Monday, August 25, 2014

Fedora 20 - Missing WIFI driver/support on clean install

I've started a little experiment on porting a crashed windows 7 Laptop (Dell Inspiron 1525) over to Linux. Why Linux at this point? The crash was largely due to the infamous Windows Update Issue. For me that was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The experiment part of this update comes from the fact that the user has never really used Linux before, so this is really a true test of the user-friendliness of the OS, once initially set up. My weapon of choice was Fedora 20, largely because I'm entrenched in the RHEL distribution tree for almost everything that I do, so it's naturally easier for me to troubleshoot quickly.

The installation and initial configuration went pretty smoothly, except for the fact that out of the box, WIFI appeared nonexistent. This was not a big problem, as it worked on a Kali Linux Live USB, so I knew that the hardware was fine. From the old install I knew that the device was Broadcom based, so I had a launch point.

Credit to http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/b43 for thoroughly documenting the resolution of this issue.

First check the device for support:
0. As root:
lspci -vnn -d 14e4:

It spat out some device information, including the model, in my case the Broadcom Corporation BCM4312, which was supported by the b43 driver. I compared the output to the corresponding CHIP ID segment on the table
Taken from: http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/b43

PCI-ID
Supported?
Chip ID
Modes
PHY version
Alternative







14e4:4315
yes
BCM4312
b/g
LP (r1)
wl

The Fedora specific instructions are as follows:
1. Install the firmware extractor tool
su -
yum install b43-fwcutter wget

2. Install the driver
Define the Firmware path (Fedora specific)
export FIRMWARE_INSTALL_DIR="/lib/firmware"
Download and extract the Broadcom driver
wget http://mirror2.openwrt.org/sources/broadcom-wl-5.10.56.27.3_mipsel.tar.bz2
tar xjf broadcom-wl-5.10.56.27.3_mipsel.tar.bz2
Install the driver
sudo b43-fwcutter -w "$FIRMWARE_INSTALL_DIR" broadcom-wl-5.10.56.27.3/driver/wl_apsta/wl_prebuilt.o

3. Reboot

These steps were sufficient for me, as soon as I rebooted the WIFI was available to connect. If these steps do not solve your issue, you may need to blacklist older drivers. Take a read here: http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/b43

Maybe I'll break the chains of Microsoft bondage on my own laptop - which oddly enough, works swimmingly on a fresh Windows 8.1 installation. We'll see.
-noveck



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