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How to install wireless driver not supported in fresh install?

Discussion in 'Mobile Computing' started by jwmollman, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. jwmollman

    jwmollman New Member

    Thanks Received:
    I'm currently running Debian on a Toshiba NB505. A while ago I did an install of FreeBSD on an older computer and it ran nicely. Now I'm tempted to try it on this netbook. I'd like to install FreeBSD on this netbook but I'm unsure if the wireless card (RTL8188CE) is supported, at all, on FreeBSD. I did a search on this site and couldn't find the card, so I guess it isn't supported out of the box.

    If it's not working on a fresh install, I could install it to the kernel manually, correct? Here on Debian, I downloaded the Linux/UNIX driver from here and installed it successfully through make and then make install. After a reboot, it was working.

    Would it be that same process to install the wireless driver on FreeBSD?

  2. fonz

    fonz Active Member

    Thanks Received:
    Actually, that depends.

    If your card is officially supported, there is a kernel module that can be loaded either at boot time or manually. This does not necessitate any compilation, but there might be reasons for building a custom kernel anyway, in which case you might just as well compile the driver for your wireless NIC into the kernel while you're at it.

    If your card is not (yet) officially supported but people are working on it, there might be an experimental driver available. At the very least you'll need to compile that driver, you might be required to recompile the entire kernel.

    If your card is not supported and nobody is working on it either, then basically you're sh** out of luck unless you feel like writing a driver yourself.

    So, the big question is: which of the above three scenarios applies to your card? If nobody here know the answer, you might try asking on the freebsd-mobile mailing list.

    Good luck,

  3. tingo

    tingo Active Member

    Thanks Received:
    Also, if a wired network interface is present, and supported, you could use that for any install / upgrades until you get your wireless driver working.