Set up GUI to manage Broadcom BCM4318 network settings

Q I have a stable Linux system that runs my desktop and small home/office LAN. I keep a few spare partitions on my hard disk to try out new distros, and from curiosity I installed Fedora. The main challenge I always have to overcome in such experiments is getting my PCI wireless card to work. It uses the rather infamous Broadcom BCM4318 chipset and is not all Linux-friendly. Following tips and advice I used the following three steps to activate the card. First, I installed the drivers using NdisWrapper. Second, I disabled the BCM43xx Fedora driver. Third, following instructions on SourceForge, I tweaked two network files [Modprobe.conf and icfg-eth0]. All of that enabled my eth0 interface to work like wlan0 in other distros. The card starts from the command line like so:

  • /etc/init.d/network restart
  • To finish the job I activated network manager from the system menu on the KDE desktop. I brought up the network configuration box to do a few last tweaks, but it was empty. It shows no NIC interface of any kind and yet the whole system is running perfectly. I can surf in technicolour and multimedia splendour on broadband. How do I get the GUI controls to reflect what has already been done in the murky depths of the system using the command line?

    A Although you have taken a somewhat unorthodox route to enable your wireless networking, it works - well done! Did you set up the NdisWrapper alias by using these commands as root?

    ndiswrapper -ma
    echo "alias wlan0 ndiswrapper" >> /etc/modprobe.conf

    Most importantly, after doing all that, did you use the Fedora system-config -network tool to create a new network interface for the device? If you've done all that and Network Manager still isn't working, you could try starting it at boot time like this (again, as root user):

    chkconfig NetworkManager on
    chkconfig NetworkManagerDispatcher on

    Network Manager is actually quite a new tool, and is under constant development. You may find your problems just disappear in Fedora 7, which should be out in April.

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