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

Broadcom brcmsmac (mac80211-based softmac PCIe) and brcmfmac (SDIO) drivers

  • Completely open source host drivers, no binary object files.
  • Framework for supporting new chips, including mac80211-aware embedded chips
  • Does not support older PCI/PCIe chips with SSB backplane

Supported Chips

brcmsmac (PCIe/AXI):


PCI Device ID







brcmfmac (SDIO):


Both brcmsmac and brcmfmac drivers require firmware files that need to be separately downloaded. Firmware is available from the Linux firmware repository at:

Broadcom brcmsmac driver

  • Support for both 32 and 64 bit Linux kernels

Firmware installation

Copy brcm/bcm43xx-0.fw and brcm/bcm43xx_hdr-0.fw to /lib/firmware/brcm (or wherever firmware is normally installed on your system).

Broadcom brcmfmac driver

  • Support for 32 bit Linux kernel, 64 bit untested

Firmware installation

Copy brcm/bcm4329-fullmac-4.bin and brcm/bcm4329-fullmac-4.txt to /lib/firmware/brcm (or wherever firmware is normally installed on your system).

Contact Info

Brett Rudley

Henry Ptasinski

Roland Vossen

Arend van Spriel

Franky Lin

Kan Yan

Developer information


  • On-chip firmware loaded using standard request_firmware()
  • Uses minstrel_ht rate algorithm
  • HW based encryption not enabled yet
  • Infrastructure for future chips in place.
  • AMPDU support
  • many software, ucode and phy/radio counters available.

fullmac driver specifics

  • Integration with cfg80211 stack
  • Most of Mac functionality is performed on chip

Get the code

The driver is currently available in staging-next branch of the staging tree, available at:


The driver is also available in the 2.6.38 and newer kernels. When using 'make menuconfig' it can be accessed:

Location: -> Device Drivers

  • -> Staging drivers

    • -> Exclude Staging drivers from being built

      • -> Broadcom IEEE802.11n WLAN drivers

        • -> Broadcom IEEE802.11n driver style

Things to be done before getting into mainline

See the TODO file

To be done once softmac driver is in mainline

  • Add support for
    • RFKill
    • 40MHz channels
    • powersave
    • debugfs (for accessing counters and other diagnostic info)
    • monitor mode
    • IBSS
    • AP
    • LED support
    • HW-based encryption
    • Add support for more chips, including (near term) BCM43227, BCM43228, and BCM4331. Support for additional new chips to follow.

To be done once fullmac driver is in mainline

  • Add support for
    • RFKill
    • debugfs (for accessing counters and other diagnostic info)
    • monitor mode
    • USB support
    • Add support for more chips.

Regulatory Implementation

This generation of chips contain additional regulatory support independent of the driver. The devices use a single worldwide regulatory domain, with channels 12-14 (2.4 GHz band) and channels 52-64 and 100-140 (5 GHz band) restricted to passive operation. Transmission on those channels is suppressed until appropriate other traffic is observed on those channels. Within the driver, we use the ficticious country code "X2" to represent this worldwide regulatory domain. There is currently no interface to configure a different domain. The driver reads the SROM country code from the chip and hands it up to mac80211 as the regulatory hint, however this information is otherwise unused with the driver.

Mainline patches

Add latest sources to wireless-testing:drivers/net/wireless:


Update wireless-testing:drivers/staging/brcm80211 then git mv to drivers/net/wireless:

0001-wireless-testing-update-drivers-staging-brcm80211.patch 0002-wireless-testing-add-brcm80211.patch

Patch v2: 0001-wireless-testing-update-drivers-staging-brcm80211-v2.patch

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