Comtrend VR-3026e, no HT no 802.11n


I am using Comtrend VR-3026e with newest firmware 18.06.4

According to this it should support wifi 80211N, but I get maximum 10mbps and the interface is always created as Generic MAC80211 802.11bg, not 802.11bgn

I tried all the configurations in /etc/config /wireless, but cant get it to work properly. I tried also using broadcom instead of mac80211, but it wont even work at all.

Any tips please?

Example of current config:

root@OpenWrt:~# cat /etc/config/wireless

config wifi-device 'radio0'
        option type 'mac80211'
        option path 'pci0000:00/0000:00:01.0/ssb0:0'
        option channel 'auto'
        option country '00'
        option legacy_rates '1'
        option hwmode '11g'
        option htmode 'ht20'

config wifi-iface
        option device 'radio0'
        option mode 'ap'
        option ssid 'OpenWrt'
        option network 'lan'
        option encryption 'psk-mixed'
        option key 'asdffeee'

root@OpenWrt:~# iw dev
        Interface wlan0
                ifindex 202
                wdev 0xc3
                addr xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
                ssid OpenWrt
                type AP
                channel 1 (2412 MHz), width: 20 MHz (no HT), center1: 2412 MHz
                txpower 20.00 dBm

It's a Broadcom softmac (n-phy) design, which is barely supported at all via b43 (the b43 driver doesn't support HT mode, limiting performance to 54 MBit/s at most); this is not going to improve in the future.

1 Like

Thanks for the reply. What I dont understand however is why 802.11n support is listed on the openwrt page for the firmware for this model. If 802.11n is supported, then HT has to be supported too.
Is there any way to turn directly to developer with this matter?

The hardware does support it (and it probably works on the OEM firmware, with its proprietary drivers), but there is no free driver able to support HT/ VHT modes of operation (which would be required to go beyond 54 MBit/s) - be happy that b43 (partially) supports silicon beyond g-phy at all.

Sure, but apart from being presumptuous and condescending[0], what do you expect to happen?

Broadcom, the company, has never 'supported' (in the loosest sense of the word[1]) work on a FOSS driver for their softmac devices[2]. bcm43xx/ b43 is a driver that has been painstakingly developed by two clearly distinct teams under clean-room reverse engineering conditions. This has worked very well (considering the effort and time needed to get off the ground) for the chipsets of the time (up to g-phy), around the time Broadcom dabbled into lp-phy territory, these teams had mostly disbanded and took on other ventures (there is no reverse engineering team anymore, b43 kernel maintenance is listed as "Odd Fixes") and took on more fruitful endeavours. Broadcom pushing for (and succeeding) brcm80211 (brcmsmac and brcmfmac) was the final nail in the coffin.

BCM4321, as the first specimen of the n-phy generation (and support for the previous lp-phy generation is already spotty), has been released in 2006 -13 years ago-. Don't you think it's safe to assume that no further work is likely to happen at this point? Even your particular device, the Comtrend VR-3026e, has been discontinued in 2013, 6 years ago…

Hardware support and drivers don't materialize out of thin air, they need considerable amounts of developer time and efforts to be written, reviewed and maintained, which is even harder if neither hardware specifications and documentation nor opensource reference implementations (vulgo, "vendor drivers") exist. At some point, especially as affected hardware grows old and irrelevant, the only one motivated enough to expend this effort would be you - if you can provide patches[3] adding this support, I'm sure they'd be gladly accepted[4], but don't expect anyone else to do this work for you.

The easy solution would be to replace your >6 year old device with another one that actually is (at least close to-) fully supported by OpenWrt now. If you care about an integrated xDSL modem (which is never going to be supported in your vr-3026e at all), fully supported lantiq vr9 (VRX268/ VRX288) devices sell for 5-10 EUR/ USD (plus shipping) used (including 802.11ac support). If that isn't a requirement, new -fully supported- routers start around 20 USD new.

If you still want to appeal to some higher power, to "someone in charge of b43 development", I leave the task of finding the contact details to you - it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes of searching, the source is with you.

[0] to paraphrase it, "I consider this a bug, fix it now - pronto"; rest assured, anyone ever having worked in the general vicinity of bcm43xx/ b43 knows that HT/ VHT modes aren't supported in b43, but no one has signed up for the work required to add this either.
[1] I'm sure your preferred ${search_engine} will easily find, "shall we say, more colorful metaphors" about this situation than I'd be comfortable to use in public.
[2] yes, I'm aware of the existence of brcmsmac, but it neither covers your chipset, nor has it seen substantial development since it has been thrown over the fence.
[3] either of your own making or some developer team funded by you
[4] as long as you can demonstrate their legal status, contrary the precedent set by acx1xx/ tiacx