I just read that Broadcom has open-sourced their wireless adapter drivers and was curious if this would have any affect on my Dell XPS M1330 which sometimes has flaky wifi.

6 Answers 6


You can use lshw to show information on all devices in you system, forinstance what driver the device uses, this information will look something like this:

            description: Wireless interface
            product: PRO/Wireless 2200BG [Calexico2] Network Connection
            vendor: Intel Corporation
            physical id: 2
            bus info: pci@0000:0b:02.0
            logical name: eth1
            version: 05
            serial: 01:22:ff:00:11:99
            width: 32 bits
            clock: 33MHz
            capabilities: pm bus_master cap_list ethernet physical wireless
            configuration: broadcast=yes driver=ipw2200 driverversion=1.2.2kmprq firmware=ABG: (Dec 12 2007) ip= latency=64 link=yes maxlatency=24 mingnt=3 multicast=yes wireless=IEEE 802.11g
            resources: irq:21 memory:b4001000-b4001fff

In the line starting with configuration: it says driver=ipw2200 which mens my wireless uses the ipw2200 kernel driver this can in turn point you to weather you will (in time) benefit from this release. As far as i know all the broardcom network drivers have been released, this means that if you use any broardcom driver now it will in time (properly) get better supported.

  • As of note, ipw2200 is for Intel chipsets.
    – Broam
    Sep 13, 2010 at 22:09
  • I'd add to Source Lab's excellent answer that you can show only network devices using "lshw -C network".
    – user8979
    Feb 24, 2011 at 21:09

lspci should have an entry for your wireless adapter, including the manufacturer.


The Ubuntu help page for the Dell XPS M1330 suggests it's an intel wifi chipset.

Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-card 

But the lspci shows up a broadcom device:

09:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation Unknown device 1713 (rev 02)
0c:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Unknown device 4229 (rev 61)

Admittedly that says it's an ethernet adapter but it's not uncommon to have multi-purpose chipsets in these things. So... I'm not sure.

  • That's just the ethernet card, the Intel card is the wifi chip Feb 3, 2012 at 23:19

If you're not too squeamish, you could take the panel off that's covering up the card on the back. Dell does a good job of making cards like that pretty accessible.

My wife has a Dell Studio 17 and the wireless went out, so I replaced the card. It says right on the card that it's an Intel.

Oh! and don't break anything...and don't blame me if you do...and all that disclaimer stuff. :)

  • 1
    I would advise against actually voiding the warranty on your laptop - there are pragmatic ways to find out your card's chipset. Sep 10, 2010 at 22:26
  • I could be wrong, but I don't think it would void the warranty to take the cover off of the card and just look at it. There's a panel on the bottom specifically for accessing the card. and you don't have to take it out. the sticker is right there.
    – HughH
    Sep 30, 2010 at 17:01
  • Well sometimes the card has a Broadcom chipset but Dell would then brand it as a 1501, etc with a huge sticker or whatever. And then you've got confusion.!
    – gontadu
    Apr 28, 2011 at 13:19

AFAIK, the open-sourced drivers will only be available for new Broadcom cards, so it probably will not support older cards, such as the notorious BCM4311.

The currently supported firmwares are BCM4313, BCM43224, BCM43225.


Open a terminal

Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal

At the $ prompt, type:

username@computer:~$ lspci | grep -i broadcom

That command will list your PCI devices and the grep statement will list any Broadcom devices from that list. If you have a Broadcom device, your output will look something like this:

06:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5705_2 Gigabit Ethernet (rev 03)

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