NOTE: this page is for archival only, see the note at the end of the page.

b43 and b43legacy

The b43 drivers (bcm43xx in mainline kernels, b43 and b43legacy in wireless-dev) are drivers for the 802.11 B/G family of wireless chips [ 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!

supported chips


  • bcm4306
    • all newer revisions supported (built after about Jan 2005)
    • old revisions partially supported. Lacks some features like hw-crypto.

partially supported

  • bcm4311 / bcm4312 (Major transmission power issues)
  • bcm4318 (Major transmission power issues)


  • The 802.11a part of the 4309 and 4312 is not supported.

available devices

Please see the ["/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.
  • In-Hardware MAC address filter.
  • Probably something we forgot to add here.

not working yet

  • Interference mitigation.
  • Bluetooth coexistance (most code implemented, but untested)
  • Probably something else that's not listed under "Works".


device firmware

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 b43 firmware are:

You must extract the firmware out of these proprietary driver files by using the "fwcutter" tool. There are currently two versions of the tool, [ bcm43xx-fwcutter] for the bcm43xx/bcm43xx-mac80211 driver and [ b43-fwcutter] for the new b43 and b43legacy drivers.

Please note that the firmware from the binary drivers is Copyrighted by Broadcom Corporation and must not be redistributed.

related tools

external links

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