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  #1  
Old 1st November 2009, 02:31 AM
fiddy Offline
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windows_xp_2003firefox
Kernal wireless driver vs. ndiswrapper wireless windows drivers

Really, I'm just wondering which is the better option? I currently use the Kernal b43 driver, but due to some performance issues, i'm considering going the ndiswrapper route... Any comments and suggestions would be great...
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  #2  
Old 1st November 2009, 02:42 AM
jpollard Offline
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linuxfedorafirefox
Biggest problem is that kernel bugs will not be addressed once the ndiswrapper+driver are loaded.

This is because of the difficulty in tracing problems, and being unable to know if the problem is
on the Linux side, or caused by the un-debuggable driver.
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  #3  
Old 1st November 2009, 02:58 AM
zackf Offline
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linuxubuntufirefox
What's your wifi card?
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  #4  
Old 1st November 2009, 08:47 AM
fiddy Offline
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windows_xp_2003firefox
Quote:
Originally Posted by zackf View Post
What's your wifi card?
Broadcom bcm 4306... bcmwl5... originally from Belkin F5D7000 v1xxx
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  #5  
Old 1st November 2009, 06:47 PM
zackf Offline
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windows_xp_2003firefox
I'm surprised the b43 is causing you issues. I used ndsiwrapper quite successfully on an old HP back in the day and it did just fine, but I haven't had an issue with b43 since it came out. What kind of issues in particular are you having?

You could also have to recompile after the kernel updates, not a big deal if you already done it once, but that's about the only potential issue I can think of using ndiswrapper instead of the b43.
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  #6  
Old 1st November 2009, 09:13 PM
stoat Offline
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linuxfedorafirefox
Hello fiddy and everybody,

Just some information for comparison from here. I also am using b43.
Code:
[boo@localhost ~]$ iwlist wlan1 rate
wlan1     unknown bit-rate information.
          Current Bit Rate=54 Mb/s
I used b43-fwcutter to extract the firmware myself from wl_apsta_mimo.o acquired from broadcom-wl-4.150.10.5.tar.bz2 available at openwrt.org. That's not the newest version of the Broadcom driver tarball available at openwrt.org, but I've been using it since Fedora 9 and will keep using it until it stops working. I don't know what version of the driver tarball Dangermouse's things (Autoten, Broadcom RPM) use, but they do use the wl_apsta.mimo.o file. That's what you are using, fiddy.

Other factoids from here...

I'm using a Linksys WMP54G PCI card and two Linksys WPC54G PCMCIA cards to connect to a Linksys WRT54G wireless router thirty feet and two walls away. I use WPA encryption with a 16-digit ASCII passphrase. All report 54 Mb/s bit rates (occasionally 48 Mb/s rates, but I rarely check). Strong neighbor signals, too. Easily connect at hotels and public hot spots with a Thinkpad with Fedora/Debian/Ubuntu/b43/NetworkManager.

A little history kinda...

In the past, I have used the bcm43xx driver which was the original reverse-engineered Linux driver for Broadcom devices. That project started back when Broadcom was giving Linux nothing. It eventually evolved into b43. The bcm43xx driver shipped with Fedora Core 5, 6, and 7. In the middle of the Fedora 7 life cycle, bcm43xx was replaced by b43 in the Fedora kernel modules. Broadcom eventually produced the an open source driver for Linux (aka broadcom-wl), but as you know, it doesn't work with your particular Broadcom chipset.

Farther in the past, I've also used ndiswrapper and bcmwl5.sys from Windows for those same devices. I've installed ndiswrapper from both source and the binary kmods from Livna and, later on, RPM Fusion which took them over from Livna. They all worked fine. In fact, for a while I would drift back and forth between ndiswrapper and bcm43xx (and later on, b43). I tired of compiling source, so I mostly used the kmod version of ndiswrapper. The kmods worked well, but they would be late arriving in the repos sometimes which busted wireless when a new kernel came along. The last time that happened, I just sort of snapped and went back to b43 for good. And here I am now with it still.

The point...

I guess the point of all this (besides FYI), is to try stuff. Try both ways. Try a different version of the Broadcom tarball for b43. But remember, these things can conflict with each other leaving nothing working, so undo or blacklist and unblacklist as needed when you switch driver methods or else an unholy mess will occur.

If you would like to try extracting the firmware manually yourself someday, here are the steps that I use. Remember to delete the old firmware files in /lib/firmware/b43 before extracting new firmware to there...
Code:
wget http://mirror2.openwrt.org/sources/broadcom-wl-4.150.10.5.tar.bz2
tar xjf broadcom-wl-4.150.10.5.tar.bz2
cd broadcom-wl-4.150.10.5/driver	
su
b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware wl_apsta_mimo.o
I don't extract the firmware any more. I just copy the same files in /lib/firmware/b43 over to each new Fedora version.
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  #7  
Old 2nd November 2009, 12:40 PM
fiddy Offline
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windows_xp_2003ie
Thanks for taking the time to give all that information... I will definitely try the manual extraction process. Currently i'm at work, and my linux box is at home, but i'll give it a shot when i get there... also when i installed the broadcom driver, i didn't use any fwcutter... I ran the rpm from here, which is one of the links you gave me in an earlier thread "broadcom wireless problems", which like i said earlier, worked great right when i installed it, but after i ran the system updates, and rebooted, now it seems like i'm steady at 1MB/s...

Anyway, I'll try what you said, and hopefully things will speed up a bit... I'm trying to run a media server for my PS3, and the 1MB/s is not cuttin it...

Thanks again...

btw, i received the "unholy" mess you were talking about when i tried to install my ATI drivers... but that's another story for a different thread...

Last edited by fiddy; 2nd November 2009 at 12:42 PM.
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  #8  
Old 8th November 2009, 10:51 AM
fiddy Offline
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linuxfedorafirefox
Well, i finally got around to installing the driver you are using, but i'm still topped out at 1MB/s, The first time i checked it after installing the drivers you posted, i showed 5.5MB/s, but now back to

Code:
[Curt@thebeast ~]$ iwlist wlan1 rate
wlan1     unknown bit-rate information.
          Current Bit Rate:1 Mb/s
My signal strength is at 90 or better, so i know its not that, Do you have any other suggestions?

BTW, i'm running in WPA2 mode...
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