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 to use Broadcom drivers


A shameless cobbling of the build files from 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/
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 a good few variants should be supported. As ever, its tested on a Dell Inspiron 910 only (Mini 9)!

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

  1. Hi, Thanks for this post so that I can have my Dell Latitude E5410 wireless card works successfully(on the Vanilla Chromium OS build 2013.1.7 from hexxeh).
    But I can’t go through this guide on the latest chromium OS build (2013.2.28) from hexxeh,
    once insmod the wl.ko, my computer reboots, everytime. All the above commands running successfully.
    So.. any suggestion?
    Thank you very much!

  2. Everything seems work until it told me “resolving…failed:Temporary failure in name resolution. wget: unable to resolve host address ‘’

    WHAt now???

      1. Still not working,,,, the ethernet line not even flashing while plugged into my can’t connect to internet

          1. Hi, I’m very sorry for bringing up this old discussion but I’m a complete command newb. This is my first time using linux and I don’t know what to do. I booted your Broadcom-specific IMG from a USB onto my sister’s old netbook, a Acer eMachines 355, which has the exact same ethernet card as Wakan Yu, therefore I’m not able to connect to an ethernet cable to setup chrome OS. I downloaded the two files you linked ( and copied them on a different USB key than the bootable one. now whe I boot my netbook and connect the key with the two files, how do I copy those files where they have to be? I can press Ctrl+Alt+F2 and open a command prompt, log in as chronos user and do cd /media and then ls. From here only one name appears, “archive removable”. How do I proceed from here?

  3. I run to the 17 step, system reboot automaticly..after restart, the wifi was enabled,but when I connect to it, error’Out of range’ accurred,I don’t know how to solve it.

  4. Hey i was wondering if thos could work with hexxeh’s build because i’ve already installed that to my hard drive and it would be so much trouble to migrate my things again.

  5. Couple of errors. I downloaded wl.ko from and copied from a 2nd USB drive (booting Chromium from the first).

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

    insmod: error inserting ‘/lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko’ : -1 File exists

    On command:
    sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko

    insmod: error inserting ‘/lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko’ : -1 Invalid module format

    On command:
    sudo depmod -a

    WARNING: Couldn’t find symtab and strtab in module /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko

    Thanks for taking a look!

    1. Hi Kate
      See the main post for the latest update. Feel free to have a go at solving it but unless I have a eureka moment soon, it’s dead and buried. Simply not worth investing so much time to get it working when I can buy internal or external working wireless so cheaply.

  6. It doesnt seem to work, even if I install the modules, it keeps throwing the following error: “insmod: error inserting ‘wl.ko’: -1 Unknown symbol in module”

    1. Hi FCO
      See the main post for the latest update. Feel free to have a go at solving it but unless I have a eureka moment soon, it’s dead and buried. Simply not worth investing so much time to get it working when I can buy internal or external working wireless so cheaply.

  7. I’ve been attempting to load the drivers and have moved along through most of the steps with many false ones along the way. Most of the problems were my fault, lacking some basic understanding of how the Chrome OS package comes together. So now I’m stuck at the last bit, which may have to do with the first bit.
    I don’t have permission to alter the kernel files, because I couldn’t figure out the password for the developer user id. I went through CMD ALT T, instead of the CMD ALT F2, and used SUDO because I couldn’t find the password for the chronos userid. Ultimately, got everything to the USB, but could alter the Kernel.

    User ID’s tried included Dell (dell1234), chronos (all sorts of different password attempts, including no pass word), and so on.

    So definitely stuck – yet so close…. Ideas would be helpful.

  8. hi,

    i just download new chromeOS, and seems failed to run insmod/wl.ko due versioning issues.
    new chrome OS come with modules/3.6.5-10-default/ instead 3.4.
    any idea where i can download the new compatible wl.ko.. ?

  9. I am just running a really old notebook and want to connect via Ethernet in Chromium OS.
    I found out that it’s using a
    Marvell Technology Group Ltd. 88E8055
    which is loaded as sky2
    in ArchLinux, any clou, how to get this running in Chromium OS?

  10. You say that the Edimax 7811UN works but it doesn’t on my ASUS 1015 PEM. Same ol’, sam ol’. No wireless adapter found from the first Chrome OS setup page.

    The Edimax works ok from Windows so it’s not a USB port problem. Any ideas?

  11. insmod: error instertin “/lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko”: -1 file exists
    same for lib80211.ko and an error for wl.ko (whih i expect because I cant get these working)

    Any help?

  12. So I have a Dell Mini 10V and have been trying to get it “chromed”.
    Thanks for any reply forthcomings from Arnold or anyone else.

    I’ve tried 2 installers (and in a nutshell):
    1. Arnold’s 11092013 release-
    Pro? Touchpad works
    Con? Wireless doesn’t work

    2. ‘s –
    Pro? Wireless works
    Con? Touchpad desn’t work

    So to cut along story short, I’ve put install 2, and copied the mouse.conf from 1.Arnold’s install onto it.
    So now I have a skippy mouse (which I think can be “tuned”) by some careful adjusting of the values.

    I’ve now found 2 other problems which manifest in both installs:
    1. Neither of the installers actually shut down. The screen just goes blank, no longer back lit but the fan is still spinning. I have to force shutdown by pressing and holding the power button.

    2. When I close the lid, the Mini 10V doesn’t recover upon reopening.

    I’ve done the usual searches but no one seems to be having these problems?

    Hello world…
    Help please?

  13. I’m getting the same error as Brad:

    nsmod: error instertin “/lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko”: -1 file exists
    same for lib80211.ko and an error for wl.ko (whih i expect because I cant get these working)

    I also get an error on the sudo insmod …/wl.ko:
    “insmod: error inserting ‘wl.ko’: -1 Unknown symbol in module”

    1. That second error is a known problem due to the rfkill modules in the default library. Ive managed to build a version that allows the module to load but wireless is still dead so more work required.

  14. Thank you for the great information about chromium.
    Please let me ask two questions about my problems running chromium on my Lenovo S12 notebook:

    1. Wifi is not working because of the broadcom chip. I agree that too much work are not worth until i can buy cheap working wireless modules. I want to know which cheap (most likely internal) module i could buy which will work in addition to the problem that lenovo notebooks only accept from lenovo certified modules.

    2. The touchpad is not working too at the Lenovo S12 notebook. Are there any additional infos to to get the touchpad working?

    In the hope that my english is readable for you I leave with thanks for answering.

  15. Any reason I cannot remount the drive? It asks me to specify a filesystem type. I use ext4. It just complains that it can’t do it. Do I have to be in developer mode?

    I’m not using an official release but one of the nightly builds.


  16. Hi Arnold,

    Thanks for all the hard work you’ve done on this! I wonder if you have any tips for getting a Realtek RTL8188CE wifi card to work with Chromium OS. I haven’t been able to get it to interface at all, and even through ethernet it won’t connect. Any ideas for us sad and lonely Realtek users?


  17. Thank you for this website! I was able to get an old hp compaq 6715 working with your build and notes/scripts about getting the touchpad and flash codec loaded. BUT like many others, my broadcom wireless device (dev id 4312) will not work. I am new to the chromium world and before I dive into the firmware/lunix notes from the broadcom website. I wanted your opinion about how complex it is to add the correct ko file/settings to an existing build. Could someone who knows basic commands and was able to use other peoples work get it done? I work at a school and I have about 30 hp 6715 laptops that could be used by students if I am able to get chromium up and running. I don’t mind digging in, but I am afraid since I haven’t found a solution, that it may be beyond my level of understanding. Thanks for your time!

    1. Hi there

      The addition of adding the wl.ko file is detailed in the post above, but seems to have stopped working some time ago due to the rfkill requirement within the module itself. If you can bear with me until Monday, I am looking on testing a new special edition build that hopefully will fix this.

      Meanwhile, have a look for some older builds from Dell that may help you get going with the wireless you have now.

      And thank you for the beer donation as well!!

  18. I have a HP Mini 100-3100. I’ve tried a few versions of ChromiumOS, but cannot get WIFI to work. I’m not sure what WIFI card I have, but it’s obviously is not compatible. What would you recommend? I don’t mind buying a new wifi card, but need a suggestion on which one to get (that will definitely work). If I go this route, is a wifi card difficult to install? Thank You!

    1. Ok, AR8152 needs atl1c. I’ve compiled it and lspci now shows “Kernel modules”, but module itself and driver aren’t registred so still nothing 🙁

  19. Hi,

    Great site – very useful information! I tried the realtek driver and it wouldn’t install with insmod.

    DMESG (roughly)

    Unknown symbol ieee80211_start_tx_ba_cb_irqsafe
    With around another 18 similar lines

    Also tried but that didn’t work.

    Netbook is a advent 4211-b Realtek RTL8187SE Wireless card

    Any suggestions? Thanks

      1. Greeting and Thanks ATB,

        All worked well on my Lenovo S10e, except for CFG80211.ko
        I get a “could not insert module” error and file exists

        Everything else worked and now I see that wireless is on, but it cannot find any of my networks. Presumable because they are 802.11

        Any advice for how to get that mod inserted? or an alternate mod to try?

        PS – I have no idea wtf I am doing so if the advice is something like. Download this other module to a USB and copy it to the directory and insert it, please don’t assume I know how to do any more of that than downloading a file to a USB.

        Thanks and cheers and all for the great help.


  20. Hi,
    It’s not working on my Dell Mini 9. I plugged in the Ethernet cable, went to command prompt as instructed, and it kept giving me issues at each command. I know I have a Broadcom driver, so it should work, but it doesn’t. Maybe I exited prompt wrong? Could I pls have detailed instructions sent to my email? (it should be in the details as it’s a required field). Thx in advance.

    Also, I’m having trouble getting my Synaptics touchpad and buttons working. Pls help! Again, thx in advance!

  21. I used the special build to get Chromium working on a Dell Vostro 1500. Everything works okay from the USB stick. I ran the instructions for getting the broadcom wireless working so wireless works from the USB Stick also. Now I put on your latest build on the hard drive and that worked okay. I knew I would not have the wireless drivers but I also do not have LAN access. Is there a way to do “WGET” from the USB stick. I am not command smart so would like it if someone spelled out how to get the wireless drivers from USB stick to hard drive. Thanks!

  22. I think I understand after reading. I need to wait for an Auto-Update for the Special builds. I can’t put a Special build on my Dell machine and then try to use your auto-update procedure because too much gets overlayed.

  23. I needed the b43 broadcom drivers for my chrome os the folder was on a different partition and it wouldn’t read it very simple solution pop in a live cd ( I used Linux Lite) once booted copied the folder (b43) into the lib/firmware/default folder ,when you open the default folder you’ll know you’re in the right one as it’ll have a lot of other drivers you’ll know by their names right away,closed out rebooted ,BOOM , wifi light lighted up and I have internet through it. – 2004 Compaq Presario R3140US AMD Athlon 3000+ 1.25 GB Ram dual boot Win 7 & Chrome OS

  24. Everything works great until line #12. When I enter it, it says:
    Insmod: error inserting ‘/lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko’ : -1file exists.
    Does this mean it won’t work?

  25. Hi! So I followed entered in all the lines like it shows at the top and at the end nothing happens. No networks show up, in my settings it says disabled, and when I do add connection it does nothing. The only error I get is on the line where it says ‘sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko’ the error I get says ‘insmod: ERROR: could not insert module /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko: File exists’ Any ideas on what might be causing this??

  26. When I try to boot from the usb the Chromium logo shows, then my pc just reboots. Keeps doing that, what can I do?

  27. I finally got it..I used control T. Typed in shell. Then copied and pasted line for line. Works brilliantly. You are the man!

  28. Hi,

    Everything went great so far, but I got the

    insmod: error inserting ‘/lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko’: -1 File exists

    message. I tried to continue anyway, but it still doesnt’ work.

    What do I do know?

    Thank you!

  29. I tried hex’s chromium os build 4028 but unfortunately it doesn’t connect to my wifi.I am using Qualcomm Atheros AR9485WB-EG wireless adapter.Please suggest me a solution or a better build which fixes my problem.
    Thanks in Advance..

  30. Forgive my noobness. I’m trying to get this working on my netbook which has a broadcom wifi. It mostly works except for the touchpad and wifi. When I do Ctrl+Alt+F2, I get to a boot: prompt which responds with “Could not find kernel image:” to everything I type. If I just hit enter, it boots into Chromium, but no wifi. I’ve clearly missed a step here, or need the location of the kernel image to enter at the boot: prompt.

  31. Been having trouble getting the driver. ‘wget …’etc says unable to resolve host.

    I’ve a Atheros 8152 PCI-E lan card, and a broadcom wireless thingy, and cannot select a network via either when chromium boots. That’s probably my problem, right?
    Any solutions for this?


  32. on the last post: would it be possible to copy the drivers to the usb when running it as a virtual machine in windows, then use that same usb to boot the actual machine?

  33. With the latest daily build I have working graphics, but no wifi. But with the broadcom build, I have no graphics.

    Is there a way to get broadcom working on the daily build?

    My USB ports also work, so should I be able to get internet via ethernet to finish the setup process and get to the command line?

  34. Hi!

    I’ve been trying to load the Chromium OS onto me Acer Aspire D255E netbook so I can give it to the kids to use. Specs: Intel Atom N570 (1.66mhz), 2GB RAM, and crucially, Ethernet: Atheros AR8152 and Wifi: Broadcom BCM4313

    I found this page, and started wrestling with things, but I got all the way down to the command:
    sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko
    and the result was:
    insmod: error inserting ‘/lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko’ : -1 Unknown symbol in module

    I originally used Hexxeh’s Vanilla, but then I downloaded the special Broadcom build here, no luck.

    The best part: neither Ethernet or Wifi is starting up, so the netbook has no internet to do any gets with.

    I’m linux newbie, so I might be totally botching something. Can anyone shed any light? Thanks!


    1. Nevermind, newbie-ness strikes again. 🙂 But does anyone know how I can load the Atheros Ethernet driver? I tried a few things and no luck. I think I’m loading it wrong: the moral? Don’t let Windows guys touch your linux. 🙂


  35. Presently using, easy peazy on Dell Mini time for an upgrade! Thank you for your hard work. Newbie question what hot key forces the builds to open in command line?

  36. localhost wireless # sudo insmod /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko
    insmod: ERROR: could not insert module /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko: Invalid module format
    localhost wireless # sudo depmod -a
    depmod: libkmod/libkmod-elf.c:207: elf_get_mem: Assertion `offset size’ failed.

    This seems to happen when doing the last two commands. What am I doing wrong?

  37. Thanks Arnold! Although I encountered the problem in “wget”.
    So I downloaded the “wl.ko” on another computer and placed it on a empty USB. To do so, I skipped line/stage 11 and did the following:

    1. fdisk -l To find out if the device was connected to my computer.
    2. sudo mkdir /media/usb Making a directory.
    3. sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/usb
    4. cp /media/usb/wl.ko /lib/modules/3.4.0/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/ Copy the “wl.ko” to the right directory.
    5. If all sucessful, proceed to line 12.

    Hope it helped those who is having issues.
    And also, thanks Arnold for the great Broadcom release!

  38. I’ve got chromium installed just fine on my HP Mini however:

    I have a broadcom 4313 adapter

    When I open the command line interface and try to login with the first line it asks me for a password which I do not know.
    Ethernet connection is working fine however wireless is not.

    Any advice?

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