Figuring out if a router can do brcmfmac?


I'd like to pick up a Speedport W 724V Typ Ci to play around with Linux and OpenWrt on. I chose this one because it can be bought for very cheap (€10 on used market), seems pretty solid hardware-wise with its 128MB of RAM and 128MB of NAND and overall seems to be by far the best value offer I can currently find on my local used market.

The problem with it is that it's based on a Broadcom SoC and from what I can tell Broadcom wifi and Linux don't go well together regarding 802.11n and ac support, at least with the b43 driver. On the other hand, according to my research brcmfmac seems to not have such issues (assuming it works properly) but it doesn't seem to support all BCM43xx wifi chipsets. My question is is it possible to figure out whether brcmfmac will work on this particular router before buying it?

Thanks in advance.

It may be cheap, but any penny spent on it will be three pennies lost (your penny is gone, you've wasted your time and still have to dispose that garbage).

No, brcmfmac doesn't support it (and never will), neither will there likely ever be xDSL drivers.

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That sucks, guess I'll be looking out for another router. Thanks for your answer.

en:users:drivers:brcm80211 [Linux Wireless] (

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yeah, Broadcom is a poor option it seems like they just dismiss Linux, is it not an option to do a deal like ddwrt?.

Why are they so secretive of their driver or is it all software based and just dumb hardware like softmodems and all the magic in the driver?

is there a reason why open-source variants like the Nouveau project for Nvidia has not happened?

I guess it is just not worth the effort then there are easier options?

For that to happen, you would need two things:

  • first 'someone' who wants to commit to such a deal, to deal with their crap (in all capital letters)
    • this is guaranteed to bomb spectacularly with the next kernel upgrade, there is a reason why dd-wrt is often still using kernel 3.18(?) on some devices, OpenWrt will not.
    • don't expect that tying yourself to a binary driver is easy, it's hard work to keep it working - to tailor all the rest of the kernel (and userspace!) for it to keep working, expect much more work needed for that than for any free driver (even an out-of-tree driver like mwlwifi is (relatively speaking-) easier than that, as you can adapt the driver to changing kernel interface ('can' doesn't mean anyone actually will, long term, but with a closed driver you don't even have that option to begin with)).
  • a deal with the devil^w^wBroadcom typically involves some kind of compensation, your soul or your money - probably both. OpenWrt as a project doesn't have any money to pay Broadcom, nor would it want to pay them for closed source -illegal- drivers.
  • oh, and -yes-, thirdly Broadcom would also need to be willing to commit to such a deal.
    I may be wrong, as I'm not following dd-wrt in the slightest, but I don't think they have "a deal" about the current generation stuff (bcm4908+bcm43684) either, which means either Broadcom doesn't want to talk to them anymore or that dd-wrt can't pay them enough anymore. Have you seen any third party firmware covering their current 802.11ax hardware (any that doesn't merely respin the binary vendor firmware)?

OpenWrt supports over 30 (excluding any Broadcom targets), all of those don't need binary drivers, all of those can be upgraded to newer kernels and be maintained in (close to-) lockstep. There is a world beyond Broadcom, no one needs to take up with their bullshit. In the grand scheme of things, Broadcom has gotten rather irrelevant, these days we have alternatives, alternatives that work and often are better. Yes, it's not all roses there either, but it doesn't go remotely as far into the abyss as with Broadcom (or nVidia; you can use your favourite search engine with the keywords "Linus Torvalds" and "nvidia" to get an adequate response that applies to Broadcom equally well).

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