Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fedora 16 : Wireless not working after update to 3.1.1-1.fc16.x86_64 kernel on Acer Aspire 5742 Wireless Broadcom BCM43225 802.11b/g/n

After updating my laptop using yum (as usual) from 3.1.0-7.fc16.x86_64 to 3.1.1-1.fc16.x86_64, I noticed that my wireless network card works fine and is connected, but my wi-fi antenna LED is off. When I pressed Fn+F3, which is a shortcut on my Aspire 5742 to turn the antenna off and on, which normally would turn the LED on and off as well, I lost my wireless connection. First I thought, that maybe wl.ko did not updated properly or failed to load, but I found that the module is loaded and can be found in an expected location: /lib/modules/3.1.1-1.fc16.x86_64/extra/wl/wl.ko.

I checked all the loaded modules and found that now I have loaded "Broadcom Brothers" along with wl ;)

[root@aspire ~]# lsmod | grep brc
brcmsmac              497715  0 
mac80211              251806  1 brcmsmac
brcmutil                4513  1 brcmsmac
cfg80211              151125  2 brcmsmac,mac80211
crc8                    1356  1 brcmsmac
cordic                  1150  1 brcmsmac

[gescape@aspire ~]$ modinfo brcmsmac
filename:       /lib/modules/3.1.1-1.fc16.x86_64/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/brcm80211/brcmsmac/brcmsmac.ko
license:        Dual BSD/GPL
description:    Broadcom 802.11n wireless LAN driver.
author:         Broadcom Corporation

[gescape@aspire ~]$ rpm -qf /lib/modules/3.1.1-1.fc16.x86_64/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/brcm80211/brcmsmac/brcmsmac.ko
[gescape@aspire ~]$ rpm -qf /lib/modules/3.1.1-1.fc16.x86_64/extra/wl/wl.ko
[gescape@aspire ~]$ yum info kmod-wl-3.1.1-1.fc16.x86_64-
Installed Packages
Name        : kmod-wl-3.1.1-1.fc16.x86_64
Arch        : x86_64
Version     :
Release     : 1.fc16.1
Size        : 3.0 M
Repo        : installed
From repo   : rpmfusion-nonfree-updates
Summary     : wl kernel module(s) for 3.1.1-1.fc16.x86_64
URL         :
License     : Redistributable, no modification permitted
Description : This package provides the wl kernel modules built for the Linux
            : kernel 3.1.1-1.fc16.x86_64 for the x86_64 family of processors.

I removed the Broadcom modules from kernel package and reloaded wl from RPM Fusion...

[root@aspire ~]# rmmod brcmsmac
[root@aspire ~]# rmmod wl
[root@aspire ~]# modprobe wl
[root@aspire ~]# lsmod | grep brc
brcmutil                4513  0 

...and then blacklisted Broadcom module:

[root@aspire modprobe.d]# cat broadcom-wl-blacklist.conf 
# modules blacklisted for broadcom-wl
blacklist ssb
blacklist bcma
blacklist b43
blacklist brcmsmac

Again my wireless is back to normal, working as expected,  Fn+F3 works fine and most importantly that lovely bright amber antenna LED indicator is on ;))) haha...

Dear Fedora Team!
It is historically known that with almost every update/upgrade something must be broken. If not wireless, then LCD brightness, if not brightness.... It is extremely annoying. It is understandable that there are bugs and the system is under constant development, but I believe that basic functions, modules and common hardware should work out of the box regardless of the phase of development and for sure in the final release of the system. These days end users expect working systems with wireless available at a finger tip and not spend evenings fixing the module issues after subsequent update. If you want us to provide you a feedback and log bugs, we need working networking. Unfortunately it looks to me like brcmsmac does not work as expected. However kmod-wl from RPMFusion works fine. Interesting...


  1. Hi thanks for the hint, I've run into the same problem (Dell e5510 - F15 & F16) and it has taken me nearly a week to get to the same conclusions as you. I guess the problem may have been that the broadcom-wl-blacklist.conf was manually modified, so the installation tool creates an rpmnew file (with brcmsmac blacklisted) but keeps the old. Probably a difficult bug to catch with an automated test environment.