BROADCOM wireless drivers

Latest response

Today I want to share some good news for those users having a BROADCOM WLAN adapter in their machines ... until now we had to build the drivers manually by building the kmod-wl module ourselves. This is not longer necessary, because RPM Fusion now provides an akmod-wl drivers module for RHEL. All we have to do is add/enable some repositories and install the drivers. A big improvement (as a side effect) is, that the drivers don't have to be reinstalled after each major kernel upgrade. Thanks to the RPM Fusion maintainers for providing this convenient solution.

sudo subscription-manager repos --enable rhel-7-server-extras-rpms
sudo subscription-manager repos --enable rhel-7-server-optional-rpms

sudo rpm -Uvh https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm
sudo rpm -Uvh https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/el/rpmfusion-free-release-7.noarch.rpm
sudo rpm -Uvh https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/el/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-7.noarch.rpm

sudo yum update
sudo yum install akmod-wl

Regards,
Christian

Responses

Hi Christian,

It is a great step forward, the next step would be to get it directly in a Red Hat repository and get Red Hat support. I could open a RFE for that.

Regards,

Jan Gerrit

Hi Jan Gerrit,

I don't think that we'll see these drivers in the official Red Hat repositories, because they are proprietary software. :)

Regards,
Christian

Hi Christian,

To get an official response I opened a Red Hat case off type RfE https://access.redhat.com/support/cases/#/case/02360410

Regards,

Jan Gerrit Kootstra

Thank you Jan Gerrit ! Well, it's a similar situation as with the NVIDIA drivers - I'm excited to see what happens ... :)

Regards,
Christian

Hi all.

I'll write the same answer here that I gave Jan on the support case.

The wl driver (also known as the Broadcom STA driver) is closed source, so we wouldn't package it for RHEL.

For us to accept this feature enhancement, the vendor who currently owns the rights to this device would have to supply the driver to the upstream Linux kernel under the GPL. Then we would consider pulling the driver back into the RHEL kernel.

You are welcome to write to your hardware vendor and express your desire for this to happen.

Broadcom did add support for some of the wl/STA devices to their bcma/brcmsmac driver. These are discussed at:

Hi Jamie,

Thank you for clarification and for your explanation ... which confirms the arguments in my responses to Jan Gerrit.
Being aware of these arguments was the main reason to provide the news about the availability from RPM Fusion. :)

Regards,
Christian

One question Jamie, why can't I find the mentioned bcma/brcmsmac drivers with the Red Hat Package Browser ? :)

Regards,
Christian

Those drivers are part of the kernel. You can see the kernel modules by the modinfo command like so,

$ modinfo bcma | grep filename
filename:       /lib/modules/3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64/kernel/drivers/bcma/bcma.ko.xz
$ modinfo brcmsmac | grep filename
filename:       /lib/modules/3.10.0-957.10.1.el7.x86_64/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/broadcom/brcm80211/brcmsmac/brcmsmac.ko.xz

Thank you very much for this, Akemi - I didn't know it ... my BCM4322 chip was never detected.
So I must have misinterpreted the information Jamie provided : I thought the drivers have to be installed additionally. Now it's clear that the (built-in) kernel drivers don't work with my adapter.

Cheers :)
Christian

Hi Jamie,

Thanks for the response here and via the support case.

Regards,

Jan Gerrit