Can't Get Broadcom Wireless Working on Old Dell Inspiron

Hey guys,

So I have a configuration on an old laptop that might be a little unusual. I’d like to be a System Admin one day, and because I want to get very comfortable solving problems on the command line, I have installed a command-line-only installation of openSUSE Leap 42.2 on an extra laptop, which is a Dell Inspiron with Broadcome wireless. I can’t remember how old it is exactly, but it’s pretty old, probably at least five years or more.

I have been trying for the past hour to get wireless working on this machine with no luck. I followed a hodgepodge approach based on information I could glean here & there from Google.

At first, I set up “wlan0” through YaST using the default bcma driver, & I thought I did everything correctly. DHCP, with the correct ESSID & WPA passphrase. However, I did notice even at this stage that when I tried “scanning” for networks through YaST, there were no results – I had to type in my ESSID manually.

After some Google searches, I installed the broadcom-wl driver from the Packman repository. This caused a “new” network device to be listed with the same long name as the old “wlan0” device but with the device name of “eth0”. After more Google searches, I decided to try blacklisting the bcma driver, and at some point there were no longer any available modules to use with the original “wlan0” connection – I couldn’t select bcma OR wl in YaST. However, “eth0” allowed me to select a module, & I chose wl.

This still didn’t work. I told the wireless device to start up on boot, but after rebooting & checking the configuration & rebooting AGAIN, several times, nothing was happening.

After more Google searches, I heard about a “b43” driver & tried installing it with the instructions from, but I was unsuccessful – YaST wouldn’t let me select it as a module, & entering the name manually didn’t work either.

I’m at my wit’s end. Can anyone help diagnose my problem?

Did you read through the Stickies here…?

I will move this to the Wireless forum, because that is where the Wireless gurus will lurk (and where the sticky threads with information are).

This is CLOSED for the moment

Moved from Network/Internet and open again.

Still having problems. I tried a clean install of openSUSE, & the situation seems different now, but things still aren’t working.

I read through the sticky about the b43 firmware & followed its instructions. I don’t know if this was a necessary step, but the installation seemed to work this time.

I wasn’t having luck, though, so I tried installing the broadcom-wl package from the Packman repository. Once again, this created a “new” device in the YaST menu. I realized that it seemed to be calling it “eth0” b/c I didn’t specify a name myself.

After some trial & error & a couple reboots, the wl module seems to be loading on boot. When I run the iwconfig command, my device appears & seems to be functioning normally.

I went into YaST & tried “scanning” for networks. However, the following error message pops up, & seems to continue popping up until I power off the system:

ERROR @wl_cfg80211_scan: WLC_SCAN error (-22)

Can anyone help me figure this out?

Solved it! Turns out the biggest obstacle was my own stupidity. I had the switch turned off. After turning it on & doing a bit of trial & error, I got everything to work.