The bcm43xx drivers ("bcm43xx" in mainline kernels, "bcm43xx-mac80211" in wireless-dev) are drivers for the 802.11 B/G family of wireless chips [http://broadcom.com/products/Wireless-LAN Broadcom] produces.
Currently, 4311/4312 PCI-E devices as well as devices based on the 4318 chip family have transmission power issues. This is being worked on and good progress is reported.
All Broadcom chips require firmware that is loaded onto the wireless chip before it can operate. [#firmware See below].
There are also USB devices based on Broadcom chips, these are not supported at all!
- all newer revisions supported (built after about Jan 2005)
- old revisions partially supported. Lacks some features like hw-crypto.
- bcm4311 / bcm4312 (Major transmission power issues)
- bcm4318 (Major transmission power issues)
- The 802.11a part of the 4309 and 4312 is not supported.
Please see the ["en/users/Drivers/bcm43xx/devices" device list].
- Station mode
- Access Point mode (although not tested very well).
- Ad-Hoc (IBSS) mode
- Monitor and Promisc mode.
- "Monitor while operating" and multiple monitor interfaces.
- In-Hardware traffic de/encryption (relieves your CPU).
- LEDs to signal card state and traffic.
- Probably something we forgot to add here.
not working yet
- In-Hardware MAC address filter.
- Interference mitigation.
- Bluetooth coexistance (most code implemented, but untested)
- Probably something else that's not listed under "Works".
The Broadcom wireless chip needs software that runs on the wireless chip itself during operation. This software is called "firmware". Currently only Closed Source firmware is available, that must be extracted from Broadcom's proprietary drivers. The driver files containing the officially supported bcm43xx firmware are:
- For the SoftMAC based bcm43xx driver (2.6.x mainline kernel):
- For the mac80211 based bcm43xx driver ("wireless-dev" development kernel):
You must extract the firmware out of these proprietary driver files by using [http://linuxwireless.org/download/bcm43xx/fwcutter/bcm43xx-fwcutter.tar.bz2 fwcutter]
Please note that the firmware from the binary drivers is Copyrighted by Broadcom Corporation and must not be redistributed.
A tool for the modification of the Broadcom Sonics Silicon Backplane SPROM (e.g. you can permanently change the MAC address or the PCI IDs of your wireless card – useful on some (e.g. Compaq/HP) laptops where the BIOS checks these at boot.