Getting wifi to work on FreeBSD is nearly impossible.

rtobiasr

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I've searched Google. I've searched the FreeBSD forums and documentation. Every computer that I've tried FreeBSD on, getting wifi to work isn't possible. I got it to work once with a USB Netgear dongle, but even then it was a hassle and was extremely slow. I know the forum rules forbid "Why isn't FreeBSD more like..." Throw me a bone. I've yet to encounter a non BSD OS that doesn't automatically detect the drivers, ask me for my SSID & password, and carry on with Internet happy times. In my experience, wifi simply doesn't work on FreeBSD 99% of the time no matter what I search. In one instance I had a Broadcom wifi chip. I added bcma_load="YES" as well as bcma_bhndb, bhmd, bhnd_pc, bhnd_pci_hostb, bhnd_pcib, and bhnd_pci to my /boot/default/loader.conf file. Still no wifi adapter detected.

Am I missing something, or is FreeBSD just crappy with the wifi support. If I enable Linux binaries then might my wifi experience be better if I can xfer the Linux wifi drivers, or the Linux doodad that can use Windows wifi drivers? Surely it cannot be as hard as this guy retired from a 20+ year career in IT finds it to be.
 

drhowarddrfine

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My information is old because I don't use a laptop anymore.

My laptops ran wifi just fine with FreeBSD. My Realtek and Atheros adapters also ran just fine. Atheros is your best bet.

Broadcom does not supply drivers for FreeBSD to use. This is Broadcom's fault and has always been an issue.

The Foundation has funded someone who is working on the latest wifi AC standard right now. I don't know where his progress is.
 
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rtobiasr

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If it's Broadcom's fault then... and I hate to break the rule of "why isn't FreeBSD more like", but if it's Broadcom's fault then why does Linux not have a problem with my Broadcom wifi?
 

rootbert

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FreeBSD's wireless stack is quite sub-par, however, it would be extremely helpful if you provided us information about the version of FreeBSD you are trying to get wifi access as well as hardware information about the wifi chip you are trying to use.
 

SirDice

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but if it's Broadcom's fault then why does Linux not have a problem with my Broadcom wifi?
Because Broadcom does support Linux and provides binary blobs for them.
 

jb_fvwm2

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With a fully supported usb adaptor and a passable /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf, the proper lines in /etc/rc.conf, a working knowledge of service netif start and similar commands, wifi seems as good as what it replaced here,
wired ethernet...
For instance, if the connection drops, I've found by removing and replacing
the usb adaptor, no reboot needed, and issuing the command above, in a few seconds the connection is up again.
[ hours testing configurations, but that was a decade or so ago... ]
 

free-and-bsd

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With a fully supported usb adaptor and a passable /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf, the proper lines in /etc/rc.conf, a working knowledge of service netif start and similar commands, wifi seems as good as what it replaced here,
wired ethernet...
..
Glad you feel that particular way. In my practice there are cases when resetting the connection just doesn't help the problem, and you're in the middle of a conference, for example... So, in some cases it will never be "as good".
 

free-and-bsd

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Last I looked, a good Atheros wifi adapter was $9
Besides, Atheros modules offer more features (that I need) than Broadcom USB sticks.
So... I personally feel about this much as I do about printer support in UNIX. Software printers aren't supported, but neither do they work reliably even where they ARE supported (from recent Windows experience with an HP printer).
So maybe we're just better off having to choose a better product that will work for sure?
 
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rtobiasr

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OK, details. Here's the thing. I bought a couple of 2009 iMacs for US$100 each. They have internal Broadcom adapters. I have successfully used a Netgear dongle, but that's a workaround, not a real solution. I really wanted to go with FreeBSD + XFCE, but alas, only wired Ethernet works. For now, I've settled on another operating system that works with the Broadcom chips, but I'd really prefer to use FreeBSD so that I can learn it outside of a virtual machine.
 

SirDice

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Then you'll have to bug Broadcom and ask them to start supporting FreeBSD. Until then we can't really do much. Reverse engineering is difficult and error-prone.
 

grahamperrin

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rtobiasr welcome to FreeBSD Forums.

… I have successfully used a Netgear dongle, but that's a workaround, not a real solution. …

I do empathise, in that I occasionally used FreeBSD with an old MacBook Pro that could not do wireless without a massive old adapter (one that was handy). Fortunately, I did not treat this notebook as portable.

If we remove all emotion:
  • in the absence of compatible software, addition of compatible hardware is the solution.



Re: improvement of FreeBSD support for Wi-Fi (and other technologies), yesterday's <https://forums.freebsd.org/posts/551003> includes relevant links.

FreeBSD: Wi-Fi: suggested adapters includes links to discussions of a variety of adapters. I imagine this list growing when people begin to suggest adapters that suit the improved support.
 

bsduck

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On machines made to be upgradable (or, I'd like to say, done right), you can easily remove the unsupported chip and install a supported one instead, which you can get for cheap. Unfortunately Apple doesn't like it that way.
 

tgl

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Also, pkg install wifimgr...
[ rtwn0, Realtek 802.11n ]
This works for my Atheros WiFi Card, I like more networkmgr but since the moment it requires sudo as dependency and I use doas I stick with wifimgr.
 

tingo

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OK, details. Here's the thing. I bought a couple of 2009 iMacs for US$100 each. They have internal Broadcom adapters. I have successfully used a Netgear dongle, but that's a workaround, not a real solution. I really wanted to go with FreeBSD + XFCE, but alas, only wired Ethernet works. For now, I've settled on another operating system that works with the Broadcom chips, but I'd really prefer to use FreeBSD so that I can learn it outside of a virtual machine.
If you want to use something (say FreeBSD) and be happy that you get it to work; you should do proper research before buying. Assuming is never going to make you happy all the time.
- don't buy hardware before you have checked (as good as you can) that it will work with FreeBSD
- don't assume that everything will work "out of the box"; read the various documents that tell you how to configure things like graphics, wireless and wired networking, etc.
- if you can't find information on a subject, dig deeper. Search for it, ask on forums

That is not too much to ask for something that you really want to use is it?
If you can't be bothered; choose something else that will work with less effort. That is a perfectly fine solution too, even if it isn't FreeBSD.
 
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rtobiasr

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If you want to use something (say FreeBSD) and be happy that you get it to work; you should do proper research before buying. Assuming is never going to make you happy all the time.
- don't buy hardware before you have checked (as good as you can) that it will work with FreeBSD
- don't assume that everything will work "out of the box"; read the various documents that tell you how to configure things like graphics, wireless and wired networking, etc.
- if you can't find information on a subject, dig deeper. Search for it, ask on forums

That is not too much to ask for something that you really want to use is it?
If you can't be bothered; choose something else that will work with less effort. That is a perfectly fine solution too, even if it isn't FreeBSD.
Meh. You don't get it. I knew in advance that these things couldn't run anything past El Capitan when I bought them. I like to eff-around with various OS's on various hardware. In this case, I'm running into problems for which I'm asking help. I'm just a hobbyist asking for help. Why do you have to get so prickly about it?
 
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