View Full Version : [ubuntu] rfkill does nothing under Broadcom STA driver?

May 3rd, 2011, 06:56 PM
I've been seeing a lot of people checking for hardware and software blocks using the rfkill command. I can't seem to get it to do anything at all on my Broadcom "4321AG"/"4328" wireless using the Broadcom STA driver. Of course, I have an old-fashioned hardware switch on the front of my laptop.

Here is some information on my working wireless setup (that rfkill can't seem to see):

lspci | grep work
03:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4328 802.11a/b/g/n (rev 03)

description: Wireless interface
product: BCM4328 802.11a/b/g/n
vendor: Broadcom Corporation
physical id: 0
bus info: pci@0000:03:00.0
logical name: eth1
version: 03
serial: 00:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
width: 64 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list ethernet physical wireless
configuration: broadcast=yes driver=wl0 driverversion= ip= latency=0 multicast=yes wireless=IEEE 802.11abgn
resources: irq:19 memory:f2200000-f2203fff memory:f2000000-f20fffff(prefetchable)

dmesg | grep wl
[ 9.661026] wl: module license 'MIXED/Proprietary' taints kernel.
[ 9.667906] wl 0000:03:00.0: PCI INT A -> Link[LK4E] -> GSI 19 (level, low) -> IRQ 19
[ 9.667912] wl 0000:03:00.0: setting latency timer to 64

lsmod | grep wl
wl 1964968 0
lib80211 6151 2 lib80211_crypt_tkip,wl

lo no wireless extensions.

eth0 no wireless extensions.

eth1 IEEE 802.11 Access Point: Not-Associated
Link Quality:5 Signal level:227 Noise level:168
Rx invalid nwid:0 invalid crypt:5 invalid misc:0

eth1 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
inet addr: Bcast: Mask:
inet6 addr: fe80::221:ff:fe13:2412/64 Scope:Link
RX packets:135191 errors:1553 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:153271
TX packets:87546 errors:21 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
RX bytes:180836189 (180.8 MB) TX bytes:16063449 (16.0 MB)

cat /etc/lsb-release

uname -a
Linux xxxx-laptop 2.6.32-31-generic #61-Ubuntu SMP Fri Apr 8 18:25:51 UTC 2011 x86_64 GNU/Linux

rfkill --version
rfkill 0.3
I do find rfkill installed and locate'd among other places at:

When I run just rfkill with no parameters, it says:

Usage: rfkill [options] command
--version show version (0.3)
where IDENTIFIER is the index no. of an rfkill switch or one of:
<idx> all wifi wlan bluetooth uwb ultrawideband wimax wwan gps
When I try rfkill list all, it does nothing, just returns me to my BASH prompt. The wifi, wlan, bluetooth, and wwan identifiers also seem to do nothing with rfkill list. It looks to me like it "hooked" IRQ19 in the BIOS, and the wireless does work quite stably (although it does need several seconds to auto-reestablish wireless when Linux goes to "sleep," say overnight).

This page doesn't really tell me much more than rfkill did with no parameters:


Is this just because I have an electromechanical wireless switch, or is it a 64-bit problem, or...


EDIT: Oh yes, sudo rfkill list all also just returns me to my BASH prompt without any whistles or bells (after entering a password)...

May 3rd, 2011, 07:01 PM
EDIT try and uninstall rfkill and re-install it

December 6th, 2011, 07:53 AM
EDIT try and uninstall rfkill and re-install it UPDATE: I have since found/discovered that the problems with rfkill and Monitor Mode in the STA driver are apparently gone in the newer 5.100.82.xxxx STA driver modules.

Although this is for Gentoo linux (I'm currently trying to hack some wireless updating of Kaspersky's otherwise excellent Gentoo-based KAV10 Rescue Disk), this is consistent with my recent experience under multilib (32-bit AND 64-bit) Red Hat-based Scientific Linux 6.1 (SL6.1, which is similar to Fedora 15/16, CentOS6, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux6 or RHEL6):

Optional: Monitor mode

Since broadcom-sta driver supports monitor mode (http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monitor_mode). To enable it run
echo 1 > /proc/brcm_monitor0
and to disable:
echo 0 > /proc/brcm_monitor0

When monitor mode is enabled, prism0 network interface appears....

Also, here is some of my recent output which supports the Gentoo information (after converting from Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS to SL 6.1):

description: Wireless interface
product: BCM4328 802.11a/b/g/n
driver=wl0 driverversion=

$ rfkill list all

caelinux@caelinux:~$ iwconfig eth1 mode Monitor
Error for wireless request "Set Mode" (8B06) :
SET failed on device eth1 ; Operation not permitted.

Although I'm in Vista now (mainly to verify my new GRUB installation for SL 6.1 and do some housekeeping), I remember rfkill telling me there were no hardware and no software blocks using my newly-compiled Broadcom 5.100.xxxx.xxxx "wl.ko" driver under Scientific Linux 6.1 early this morining.

(I compiled the newer rfkill-capable driver module from the newest 64-bit version STA sourcecode found on Broadcom's website since there were no Broadcom CentOS6 .RPM packages anywhere):


From the README.txt file:

ISSUES FIXED AND WHAT'S NEW IN THIS RELEASE -------------------------------------------
+ Added cfg80211 API support. The choice of API is done at compile time. If kernel version >= 2.6.32, cfg80211 is used, otherwise wireless extension is used. (End users should notice little difference.)
+ Supports Linux kernel 2.6.38
+ Fix for problem with rebooting while wireless disabled via airline switch.
+ Fixed a kernel panic observed on some 64-bit systems

HOW TO USE MONITOR MODE -----------------------
To enable monitor mode:
$ echo 1 > /proc/brcm_monitor0

Enabling monitor mode will create a 'prism0' network interface. Wireshark and other network tools can use this new prism0 interface.

To disable monitor mode:
$ echo 0 > /proc/brcm_monitor0

ISSUES FIXED AND WHAT'S NEW IN RECENT RELEASES -------------------------------------------
+ Supports monitor mode
+ Supports cfg80211
+ Supports hidden networks
+ Supports rfkillhttp://www.broadcom.com/docs/linux_sta/README.txt

Now if I could only get those weeks back that I spent messing around with the b43 driver for my Broadcom 4321AG to get those things "supported?"...