Gentoo Websites Logo
Go to: Gentoo Home Documentation Forums Lists Bugs Planet Store Wiki Get Gentoo!

Bug 541080

Summary: sys-firmware/b43-firmware- unstable with BCM4318
Product: Gentoo Linux Reporter: Hubert Kromer <hubert.kromer>
Component: Current packagesAssignee: Rick Farina (Zero_Chaos) <zerochaos>
Status: UNCONFIRMED ---    
Severity: normal CC: gentoo, jstein, kenjmiller, kingjon3377, mail, mgorny, njsg, owenthewizard, rickfoland, zsojka
Priority: Normal Keywords: PMASKED
Version: unspecified   
Hardware: All   
OS: Linux   
See Also:
Package list:
Runtime testing required: ---
Attachments: lspci -vvnn

Description Hubert Kromer 2015-02-22 18:56:04 UTC
BCM4318 based network controller has multiple issues with sys-firmware/b43-firmware-
 - Disconnects from AP every few minutes,
 - Download speed is limited to about 1.2Kbps,
 - Upload speed is limited to about 1Mbps.
Downgrading to sys-firmware/b43-firmware-5.100.138 fixes the problem.

Reproducible: Always

Steps to Reproduce:
1. 'emerge =sys-firmware/b43-firmware-'
2. Build kernel with CONFIG_B43=y, CONFIG_EXTRA_FIRMWARE="b43/ucode5.fw b43/b0g0initvals5.fw b43/b0g0bsinitvals5.fw b43/pcm5.fw"
3. Reboot to new kernel
4. Connect to AP
5. Test download/upload and monitor link status
Actual Results:  
'iwconfig' reports strong signal, connection gets dropped often, transfer rates are very low.

Expected Results:  
'iwconfig' reports strong signal, connection is stable, transfer rates are over 20Mbps.

AP and wireless card stand side by side (with 2m range).
Downgrading firmware to =sys-firmware/b43-firmware-5.100.138 fixes the problem.
Kernels checked: 3.17.8-gentoo-r1, 3.19.0-vanilla.

'lspci -vv' output:
03:05.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4318 [AirForce One 54g] 802.11g Wireless LAN Controller (rev 02)
	Subsystem: ASUSTeK Computer Inc. WL-138G v2 / WL-138gE / WL-100gE
	Control: I/O- Mem+ BusMaster+ SpecCycle- MemWINV- VGASnoop- ParErr- Stepping- SERR+ FastB2B- DisINTx-
	Status: Cap- 66MHz- UDF- FastB2B- ParErr- DEVSEL=fast >TAbort- <TAbort- <MAbort- >SERR- <PERR- INTx-
	Latency: 32
	Interrupt: pin A routed to IRQ 17
	Region 0: Memory at dfefe000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=8K]
	Kernel driver in use: b43-pci-bridge

'iwconfig wlan0' output:
wlan0     IEEE 802.11bg  ESSID:"***"  
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.417 GHz  Access Point: ***   
          Bit Rate=36 Mb/s   Tx-Power=20 dBm   
          Retry short limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Encryption key:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=65/70  Signal level=-45 dBm  
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:75  Invalid misc:215   Missed beacon:0
Comment 1 Nuno Silva 2015-02-22 19:19:00 UTC
The b43 driver has similar issues when using b43-firmware-6.* with a BCM4311KFBG wireless card: very bad connectivity, drops frequently, very poor bandwidth -- basically it is unusable.

Additionally, broadcom-sta-6.* does not work with this card: loading the driver causes a Segmentation Fault (or, if the driver is built to use the wext API, it will fail with "code 21"). This is most likely not a hardware issue: I have tried two BCM4311KFBG cards, and I have issues with both. 

Thus, the only solution I have right now for this card is b43 + b43-firmware-5.*.
Comment 2 Rick Foland 2015-11-05 23:46:10 UTC
I am also having this issue with a BCM4311 card and firmware version Unusably slow speeds with frequent drops.The speeds and drops occur with wicd and networkmanager. It seemed like I was able to make the disconnects less frequent by using dhclient instead of dhcpcd, but I had to edit a line in wicd/ to get dhclient to work and the speeds were slow either way. Works fine with a rollback to b43-firmware-5* 

There is also a topic on the forum with a couple of others who are having this bug on both bcm4311 and bcm4318:
Comment 3 Maciej S. Szmigiero 2016-10-05 20:12:27 UTC
With sys-firmware/b43-firmware- driving Broadcom 4311 WLAN + G PHY
I cannot properly associate to an AP (it associates then immediately

With sys-firmware/b43-firmware-5.100.138 everything works fine.

Considering that b43 wiki page ( ) explicitly tells to use firmware from Broadcom driver version 5.100.138
I think the sys-firmware/b43-firmware- package should be masked since
it seems not to be useful at all and certainly breaks things.
Comment 4 Maciej S. Szmigiero 2017-01-15 16:07:28 UTC
Created Github PR 3491 that resolves this issue.
Comment 5 Maciej S. Szmigiero 2017-05-24 12:18:49 UTC
This bug can be closed now since the problematic firmware version had been hard masked.
I can't do it on my own since I'm not the original reporter.
Comment 6 Michał Górny archtester Gentoo Infrastructure gentoo-dev Security 2017-05-24 13:19:10 UTC
I'll mark it PMASKED but I'll leave the decision to Rick. After all, the bug is still there and I don't think we want to keep p.mask like this forever.
Comment 7 Rick Foland 2017-05-29 03:25:36 UTC
I am fine with it. I recently retired the computer with the BCM4311 card, so this issue no longer affects me. This will probably only ever be an issue for people with the BCM4311 card if a newer version of the firmware adds some essential new support. Otherwise, sys-firmware/b43-firmware-5.100.138 is sufficient.
Comment 8 Owen Walpole 2017-07-10 20:07:55 UTC
Created attachment 482948 [details]
lspci -vvnn
Comment 9 Owen Walpole 2017-07-10 20:10:37 UTC
I have a BCM4322 chip and have not noticed this issue.

Attached: Relevant lspci -vvnn output.