Yenya's World

Thu, 08 Dec 2005

Broadcom WiFi driver

I have an Asus M6R laptop, which includes a Broadcom 4306 wireless network (802.11b/g) interface (the same chip is in Apple Airport cards and other Apple products). So far I have been using it through the ndiswrapper (which emulates the Windows environment for the native Windows driver).

Now I have found a native bcm43xx driver in development. It needs a pretty recent kernel (2.6.15-rc2+), and an additional 802.11 softmac layer stack. It seems that bcm43xx is a fairly low-end device, because the softmac packets are in most chipsets handled in hardware/firmware instead of the operating system.

The driver works (after adding my PCI ids to it, of course) to the point where I can ping my router, but it is still sort of unstable under load (such as ping -f -s 1400). Moreover, it seems that the softmac stack does not disable its queued delayed work during the module unload, which causes system crash when the module is unloaded or even when the device is set to be inactive.

The current development seems to be pretty fast, and I think we get the fully working driver in the kernel tree soon. I just wish I had more time to help with the development.

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