Wireless Inspiron 6400 anyone?

Scott Bennett bennett at cs.niu.edu
Wed Oct 25 01:30:03 UTC 2006

     On Sun, 22 Oct 2006 07:30:26 -0500 Lane <lane at joeandlane.com> wrote:

>On Sunday 22 October 2006 01:21, Scott Bennett wrote:
>>      On Sun, 22 Oct 2006 00:06:36 -0500 Patrick Bowen <pbowen at fastmail.fm>
>> wrote:
>> >Lane wrote:
>> >> Hello,
>> >>
>> >> I've a new inspiron 6400 running FreeBSD 6.1 and I can't get Wireless to
>> >> work. It works on WXP using the Dell WLAN drivers at
>> >> http://ftp.us.dell.com/network/R115321.EXE
>> >>
>> >> I've followed the instructions at
>> >> http://dannyman.toldme.com/2005/01/05/freebsd-howto-ndisulate-windows-dr
>> >>ivers/ but no ndis driver shows up after kldload if_ndis.
>> >>
>> >> ifconfig -a looks like:
>> >>
>> >> bfe0: flags=8843<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> mtu 1500
>> >>         options=8<VLAN_MTU>
>> >>         inet6 fe80::215:c5ff:feb8:39e%bfe0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x1
>> >>         inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast
>> >>         ether 00:15:c5:b8:03:9e
>> >>         media: Ethernet autoselect (100baseTX <full-duplex>)
>> >>         status: active
>> >> fwe0:
>> >> mtu 1500
>> >>         options=8<VLAN_MTU>
>> >>         inet6 fe80::304f:c0ff:fe9c:7541%fwe0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x2
>> >>         inet netmask 0xff000000 broadcast
>> >>         ether 32:4f:c0:9c:75:41
>> >>         ch 1 dma 0
>>      I hate to be a wet blanket, but the above is most likely not the
>> wireless card.  Did the Inspiron 6400 come with an IrDA (infrared
>> interface)?  FreeBSD seems to want to treat the IrDA as an ordinary network
>> interface attached to the firewire controller.  A Dell wireless card uses,
>> as you noted, a Broadcom chip set, typically one for which no information
>> has been made available to open source developers.  Some of the older ones
>> appear to work using the ndisgen/ndiscvt method.  I've had no luck with
>> that so far on an Inspiron XPS (the original model) with a Dell 1450
>> dual-band wireless card.
>>      I called Dell XPS tech. support yesterday to find out the path to the
>> correct bcmwl5.inf file in Windows XP Home Ed., and they *refused* to tell
>> me. They even seemed slightly dismayed that I'd already found the correct
>> bcmwl5.sys file via the Windows XP device manager.  After more digging
>> around, I think I've found the correct .inf file, but have yet to find time
>> to try running the two files through ndisgen to see what happens under 6.1.
>>  Under 5.x using ndiscvt, I got either panics during boot or else other,
>> non-panic error messages when trying to load the .ko file.
>>  [.sig deleted  --SB]
>> _______________________________________________
>Thanks, Scott.  You may be right about that device, although I don't remember 
>anything about a irDa in the specs.

     If you have one, the sensor window should be easily visible on the
outside of the case.  On my Inspiron XPS, it's right below the cover latch
>I've found that I can kldload if_fwip.ko and device fwip0 is created.  Whereas 
>no combination bcmwl5.inf and bcmwl5.sys (so far) has ever caused ndis0 to 
>show up (but they do love the kernel panic!).  Since fwip0 is specific to ip 
>over firewire, it may mean that the ndis route is a dead end on this 
>particular machine.

     I just tried ndisgen on the two files from my WinXP system.  It complains
that the bcmwl5.inf is in Unicode and needs to be converted to ASCII, but that
iconv is not installed.  Well, iconv is not part of the base system, but rather
is in the ports tree.  I can't install iconv because, without the wireless
access, I have no Internet connection on my FreeBSD 6.1 system.  Sigh.  I guess
I'm going to have to bother a friend to let me plug my machine into his router
for a few hours to fetch and build ports.  Bummer.
>I guess I keep monkeying with it until it breaks or works ... then I'll report 
>back :)
     Yes, I'd like to know if and how you can get past it.  For now, it seems
that FreeBSD is still only generally useful as a desktop system.  To use it on
a portable/laptop/notebook, one has to be lucky enough to have a supported
wireless card unless one has a plug-in network connection at home.  I'm stuck
using twm until I can fetch and build a better window manager, and I have no
DRM support because the version of X that shipped with FreeBSD 6.1 doesn't
have 3D support for a Mobility Radeon 9800.  At least under 5.x, MESA DRM was
included, which was indeed slow, but did also work.
     BTW, does anyone know why the radeon driver complains during
initialization that a device found in LINUX (but not in FreeBSD) is not found?

                                  Scott Bennett, Comm. ASMELG, CFIAG
* Internet:       bennett at cs.niu.edu                              *
* "A well regulated and disciplined militia, is at all times a good  *
* objection to the introduction of that bane of all free governments *
* -- a standing army."                                               *
*    -- Gov. John Hancock, New York Journal, 28 January 1790         *

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list