How to get the Broadcom wireless drivers working in Chromium OS

Update 16/12/13. Please Note: You need to use the special edition builds noted http://arnoldthebat.co.uk/wordpress/2013/12/16/broadcom-special-edition-build/ to use Broadcom drivers

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A shameless cobbling of the build files from http://linux.dell.com/files/cto/ leads to a fix for the Broadcom wireless issues!

As ever, boot your device and get to su command line  ([ Ctrl ] [ Alt ] [ F2 ]), log in as chronos and then:

sudo su
mount -o remount, rw /
sudo echo "blacklist b43" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
sudo echo "blacklist b43legacy" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
sudo echo "blacklist ssb" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
sudo echo "blacklist bcma" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
sudo echo "wl" >> /etc/modules
sudo touch /etc/modprobe.d/wl.conf
sudo echo "alias wlan0 wl" >> /etc/modprobe.d/wl.conf
cd /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/
wget http://chromium.arnoldthebat.co.uk/files/fw/lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko
sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko
sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/lib80211.ko
sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/lib80211_crypt_ccmp.ko
sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/lib80211_crypt_tkip.ko
sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/lib80211_crypt_wep.ko
sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko
sudo depmod -a

Wireless networks should start to miraculously appear and you can connect as required.

One minor gripe is that the driver doesn’t seem to like hidden SSID and bombs out when attaching to them. Other that that it seems to work fine!

Huge thanks to Doug Anson @ Dell for providing the driver.

As per the readme located http://www.broadcom.com/docs/linux_sta/README.txt a good few variants should be supported. As ever, its tested on a Dell Inspiron 910 only (Mini 9)!

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182 thoughts on “How to get the Broadcom wireless drivers working in Chromium OS”

  1. Hi, Arnoldthebat.
    How to build broadcom-sta driver ? Have a tutorial?

    I have downloaded broadcom-sta package from gentoo, and put it in ~/trunk/src/third_party/portage-stable/net-wireless/broadcom-sta/

    run emerge-amd64-generic net-wireless/broadcom-sta , but it don’t work.

    1. Broadcom wiffi on HP Stream

      There is an issue with the standard windows driver turning off the wifi as part of an energy saving measure.

      For my install of windows 10 I had problems with it dropping the wifi which were mostly resolved by unticking the box to use this energy saving feature.

      I THINK?? that I am having the same problem in your special build of Chrome OS. Is there a way to access the special features of the driver and turn off energy saving?

      Thanks for all of your wonderful work on this project!

  2. Any thoughts why I can connect to an unsecured wifi network, but can not connect to a wpa2 wifi network? My password is correct, but I get a “Bad Password” error when I try to connect.

    1. I am having the same issue. I got the Wi-Fi working. I said join other network. I put in the network name, Security: PSK (WPA or RSN) then the password. It tries to connect to the hidden network but It comes back and ask to join WI-FI network but will not let me type anything in for the password. Did you get this solved??

        1. Hey Arnold,

          is the Broadcom wireless version available yet? I have an old HP mini i’d like to try this on, but i would like to use the latest build available. Thanks.

          1. Did you get this working on an HP Mini? I got the touchpad working, been working on getting the wifi, or even ethernet working for days with no progress.

            Thanks in advance

          2. I finally got it working using the Broadcom 3.4.0 build. Though I had to do it a around about way, since the scripts above require network access, which I didn’t have at the time. So I had to download the files on to a flash drive using another PC.

          3. Did you release the new broadcom version yet. It looks like you were working on it in April.

        2. im trying to put chromium on a dell inspiron e1405
          when i put it on flash drive and boot it, the wireless doesnt work but everything else does, can you put in a driver for it please?

  3. Hi arnold! I have been messing around with Chrome OS and I have successfully managed to get the broadcom special edition build running on my Inspiron Mini 10v but I can’t manage to get the wireless card to work! “My wireless card is a Dell Wireless WLAN 1397 Half MiniCard” can you put that driver into the build or at least explain how?
    P.S. Note I’m only 14, so excuse my lack of knowledge! Also note that ethernet works fine! Thanks in advance!

  4. I have a couple of questions about the Broadcom drivers and the Chromium builds.
    1) Do the Broadcom drivers only work for the special builds, or will they work with any daily x86/x64 build? If not, is there a version of the drivers for the 3.14.0 kernel? I tried replacing every 3.4 with 3.14 for the commands, but WiFi wasn’t working when they finished.
    2) Will there be an update for the special builds, if the drivers only work for them? I’m eager to try out the new features of Chromium, and the Crouton script doesn’t appear to work for the special build in January (although it did work in a recent daily x64 build).
    3) If there isn’t an update for the special builds, and the drivers only work for them and not the daily/weekly builds, will there be an x64 version of the special builds? I ask because I’m running a Dell Latitude E6520 with UEFI support, and I’m planning to triple-boot a Chromium build with both Windows 7 and Windows 8(.1).

    1. 1. They only work with special builds since the kernel needs RFKIll switches building into the kernel.
      2. Yes. Please be patient!
      3. One thing at a time. I need to try to automate the special builds then you get more updates rather than the current 6 month cycle!

  5. How do you get the file through a proxy? I don’t have much command line knowledge. Or if I download the file and navigate to it? I cannot see /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/
    i see /lib/modules/3.13.0-32-generic/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/ but can’t paste the file in

    That said, your builds seem to be the only ones that are proxy friendly, thanks!

  6. I recently tried this for my Dell Wireless 1390 WLAN Mini-Card and was surprised it didn’t work, since I was under the impression it uses Broadcom drivers when installed on a Linux OS, any clues why it didn’t work?

    PS Thank you for the everything you’ve done with Chromium OS.

  7. Hi, first time dealing with Chromium os. I download and install the special broadcom build on my usb. When I try booting it on my Compaq Mini Netbook it doesn’t load the graphics, I can open commands but cannot run them, This happens with the hexxeh build as well and lime. When I try it with the latest “Non-Latest” build it works fine but wireless does not work, is it possible to install drivers on the regular builds? Thanks.

  8. I got a error msg : Bash: cd: /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/wget : No such file or directory

    Any idea to fix that??

    Thanks

  9. Hi Arnold,
    I am booting my Dell Latitude D620 with Cx86OS_R33-5111 build from USB stick. After the ‘chromium’ message, the screen goes blank.
    Could this due to incompatible hardware with the build?
    Is there another build that would work?
    Display: 256MB NVIDIA Quadro NVS 110M
    WLAN: Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g
    Thank you!

  10. /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless : no such file or directory

    Can you help me?

    I’m tryin to set the broadcom drivers, to be able to install chromium os, but when i get to this point i can’t continue.

  11. Very rarely am I able to get things like this to work based on entering a lot of archaic commands (have never been a command line user)… but it actually worked for me! However, after rebooting the system, WiFi wasn’t working and I had to redo all the steps. Any ideas to make it stick?

        1. Hi

          “sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.14.0/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko” results in “insmod: ERROR: could not insert module cfg80211.ko: File exists”
          Other “insmod” work, except “sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.14.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko” (downloaded from http://chromium.arnoldthebat.co.uk/files/fw/lib/modules/3.14.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/) which gives me “insmod: ERROR: could not insert module wl.ko: Invalid module format”

          Any help would be much appreciated.

          Thanks.

        2. So it does! The special builds ‘should’ support that then since thats what Im compiling against. My mistake since I searched badly before!

          If not, can you paste the output of dmesg please once booted to graphics

          1. Are you sure thats the special build? /mnt/host/source/src/third_party/kernel/v3.14/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/intel_display.c looks like the daily build…

  12. Hi Arnold,

    I am 10 years and installed the special build from the weekly folder in my Dell Mini 10 that was given to me. I have been trying hard to follow the instructions here to get wifi going. There are a lot of steps and questions but I can’t tell what is the best steps for the present.

    Any advice would help me.. Thank you for your hard work cuz this stuff is not easy for me. . . . I really am trying hard to understand so I have a computer of my own to take to school. . thank you thank you!

    Danny

    1. Oh yes. Is there maybe a single script I can run that will set things up right for my Dell mini 10? Or is it not that simple? Thank you thank you!!! I am just a kid but learning!

    2. Hi Danny

      The special builds remove the need for you to try to fix wireless. It should just work on Broadcom

      Could you post the output of dmesg to pastebin so I could review?

  13. Hey Arnold,

    I’m trying to run one of the special builds and, while other builds couldn’t find any wireless networks, the special build finds them. However, once I click on my network to connect, the computer freezes and I cannot select anything else. The cursor can still be moved and I can exit out to a blank grey screen by pressing escape, but I cannot sign into the computer or chromium. Any ideas on how to fix this? Thanks

      1. Thanks for replying, when I try to acess the /var/log/messages I get a response that says my permission is denied. Perhaps I should try an older special build?

  14. Hiya. I just found that after letting an Acer eMachine EM355 upgrade to a later build it killed the wifi. The wlan0 interface was showing up with an address of 192.168.0.254, but not actually auth’d to my wifi. If I kill the thread that apmanager was on, the wifi immediately connected, and in /var/log/messages there were a lot of messages from apmanager saying that wlan0 was already connected. I’ve just remounted / to rw and moved the apmanager file out of /etc/init then rebooted, and wifi is back up and running. Thought you’d like to know – I still have no idea why apmanager had done this – it’s done it to other hardware I have so will try the same thing with them.

  15. no matter what build i use when I try to get the wireless working I input the commands when I get to “cd /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless” I get: “bash: cd /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless: No such file or directory

    Help please!!!!

  16. Help!
    *When trying to insert module*

    sudo insmod/lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko

    *It appears*
    insmod: ERROR: could not insert module /lib/modules/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko: File exists

    Thanks

  17. Is there any way to get this working on a daily build without resorting to using the specials? Given the nightlies are always running, I want to use then and knock up a script that I can run whenever I do an update to get the driver working again (can run using my LAN connection which is working).

    Using the nightlies, i have tried the above script (but using the 3.14.0 version links) and it fails with an invalid ko module, which has been mentioned earlier.

    Any ideas?

    1. Ok, so the reason the wl.ko module is failing is because (from the dmesg output), it is expecting “3.14.0 SMP preempt mod_unload 686”, but the wl.ko file on the site that you download for 3.14.0 is “3.14.0 SMP mod_unload 686”. Arnold, anyway of uploading or building the module that is suitable for the latest nightlies/weeklies on 3.14.0?

      Thanks

      1. No need to worry about this. I managed to find the firmware files for the b43 driver (wink, they need to be extracted from the drivers, but i found them without having to do that, wink). I dropped them into the correct folder, and the 4312 card is now working after a mod probe. I can now use the nightlies instead of the special builds on the dell insipron mini 1011 that I have. Result.

  18. Bonjour. I have just tried to programme your 16.12.2013 patch for wireless drivers, to be blocked by a No such directory message for lib modules 3.4.0. However, I have a more recent version of Chromium, 58.0.3029.140. Is there a patch I can download to fix the wifi drivers for this version ? The machine is a HP Mini 210-1190CA, and the problem is that the Wifi activate button will not work. I am working with the Mini now, the Ethernet works fine, so I can dowload directly to the computer. Thank you !

  19. This is old stuff and no longer works. The kernel modules directory is now at 4.4.64 (instead of 3.4.0); but even after adjusting it for that, it still doesn’t work. The “wget” command returns a 404 “page not found” error, and does not fetch any drivers. It needs to be updated. This is a serious fault with Chromium OS. It works with a wired connection, but not with wireless/WiFi.

    1. P.S. Just to add more, what I need to get this thing to work is a driver for a Realtek 802.11n USB WiFi adapter, not a Broadcom driver. The device came with a CD with drivers for Windows and Linux on it. The Windows driver is a simple executable file which is easy to install; but the Linux version is more complicated. The USB adapter is several years old, and a more up-to-date driver for it exists on the Realtek website, but I don’t know how to install it on Chromium OS.

      I have had problems getting it to work with other versions of Linux as well. I have tried it with the latest version of Linux Mint. It identifies the device correctly during the installation process, and uses it to download all the updates while it is being installed; but after the installation is finished and it reboots, it doesn’t work anymore. I tried it with Debian Linux, and exactly the same thing happened. It identifies the device correctly during the installation process, and uses it to download all the latest updates as it is being installed; but after the installation is complete, it doesn’t work anymore. Needless to say, the Windows version works without a problem.

      I am using it on a low spec 64bit Dell Optiplex 780 PC. It is perfectly adequate to run the OSs, but the USB WiFi adapter doesn’t work properly on any version of Linux I have tried. It works during the installation process, and uses it to download all the latest updates as it is being installed, but after that it doesn’t work anymore.

  20. Why is it that all versions of Linux, including Chromium OS, have so much trouble connecting to the Internet through WiFi? There is so much brains out there, so why can’t they fix it properly once for all? As far as I know, Realtek drivers are even Open Source, so there shouldn’t be a problem from that point of view. Like I said, it works great during the installation, but it doesn’t work afterwards! If they can get it to work while the OS is being installed, why can’t they get it to work after the it has been installed? And with Chromium OS of course, it doesn’t work at all!

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