Friday, February 22, 2008


I should not be the only one thirsty for this package, and now it is available! Combined with the recent kernel (2.6.24-r2), now I am free from ndiswrapper for my wireless. Without Gentoo linux, this should be harder. Once again, I appreciate Gentoo linux. In short, I used this wiki. But I had to compile b43-fwcutter version 011 myself because it was not on portage, yet.

I have waited for this to happen for around two years. My previous Dell E1505 and current Dell 1521 had both Dell 1390 wireless, which has bcm43xx type chip. Older kernel called this bcm4311 or Dell 1390 in lspci, but from 2.6.20 (I guess...) it is called bcm94311. Whenever I had spare time, I tried different method but to fail.
bcm43xx series were broken to work with me always. And it is a black box system. I just cut out the firmware file from tarball without knowing who made how. I tried windows version, openwrt version, etc. Since I am not a hardware expert, I could only use things available by other people. Once it is installed on my /lib/firmware, I always hoped to 'Please work...' Interfacing this with Linux kernel was even more tricky. But no kernel module were co-operating on my side. I tried wireless debug on and tried to trace where things were broken. But, failed point I found was always beyond my capability :( And went back to ndiswrapper with rough riding on wireless.
I used to succeed by using Ubuntu. Their bcm43xx somehow knew what combination worked. I bear with this for a while but gave up Ubuntu for my laptop. First, hibernate was broken on me. So I had to wait 3 minutes after turn-on. My battery lost about 5% of its capacity just for booting. Second, their solution pulled out only 5.5 Mbps. No duplex communication. Third, LCD brightness control was broken with Ubuntu. When I was working in my dark room, this 100% bright LCD not only ruined my eyes, but also sucked up my battery.

From kernel 2.6.24, broadcom wireless chip is introduced under network device driver as CONFIG_B43. In hand in hand, b43-fwcutter released new version (011) in February this year. Kernel interfacing is officially resolved, and if new b43-fwcutter-011 knows about this, my long fight would be over.
I was right and now my 'dhcpcd wlan0' smoothly loaded my wireless. Full bandwidth of 11Mbps. I was so happy and tried from reboot. Still working :) Bye rough ndiswrapper.

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