BCM STA proprietary wireless driver

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BCM STA proprietary wireless driver

Postby base1268 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:24 pm

Hey there....

Just installed LM13 MATE x64 and enjoying it ,,,, so far............ :roll:

I opened the 'Additional Drivers' tab in control panel and after a search it lists the BCM STA proprietary wireless driver as available.

Can someone tell me if this is worth installing please...?

I have a Samsung RV-511-S01 that uses the BCM 4313 wireless chipset in the card and I don't seem to be experiencing any issues with internet connexions... all working fine.... but wondered if this driver is listed as preferable or just as an alternative for those having problems...?

base1268........... 8)
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Re: BCM STA proprietary wireless driver

Postby karlchen on Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:36 pm

Hello, base1268.

Well, I'd say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you can't fix it don't break it. :wink:
In short words provided your Broadcom 4313 wifi adapter works fine using the driver that comes along with Linux Mint 13 x64 there should be no reason for replacing it by the STA driver.
(I admit on my Mint 13 xfce 32-bit, I have done exactly this, and the Broadcom wifi 4313 still works fine. - It was not broken. I fixed it nevertheless. And it still ain't broke. Lucky me.
Cf. How to install Mint 13 32-bit xfce using Mint4win -> Section "Finishing Linux Mint 13 base installation" - Note that this is just a side note. The thread is about a totally different topic.)
The reason why I did switch to the STA driver was that I expected to get better wifi performance by using the proprietary driver, because I get better graphical performance by using the proprietary Nividia driver than the genuine nouvea driver. Yet, in my case, it turnt out that what it is true for the graphics card need not be true for the wifi adapter. At least I cannot tell any speed difference.

So, yes, your assumption is true, using the proprietary driver may be the solution in case the genuine driver which comes along with Mint 13 does not support your specific wifi adapter at all or not properly.

You might post the output of
Code: Select all
inxi -Nx
and
Code: Select all
iwconfig
This should tell whether your wifi adapter is recognized, which driver is in use and whether it seems to work all right.

Note:
Remove the real ESSID from the iwconfig output. No need to let us know the display name of your wireless network.

Cheers,
Karl
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Re: BCM STA proprietary wireless driver

Postby base1268 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:40 pm

Cheers Karl...

I'm out in the stix so rely on tethering my mo-fo internet signal from '3' to get a usable connexion... and it gives me between 3 and 6 Meg depending on time of day etc.... and that's good enough to watch the Beeb iplayer with only the very occasional buffer.... and considering it's all you can eat data I really can't complain tho of course we always want more if it's available... nature of the beast.

Can you decipher this output for me please...?... I have no idea how those numbers stack up and if there's any way of improving what I have... so any advice appreciated.

Nick


base1268@BASE1268-RV-511 ~ $ inxi -Nx
Network: Card-1: Realtek RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller
driver: r8169 ver: 2.3LK-NAPI port: 4000 bus-ID: 05:00.0
Card-2: Broadcom BCM4313 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN Controller driver: brcmsmac bus-ID: 03:00.0

base1268@BASE1268-RV-511 ~ $ iwconfig
lo no wireless extensions.

wlan0 IEEE 802.11bgn ESSID: xxxxxxxx
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.437 GHz Access Point: 90:C1:15:86:93:C6
Bit Rate=43.3 Mb/s Tx-Power=19 dBm
Retry long limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
Power Management:off
Link Quality=50/70 Signal level=-60 dBm
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:18 Invalid misc:62 Missed beacon:0

eth0 no wireless extensions.
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Re: BCM STA proprietary wireless driver

Postby karlchen on Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:20 am

Hello, base1268,

sorry for letting you wait for an answer for so long. :oops:
base1268 wrote:base1268@BASE1268-RV-511 ~ $ inxi -Nx
Network: Card-1: Realtek RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller
driver: r8169 ver: 2.3LK-NAPI port: 4000 bus-ID: 05:00.0
Card-2: Broadcom BCM4313 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN Controller driver: brcmsmac bus-ID: 03:00.0

The first line is about your wired network adapater, Realtek RTL8111/8168B. The Linux driver name is r8169.
The second line is about your wireless network adpater, Broadcom BCM4313 802.11b/g/n. The string 802.11b/g/n is a technical abbreviation which tells that your card supports ethernet standard 802.11 b - g - and n, which basically is good and up-to-date.
The driver name is brcmsmac.

base1268@BASE1268-RV-511 ~ $ iwconfig
lo no wireless extensions.

wlan0 IEEE 802.11bgn ESSID: xxxxxxxx
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.437 GHz Access Point: 90:C1:15:86:93:C6
Bit Rate=43.3 Mb/s Tx-Power=19 dBm
Retry long limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
Power Management:off
Link Quality=50/70 Signal level=-60 dBm
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:18 Invalid misc:62 Missed beacon:0

eth0 no wireless extensions.
The iwconfig command seems to confirm that basically your Broadcom wlan adapter works fine and that your wlan connection seems to work fine, too.
"Mode managed" means managed by Network Manager.
The current bit rate will vary depending on how much data is being transferred at a given time. It is the bit rate between the Broadcom card and your DSL router. The displayed bit rate may or may not be correct. With some wlan adapter iwconfig seems to be unable to determine the correct bit rate. At least for some adapters iwconfig and my DSL router always disagree on the current bit rate.
The link quality again tells you something about how strong the DSL router wireless signal is. 50/70 should be good enough.
So your Broadcom card should not exhibit any problems communicating with the DSL router.

All this is pretty unrelated to the up- and download speed which you will have between your DSL router and your internet provider. And they are the only ones who can really analyze whether a line works as designed or whether there are distorting signals on the line which will slow down the speed or even lead to interruptions.

So from my point of view, based on my (limited own) experience, your Broadcom wlan adapter seems to be working all right and there does not seem to be a serious reason for changing the Broadcom driver software.

Kind regards,
Karl
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Re: BCM STA proprietary wireless driver

Postby base1268 on Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:03 am

Awesome.......... many thanks Karl.......... :D

I've found that since using Linux I get a smoother uninterrupted video streaming.... if I run the BBC iplayer thru google chrome browser in windows 7 I often get buffering interruptions... but since using the same route with Linux it hardly ever buffers now.

In trying to understand 'why' this happens... are you able to explain...?... I'm wondering if Linux does a better job of managing the internet connexion than windows...?
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Re: BCM STA proprietary wireless driver

Postby karlchen on Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:05 pm

Hello, base1268.

I've found that since using Linux I get a smoother uninterrupted video streaming.... [...] are you able to explain...?
Not for sure. Yet, I could imagine that on your Windows machine like on mine an on access antivirus software checks incoming data streams from the internet for signs of malware. This may have a negative impact on video streams. This is why the antivirus software that I use on Windows allows the user - at his own risk - to define exceptions, i.e. data streams which will not be checked.
On the Mint machine, there will not be an on access antivirus software which checks incoming data streams thus potentially slowing them down.

I'm wondering if Linux does a better job of managing the internet connexion than windows...?
As much as I would like to confirm so, the truth is that different users may come to exactly opposite conclusions. It depends on your hardware as well as on the software that you are using. If you go through the Mint forums and/or the Ubuntu forums you will not have problems locating threads where users complain that their wireless speed is better on Windows than it is on Ubuntu or on Mint.

Comparing wireless performance on the recent Mint editions (Maya, Nadia) with wireless performance on the recent Windows editions (Vista, Windows 7), my experience is that they all perform equally well. Yet, if you go back to Ubuntu 10.04 e.g., have got an Artheros wifi adapter, then Windows XP will perform much better than Ubuntu 10.04. Running the same machine and the same wifi adapter on Mint 13 or 14 the Artheros wifi adapter performs fine.
So clearly it all depends ...

Cheers,
Karl
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