FreeBSD Wifi on a BCM4328 Wireless Card


Notes about configuring a wifi wireless network on FreeBSD 12.1, using an old laptop with an unsupported wireless card. Lots of forums said that the card is not supported and that it could not be done. But I refused to believe it, and this is a testimony to the resilience of FreeBSD.

    OS: FreeBSD 12.1-RELEASE-p10
    Laptop: Dell Inspiron 1525 (circa 2007)
    Memory: 4GB
    Wireless Card: 802.11g Broadcom BCM4328 SIBA bus BCM4312 rev 15

The history: while running FreeBSD 12.1 everything worked on my old Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop, except my wifi network. Going through blogs I discovered that the wifi card is not supported by generic FreeBSD kernel, so it does not work by default; and requires special tweaking. There’s no official guide for this wireless card. Tried many different recommendations from forum postings. Below is what what worked for me. There may be better ways; but if so then please comment.

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386BSD 1.0 Running on Qemu

DICLAIMER: This software is a component of “386BSD” developed by William F. Jolitz, TeleMuse.

Please review the full COPYRIGHT NOTICE before continuing.

With Qemu I was able to install and run 386BSD 1.0 Jolix (circa 1989-1994). It is not for the faint of heart. The public downloaded zip file came with no floppies, no CDROM, no installer; only the OS binaries. I had to figure out many things by trial and error, rinse and repeate: the best hard drive image format, dumping the OS binaries remotely, labeling the bootstrap, and fine tuning the startup procedures. Many undocumented steps were involved. I will possibly work on the step-by-step instructions once I am able to re-compile and figure out a stable running install.

386BSD is a historical and legendary operating system, because it is the first Unix that was ported to the Intel 386 CPU beginning in 1989. This preliminary version paved the way for all the other popular Unix versions in actuality, including FreeBSD, NetBSD and the like. This release, together with Minix, is part of the foundations of the modern Unix and Linux for the 386; it is a great academic point of reference for operating system porting and development today, especially for the x86 personal computer architecture; and TCP/IP networking, which also originated with the earlier 4.2BSD Unix.


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