be sure that the package manager allows proprietary software. Then, search the repos for a package called “linux-firmware-nonfree”. This may or may not solve the problem.

Synaptic-Repo-Types.png


Broadcom
If the above suggestions do not work, open a terminal and type “lspci -nn -d 14e4:”. This command lists all of the wireless Broadcom devices on the system (“14e4″ is the ID used by such devices). Write down the output because this information will be used to find the proper driver.

NOTE: If you must access the Internet on a different device, run the command mentioned above on the broken system and then try the suggestions below.

Afterwards, the user can search the Internet for the driver using the written information. However, below is a list of websites that offer Broadcom drivers. Check each link to see if the website has the needed driver.

http://www.broadcom.com/support/802.11/linux_sta.php
http://linuxwireless.sipsolutions.net/en/users/Drivers/b43/
http://linuxwireless.sipsolutions.net/en/users/Drivers/brcm80211/
https://wiki.debian.org/bcm43xx

NOTE: To download a *.deb file, go to “http://packages.ubuntu.com/” and search for “Broadcom”.

Thankfully, the Linux kernel comes with some Broadcom drivers. “brcmsmac” supports some PCI Broadcom wifi cards and “brcmfmac” supports some SDIO cards. Both of these drivers are open-source. There is also a driver called “b43″ which is a reversed engineered driver. “broadcom-wl” is a proprietary driver that does not come with the Linux kernel.

Once a driver is obtained and properly installed, type “modprobe DRIVER-NAME” using Root privileges. This will load the driver. Rebooting the system is not required. However, some users may need to execute “rfkill unblock all” in a terminal (with Root privileges) to force all of the wireless devices to activate.

If the wireless card is still not working, then it may help to check out the listed links below.

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/broadcom_wireless
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx#b43 - Internet access
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx#b43 - No Internet access
http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/218

Realtek
If the above suggestions do not work, open a terminal and type “lspci -nn -d 10ec:”. That will list all of the Realtek devices. “10ec” is the vendor ID used by Realtek. Be aware that Realtek makes many devices, so more than wireless devices may be seen in the output. Write down the output because this information will be used to find the proper driver.

Once the model/serial number has been obtained, it may help to check the links below.
https://wiki.debian.org/rtl819x
https://packages.debian.org/search?keywords=firmware-realtek
https://wireless.wiki.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/rtl819x
http://www.realtek.com/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=13&PFid=21&Level=4&Conn=3
RTL8191SU - http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads...peID=3&GetDown=false&Downloads=true#RTL8188CE
http://www.realtek.com.tw/Downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PFid=7&Level=5&Conn=4&DownTypeID=3

NOTE: To download a *.deb file, go to “http://packages.ubuntu.com/” and search for “Realtek”.

Many Linux repos have a package called “firmware-realtek”. This contains various Realtek drivers. Be sure the system allows proprietary software and then install this package.

If source code is obtained, the compilation instructions are usually included. If not, then open a terminal in the source code directory. Next, type “make”. If the compilation is successful, then type “make install” with Root privileges to install the driver/module.

NOTE: When compiling on Debian-based systems, be sure the system has the needed developer's files by executing “apt-get install gcc build-essential linux-headers-generic linux-headers-$(uname -r)” with Root privileges.

Once a driver is obtained and properly installed, type “modprobe DRIVER-NAME” using Root privileges. This will load the driver. Rebooting the system is not required. However, some users may need to execute “rfkill unblock all” in a terminal (with Root privileges) to force all of the wireless devices to activate.

To be sure that the Realtek driver is active, open a terminal and type “lsmod | grep rtl”. The user should see the name of the needed driver.

If there are still problems, then check the links below.
https://blogs.fsfe.org/stefan.a/201...rivers_thinkpad_edge_13_on_ubuntu_natty_1104/

Final Notes
If the driver is not loaded after rebooting the system, then open “/etc/modules” with a text-editor using Root privileges and add the driver's name to the list.
 

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blackneos940

Guest
Wish I knew this when I first got my Inspiron..... :D Though, all I needed was an Ethernet Cable, so THAT'S cool..... :3
 
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Darren Hale

Guest
Good article Devyn. Yes Linux wireless support has come a long way some distros better than others with this Debian based seem to be the best and Ubuntu based especially those that use kernels like Siduction and Semplice where as others like Aptosid leave non-free out espousing freedom. However as you say downloading non-free is only a download away if you use ethernet to access the internet and download desired driver.
 
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LinuxFOR theGP

Guest
Thank you so much Devyn. I have spent the last week reading your guide to the Linux Kernel and then find a solution for my long standing wireless adapter losing connection issue. The links on this page made that possible.

I have been using Linux for about 10 years, initially as dual boot with Windows and now as dual boot with Sabayon and LinuxMint :):) I know nothing of programming but I'm starting to learn right now aiming to improve hardware detection and functionality. I realise this is a huge leap but what the heck, I like a challenge. Your guide has made me confident that I can do this.

For other newbies like myself:
The documents and files contained within the Linux Kernel source are worth 10,000 google searches!!!
 



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