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I have a Broadcom Corporation BCM4352 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter. I always install bcmwl-kernel-source and dkms to make this wireless device work.

However, I see that the package broadcom-sta-dkms has almost the same files.

The descriptions of these two packages are also confusingly similar (both referencing "Broadcom", "driver", "source", "wireless", and "STA"):

  1. bcmwl-kernel-source

    Broadcom 802.11 Linux STA wireless driver source

  2. broadcom-sta-dkms

    dkms source for the Broadcom STA Wireless driver

What is the dfference between bcmwl-kernel-source and broadcom-sta-dkms, and which should I be installing?


For quick reference, here is a list of files that have the same name in both packages :

802.11.h
802.1d.h
bcmdefs.h
bcmendian.h
bcmeth.h
bcmevent.h
bcmip.h
bcmutils.h
bcmwifi_channels.h
bcmwifi_rates.h
broadcom-sta-dkms
broadcom-sta-dkms.conf
broadcom-sta.ids
dkms.conf
epivers.h
ethernet.h
ieee80211_radiotap.h
linux_osl.c
linux_osl.h
linuxver.h
osl.h
packed_section_end.h
packed_section_start.h
pcicfg.h
siutils.h
tkhash.h
typedefs.h
wlc_ethereal.h
wl_cfg80211_hybrid.c
wl_cfg80211_hybrid.h
wlc_hybrid.o_amd64
wlc_hybrid.o_i386
wlc_hybrid.o_shipped_x86_64
wlc_key.h
wlc_pub.h
wlc_types.h
wlc_utils.h
wlc_wowl.h
wl_dbg.h
wl_export.h
wlioctl.h
wl_iw.c
wl_iw.h
wl_linux.c
wl_linux.h
wpa.h
  • Having the same name does not say much, since you have unpacked those packages you could check with diff if they are really similar files. – Videonauth Nov 21 '17 at 0:18
  • Agreed, but the number of package names that are the exactly the same is suspiciously large. And I don't think I have enough expertise that looking at the difference in source code is going to be useful. I'm wondering if someone happens know why there are two packages for this broadcom adapter. I've actually seen some posts recommending one, and other posts recommending the other. Are these packages really interchangeable? (Yes, I could try uninstalling one, and installing the other, but it would be nice if someone already has an answer). – PJ Singh Nov 21 '17 at 0:38
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    Well maybe @chili555 can tell you more, he is the one I know of who might know the answer to that. – Videonauth Nov 21 '17 at 0:42
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    This might help: help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx – Terrance Nov 21 '17 at 0:44
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    @Terrance, please add as an Answer the Section "Broadcom STA Wireless driver (Proprietary)" from the Community Help link you found (help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx). – PJ Singh Nov 21 '17 at 1:34
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According to the Community Wiki for the Broadcom drivers states the following:

The propietary Broadcom STA Wireless driver is maintained upstream by Broadcom. As this driver is closed source, fixes in the driver itself may only be provided by Broadcom. As a convenience, Ubuntu offers two versions of this driver:

  1. The bcmwl-kernel-source package aims to offer a later version for a given release. Instructions for installation may be found later in this article.

  2. The broadcom-sta package aims to offer an earlier version for a given release. For further installation instructions, please see here.

The link above takes you to https://wiki.debian.org/wl which shows the compatible chipsets that the broadcom-sta driver support and installation instructions.

Hope this helps!

  • Will there be conflicts if those 2 are installed at the same time? Every time I upgrade to a new version of Linux kernel, my WiFi always stops working. I had those 2 installed. Right now, I'm trying to see if removing broadcom-sta-dkms will solve it. – YamiYukiSenpai Feb 22 '18 at 4:22
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I just ran apt-get autoremove to get rid of the generic header packages that are always polluting my system, but I noticed this time the bcmwl module was also removed. The utility told me that bcmwl was active before it was uninstalled, and after removal I still have wifi capability.

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