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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Learn how to sort your own Broadcom Wifi out in Meego

For as long as I have used Linux on my netbook (ie since I got it as it came with Kubuntu pre installed and windoze free!) the broadcom wireless has always been a pain whether in Ubuntu or Moblin or Meego.

For well over a year now I have followed what was a fool proof method on Slaine.org where Glen has provided an up to date guide and download for people whether on Moblin or Meego. Many thanks once again for this as it has helped me out ever since.

There have been some help on the forums with this and others have kindly provided downloads of one sort or another via the community repo for Meego or individuals uploading their file very kindly.

However all of these leave me reliant and dreading the day (as just happened) when a new kernel arrives and the older wifi wl-ko file becomes obsolete. I have put off learning how to do this so this last time I got a kernel upgrade proving Meego ain't dead (thanks Intel) but rendering my wifi dead. Rather than go back to Slaine I thought I would learn to do it myself.

Several minutes later I had done it and I will show you how to do it yourself so giving you a new skill in Meego.


First some facts

1 I had just updated the kernel to a new version (version 14 from 12)after running
sudo zypper dist-upgrade  in a terminal.

2 This rendered the wifi dead and so I needed to rebuild from scratch.

3 I had to be wired in to carry this out (as the wifi was dead)

4 I am not going to give you direct download links as they are constantly updated and therefore become out of date on Broadcoms site

5 I will try to type all terminal commands in italics for you.

6 You will have already have or need to make you netbook ready to do building from source code (if you have not done this already open a terminal and type

sudo zypper install make gcc diffutils kernel-netbook-devel patch

This can/will take a long time but future proofs your netbook for when you need to do stuff like this again.

7 You will need to find the name of the kernel your netbook is using by typing
uname -r

How to do it

First we need to go to Broadcom who do (much to peoples lack of awareness) provide the actual driver for your wireless and update it for new kernels

I could give you the link for the file but this could change tomorrow so go instead to the Broadcom Linux website where the latest driver is there for you.

Broadcom Linux Website 

or if you want to copy and paste to your browser

First trick, add this website to your bookmarks, when the driver updates ...you will have the link to the latest driver.

Read their read me as it tells you exactly how to compile them but unlike this blog it does not have fancy pictures or nice fonts (as it is just a text file)

So. Now you have read their guide, download the driver which is in a compressed folder and save it in your Download folders

Open a terminal up and move into the Downloads folder by typing
cd Downloads

Find the correct name of the new linux wifi driver by typing

This will show you the name of the compress file which ever version it is something like linux_sta/hybrid-portsrc_x86_32-v5_NEWVERSION.tar.gz
again it is pointless me giving you a name that will change.

Select and Copy this name in the list on your terminal
Then you need to make a temporary folder to work in
mkdir hybrid_wl

Move into that folder

cd hybrid_wl

Now you will need to extract the folder by typing
tar xzf /home/insertyourusername*/Downloads/rightclickand paste the name your copy of the tar.gz (see  above)

Now you have downloaded and extracted the latest version of the linux broadcom driver you can now build it. It will not take long.Type

make clean



Watch and you will see this will physically BUILD your new wifi driver called wl-ko 

Now you need to copy this into the kernels wireless folders (see point 7 above)
sudo cp wl.ko /lib/modules/(kernel version in use)-netbook/kernel/net/wireless/

This is copying to your new kernels wireless folder

Then type

sudo depmod -a

This sorts your kernel to reflect the new wl.ko driver

Then tell your netbook to use this

sudo modprobe wl

You should notice straight away now in your network panel that you have wifi..go and check.

YOU have successfully built your own wireless and NEXT TIME you can do this quite quickly and easily yourself.

It is actually quite quick to do and I managed it from scratch with not many commands (if you are not sure then either leave it or look at the history of what I did for mine which is here. All the commands I entered are highlighted below from 982 onwards til when I rebooted at 994.

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

What does all of that mean then?

As a summary of what you are doing go back and re read the guide and understand the following quicker guide for when the kernel in use was and the broadcom wifi was V5_100_82_38

Instructions in italic Explanation in bold

wget http://www.broadcom.com/docs/linux_sta/hybrid-portsrc_x86_32-v5_100_82_38.tar.gz
Downloads the current driver directly from Broadcom

mkdir hybrid_wl
Creates a new folder to dump your built driver into called hybrid_wl
cd hybrid_wl
Gets into that folder

tar xzf /home/insertyourusername*/Downloads/hybrid-portsrc_x86_32-v5_100_82_38.tar.gz
Uncompresses your file

make clean
Sets up the netbook to make some source code

Builds your wifi drivers in front of your eyes! 

sudo cp wl.ko /lib/modules/
Copies your new wl.ko file (driver!) in the correct kernels wireless folder 

sudo depmod -a
Sets it up

sudo modprobe wl
Switches it on !




Bill said...

just used your guide and it worked great. have always had trouble after installs and updates in meego with wifi and slains guide doesn't seem to work after updates. Will use this method from now on.

Have HP Mini 1120NR

Andy said...

Great. Always good to hear.

I too have been dreading the day Slaines Guide never worked which it usually did and I want to be more self reliant and future proof my wifi by being able to fix it myself

Now when (note not if!) it breaks again after an upgraded kernel I can hopefully now fix it myself with the latest driver.

Good luck for the future ...as it will be your method from now on.....

BTW did you read the Read Me from Broadcom...now I have done it myself it actually makes sense (guess it should do really as they built it ;)

Have a look through if you haven't already,...

Andy said...

I did not realise for instance that this release is back wards compatible...ie should work for older releases..which is good news

Bill said...

Would you be willing to give me some tips on some other things I am trying to sort out with meego. I've searched and posted on meego community forum, but you seem to have simliar netbook and thinking. Don't want put you out though...things include accessing windows network files, printing to windows printer over network connected win7 pc, creating custom shortcut/action attached to a key on keyboard, having trouble accessing disk utility to format usb hard drive...thats all i can think of for now. No matter what thanks for the wifi help.

I have a HP Mini 1120NR with 16GB SSD, 4GB Proprietary USB Drive, 8GB HCSD Memory Disk...

Or at least reference me to someone who wants to figure a simple problem for a novice. Thanks

Andy's Blue Note World said...

of course for a HUGE fat fee :) Only joking. Email me at andyATbleaden.freeserve.co.uk or try to skype me or instant message using the links on the forum.

As for your issues
Accessing windows drives..it worked for me from the pen drive until i installed it ...grrr!
I have no windows drives here at home only ubuntu desktop etc but still do not understand it that well and yet others have fixed it here


But it never worked for me..mostly because I do not understand samba as this thread showed but others do.

I never print much at home but these guys seemed to understand printer things


As for shortcuts profebral seemed to get the hang of them here


Now I can format usb drives myself although if you mean pen drives I always use this instruction in the terminal

sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdb1

if like me you have not got a clue about what this does...fear not..it has works and formats (wipes) the pen drive to a vfat option but you can substitute ext4 or ext3 or btrfs I guess for vfat

You may have to unmount the pen drive
sudo umount /dev/sdb1

You may also find yours is called sdb not sdb1 so try that

There is a more general linux guide here


and finally never worry about asking for help..thats is how (except by trial and lots of error) I learnt and why I do these blogs

Anyway see how you get on and contact me directly anytime..I can always say I dont know

Ninja said...

i am dying here. I have issues when trying to make clean. Here is the error i get:

[Ninja@Ninja-desktop hybrid_wl]$ make clean
KBUILD_NOPEDANTIC=1 make -C /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build M=`pwd` clean
make: *** /lib/modules/ No such file or directory. Stop.
make: *** [clean] Error 2

any ideas? thanks a lot

Andy's Blue Note World said...

ok ninja
It is easy to get unstuck
Have you upgraded /updated your pc

Can you post back here the results of
uname -r


tom said...

I'm t0m from meego forum,
can I ask you if, by chance, you still have a v5.60 broadcom driver?
I firmly believe BCM4312 (14e4:4311), i.e. my, problem resides in v5.100-

thank you