26 January 2009

Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo A1655G, Broadcom BCM4318 (and Ubuntu 8.10)

If you have a Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo A1655G and have tried to install the linux operating system, you have probably been dissapointed with its wireless card: a Broadcom BCM4318. It has two main problems:

  1. It is not directly recognized nor supported by major linux distributions. In fact it does not work with the b43 driver for the Broadcom 43xx wireless cards, even though it is a 43xx model and it is the driver suggested by Ubuntu 8.10.
  2. It does not have a hardware switch to turn it on and off. Instead, you need to use a radio button which is controlled by a software driver.
The lack of wireless capabilities is the main reason why I stopped using GNU/Linux in my laptop. The good news is that, after two years from that experience, wifi can be now used! I've tried Ubuntu 8.10 and a couple of kernel modules and it works!.

Here is the information you need to solve the two main problems of this wireless card described above:
  1. Follow the instructions and files provided in Samuel Barrett's blog to use the Windows driver with ndiswrapper and install the wifi.sh script. Thanks Samuel!
  2. Download the fsaa1655g module (I used fsa1655g-kernel-2.6.26.tar.bz2) from Martin Vecera's site.  Follow the instructions to build it and install it as a kernel module. Thanks Martin!
  3. Add the fsa1655g module at the end of the wifi.sh startup script: sudo modprobe fsaa1655g. This will turn the wireless card on by default when you boot your machine.
This has worked for me perfectly in Ubuntu 8.10. Now I can scan an connect to wireless networks using Ubuntu's Network Manager. Unbelievable!

Of course, use this information at your own risk. If you don't have the same laptop and linux distribution or you don't take care in certain steps, you can mess up your system and you will be the only responsible for that :)


Samuel Barrett said...

Well done on getting your wireless card working!

If you let me have the wifi.sh file you created I will update my post with another section about your amilo and a download including your file or I could just add a link to your site (whatever you prefer).

If you need any other help just shout!



Betawriter said...

Hi Samuel,

Sorry for the late response. I think a link to this post is enough as steps are very easy.

Thanks for making this work after so much time!


Alex H. said...

You can't imagine how grateful I am for your solution for this, because I also ditched ubuntu for not using wifi.
But I have no idea how to make this http://www.marvec.org/amilo/ compiling thing, for I don't have any idea what I am doing at all.
Could you PLEASE explain it to me like driving a car to blind man? :-))
And would you send me your wifi.sh file via e-mail to isot80@web.de please?

Thank you so much
Alex H. from G.

Betawriter said...

Hi Alex,

Just download fsaa1655g-kernel-2.6.26.tar.bz2 and extract the files using "bzip2 -d fsaa1655g-kernel-2.6.26.tar.bz". You might need to install the bzip2 tool.

After extrating the files, get into the fsa1655g directory and type "make", then "make install", then "modprobe fsaa1655g". You might need to do this with root privileges. Log in as root or use "sudo" before every command.

I don't have the wifi.sh script here, but it's the same as the original one in Samuel's blog with one extra line at the end: "sudo modprobe fsaa1655g"

David said...

Thank you very much, you solution works like a charm on my girlfriend's Amilo A1655G with Ubuntu 9.04!