Dell Vostro 1400
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo CPU @ 1.60 GHz
RAM: 2 GB
WLAN: Dell Wireless 1390 WLAN Mini-Card (BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN chipset)
Hard drive capacity: 160 GB
Hardware functioning (tested on CentOS 5.3)
CD/DVD read: works
CD/DVD write: not tested
Wireless: Broadcom driver needed, see below
Sound: works (but laptop speakers doesn't mute on line-out connect by default, solution here)
Video: works (but better performance with nVidia drivers)
Firewire: not tested
Media card reader: not tested
Touchpad or other pointing device: works (although not full functionality out-of-the-box)
Accelerator buttons: sound control (+/-, mute) works; previous, stop, play/pause, next - doesn't.
Sense battery level: works
Suspend (manual): works
Suspend (close lid): not tested
By default CentOS installs WLAN hardware and associates it with internal b43 module. It fails to work with this network card (even WLAN LED won't light up), so we need an original driver supplied by the hardware vendor. Luckily, Broadcom provides such.
Let's download a package for appropriate architecture (in my case it's 32 bit). Due to licencing issues CentOS community can not make a RPM package for your convenience, so we'll have to compile and load driver ourselves. Let's start.
Create a directory tree broadcom/driver under your home directory (e. g. ~/broadcom/driver) and unpack downloaded archive. You should then see these files and directories:
lib/ src/ Makefile
Great. We have our driver source ready. Now we must prepare our OS. By default CentOS doesn't install Kernel development package, headers and rquired compiliers. We setup them running:
yum install kernel-headers kernel-devel gcc
Let's cd into our directory where we unpacked driver source:
And compile WLAN driver as Kernel module:
make -C /lib/modules/uname -r/build M=pwd
NOTE! Start here after Kernel upgrade
Copy compilied module to appropriate Kernel's directory:
cp wl.ko /lib/modules/uname -r/kernel/net/wireless/
Now we need to disable native CentOS WLAN driver called b43 running on eth1 device by default:
In case you ever tried legacy driver or ndiswrapper, make sure you remove them too:
rmmod bcm43xx; rmmod b43legacy; rmmod ndiswrapper
Blacklist them by adding these lines to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist:
Then find alias eth1 bcm43xx in /etc/modprobe.conf and replace with alias eth1 wl. Also add alias ieee80211_crypt_tkip ieee80211_crypt_tkip at the bottom.
modprobe ieee80211_crypt_tkip; modprobe wl
Reboot system. Driver ready, now we need NetworkManager to deal with WLANs. First of all, disable network, because it manages network connections on CentOS by default:
chkconfig network off
Also disable wpa_supplicant - NetworkManager has it's own tools to deal with WPA encryption:
chkconfig wpa_supplicant off
Make sure NetworkManager is enabled on startup:
chkconfig NetworkManager on
And start it now:
service NetworkManager start
Reboot your system. Enjoy fast WLAN!
Written by Gytis Repecka.