Install FreeBSD with Wireless Drivers

rainy

New Member


Messages: 2

Hello All,

I have a lenovo 120s-11iap laptop which I am attempting to install FreeBSD on. The laptop has no ethernet jack so I was hoping during installation that my wireless device would be discovered so that I could connect to my network. However when I attempt to configure an IP4 address, nothing is found. Post install, "sysctl net.wlan.devices" returns nothing.

I have tested FreeBSD 11.2 and once that did not work I thought that maybe the latest development version (12 alpha 8) might have more up to date drivers but this also failed to detect my wireless hardware.

I take it that this is due to the wireless device having no opensource driver available? In which case, is there anything I can do to install a GUI? Are there FreeBSD downloads available containing non-free binary wireless drives similar to the Debian non-free firmware releases?

I had a read through the FreeBSD manual (which is excellent) but the wireless networking section mainly deals with configuration as opposed to options for non-free firmware support.

I have also ordered a USB Ethernet adapter from Amazon as a last resort so hopefully this works if all else fails. GhostBSD might be an option but the last time I checked there was no way to install with full disk encryption.

Appreciate if anyone has any helpful tips I can try.

Thanks!
 

scottro

Daemon

Reaction score: 909
Messages: 2,061

If FreeBSD CURRENT doesn't have it, I doubt that GhostBSD will. You haven't said which card you have (Linux usually can use all but the very newest so you might be able to use a Linux USB to check, or if you haven't removed Windows yet, it should tell you).

Aside from USB to ethernet adapters, Amazon and other places also have USB-to-wireless adapters
Most of the adapters use some sort of Realtek chipset, so, while it might not work out of the box, you can usually get instructions as to what to add to /boot/loader.conf or elsewhere with man urtwn. There may be another driver as well, but I've forgotten which--for the adapters, I'm almost sure that they all work with urtwn, but again, you will have to add something to /boot/loader.conf to get it recognized, see the man page.

Keep in mind that even with the wireless adapters, you probably won't get 802.11AC speed. I don't know if any of the FreeBSD wireless drivers handle that, though I feel as if I've read that some people have gotten it with Atheros cards. I haven't gotten it with USB to wireless adapters or Intel cards, both of which do work on Linux.
 

kpa

Beastie's Twin

Reaction score: 1,848
Messages: 6,318

FreeBSD has next to zero commercial support when it comes to wireless hardware and that's why we don't even have the non-free driver packages that many Linux distros offer.
 
OP
R

rainy

New Member


Messages: 2

If FreeBSD CURRENT doesn't have it, I doubt that GhostBSD will. You haven't said which card you have (Linux usually can use all but the very newest so you might be able to use a Linux USB to check, or if you haven't removed Windows yet, it should tell you).

Aside from USB to ethernet adapters, Amazon and other places also have USB-to-wireless adapters
Most of the adapters use some sort of Realtek chipset, so, while it might not work out of the box, you can usually get instructions as to what to add to /boot/loader.conf or elsewhere with man urtwn. There may be another driver as well, but I've forgotten which--for the adapters, I'm almost sure that they all work with urtwn, but again, you will have to add something to /boot/loader.conf to get it recognized, see the man page.

Keep in mind that even with the wireless adapters, you probably won't get 802.11AC speed. I don't know if any of the FreeBSD wireless drivers handle that, though I feel as if I've read that some people have gotten it with Atheros cards. I haven't gotten it with USB to wireless adapters or Intel cards, both of which do work on Linux.

Thanks scottro

Your post reminded me that I have an old Belkin USB wireless adapter in a drawer. I plugged it in and restarted my laptop and it looks like it was detected (as a Realtek device). Now I just need to spend a bit of time configuring it but will hopefully sort this out soon. Thanks again!
 

scottro

Daemon

Reaction score: 909
Messages: 2,061

Glad to hear it. They are usually pretty easy to configure, if it's recognized as urtwn then look at the man page for that, if recognized as something else (rtwn?) then check that man page.

As for wireless itself, nowadays it won't see a wlan0 until it's configured. I have a quickstart page on wireless in FreeBSD at http://srobb.net/fbsdquickwireless.html
 

vchan

Member

Reaction score: 8
Messages: 51

Do you know what wifi chipset you have? Lenovo usually uses Intel or Qualcomm which are usually well supported. If it is an Intel chip then you will need to load the firmware at boot otherwise the device will not show up in ifconfig.
 

jardows

Active Member

Reaction score: 79
Messages: 126

I use an Intel wireless card in my FreeBSD testing laptop. It isn't detected by the installer, but it is available with the source code to compile in. Install source code, then compile a custom kernel to support the chip. I didn't have to download anything, but did take a little bit of research to make sure I used the correct driver and firmware. I just had to then manually setup the card in rc.conf, so a few extra steps, but not a difficult process.
 
Top