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Broadcom Announces Open-Source 802.11n Driver!

Hardware

Published on 09 September 2010 02:57 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
27 Comments

Broadcom wireless network adapters have long been notorious with Linux users since this hardware vendor has not provided any open-source Linux drivers or specifications for their chipsets, even though Broadcom ASICs are dominantly used within today's wireless adapters. There's long been community projects like bcm43xx and b43 to create Linux drivers and use extracted Windows firmware and such to make the 802.11 adapters work, but for Broadcom's new 802.11n chipsets they have made a radical turn and are releasing a fully open-source Linux driver!

This open-source driver developed by Broadcom uses the mac80211 stack native to the Linux kernel, supports the BCM4313, BCM43224, and BCM43225 chipsets and there is framework for supporting additional Broadcom chipsets within this driver in the future.

This new driver is named bcrm80211 and can currently be found in the Linux staging-next tree. Hopefully this Broadcom 802.11n Linux driver will be pulled into the Linux 2.6.37 kernel soon as its merge window is opened.

While this is wonderful to see, the driver is not yet complete and currently lacks support for 40MHz channels, power savings, AP support, IBSS, hardware-based encryption, LED support, and RFKILL. These features and other bug-fixes though should now come since Broadcom has finally learned to play with the open-source community. The new driver was pushed into staging-next via this Git commit.

The announcement of Broadcom's newfound Linux love can be found on the linux-wireless mailing list.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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