Missing 5GHz WiFi on WNDR3700v3

Hello There,

I have installed LEDE on an WNDR3700v3 router from Netgear after reading that it was supported (moving from DD-WRT).

Once installation finished, it correctly detected the two Wi-Fi interfaces but both were in 2.4GHz only (while one should be at 5GHz).

I've been gathering around that support for BCM4331 (which seems to be the Broadcom chipset for Wi-Fi for this model) by the b43 driver is not so great and might be the reason for 5GHz not working.

I would like to ask if using another Broadcom driver (such as brcmsmac or brcmfmac or the proprietary driver, Broadcom STA) would help and how I should proceed with that (should I first remove the b43 and kmod for example?).

It seems the proprietary driver has better support for this chipset and can see the kmod-brcm-wl which seems to correspond to it
Would I need other packages? Such as wl or wlc or nas, etc..
How should I proceed to test this?

DD-WRT used to recognised the 5GHz interface but unfortunately I do not know which driver was used.

Thanks for your help and insight.

Ok, I think I will have to drop LEDE and go back to DD-WRT, that's a shame...

I tried to install the Broadcom drivers (kmod-brcm-wl, wl, wlc and nas) and I removed the kmod-b43 to avoid conflicts.
After restart of the router, I have now three wireless interfaces:

  • The two old radioX from the kmod-b43 (I suspect)
  • A new wl0 for Broadcom (strangely identified as a BCM4329...)

Trying to do "iw wl0 info", I get a message nl80211 not found (I suspect because kmod-43 is not there anymore).

Apparently, the wl driver cannot load the wl1, from the system log:
wl1: driver failed with code 11

Searching for this, I find the following link:
Which seems to suggest, wl driver is too old and it's dead in water...

So it seems this model will never be fully supported with OpenWRT/LEDE and people looking for an alternative to the legacy firmware should look at DD-WRT (I haven't tried Tomato variant to see if it works)

I thought my router was the only one with 5 Ghz issues. I'm slowly realizing as I keep up on this issue that 5 Ghz radio problems are more common in Lede as a whole than I once thought.

Indeed, it seems 5GHz on BCM4331 is a no go until a charitable soul either:

  • Adds support for 5GHz on HT-PHY on b43 driver (seems unlikely)
  • Updates the broadcom driver (wl) from its current version ( in OpenWRT/LEDE

The second point might be possible as DD-WRT/Tomato both I believe use newer version of said driver ( or newer).

Until then (as I don't have enough knowledge to do it), your best chance is to use DD-WRT or a Tomato variants (I'll personally give a try to Advanced Tomato soon).

I'm afraid broadcom-wl in OpenWrt/LEDE does not support the BCM4331 5 GHz 802.11an radio altogether.

DD-Wrt has NDAs in place with Broadcom, so they can use more up to date drivers (Broadcom doesn't hand them out to just anyone). OpenWrt/LEDE only support drivers that are publicly available for recent kernels (here, 4.4 and soon 4.9). Broadcom support has improved recently, but only for (some) newer AC devices, to my knowledge - and that support is provided by yet another driver, not broadcom-wl.

As an aside, I see people often refer to DD-Wrt as an 'open source' solution, but while the basics are OSS, they do not really seem to care about open drivers etc. The OpenWrt/LEDE community has a different position on that.

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Indeed, Internet seems to suggest that DD-WRT gets access to newer drivers.
I am aware as well of the position of the OpenWRT/LEDE Team regarding closed source drivers as the project is fully OSS.

I don't think I've pointed out that DD-WRT was OSS though.

What I haven't been able to get a clear view on though, is whether the new broadcom driver (seemingly used in DD-WRT) is at all available for MIPS archi or not as it seems it was made available on x86/64 archi at least since other Linux projects (Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch, etc...) seem to have solved the 5GHz issue on this chipset (but I might be wrong here).

Here the NDAs you mention might be at play and maybe the MIPS variant was made available to a selected few.

No, that was just a general observation. People often wonder why DD-Wrt supports stuff LEDE/OpenWrt don't, it's often as easy as that: access to drivers.


Does the wl driver built as part of the overall LEDE build not work? I have no issue building (if needed), just not sure how to enable / use the wl driver.


LEDE devs do not have access to the newer wl drivers that AC hardware needs afaik. At least, not to the ones that can be built with the newer kernels LEDE uses.

Ahhh ... so that's how (for example) Tomato works - stick with the older kernel, that matches to the binary driver that's available. Right?

Too bad, I like LEDE, and want to use it (i.e. build and flash to my router), but losing 5 GHz is a showstopper ... :frowning:


OK, this is where I advertise my lack of competence here ... :frowning_face:. Why is it not possible to download and use the source code at https://www.broadcom.com/support/download-search/?pf=Wireless+LAN+Infrastructure?


that’s STA only drivers for x86/64

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Unfortunately some of the older hardware that used to be used for good hacking and testing (like the Cisco/Linksys E4200v1) and other manufacturers used the Broadcom BCM4331 for their 5GHz radio. Without access to the drivers for this chipset (or someone willing to kill themselves to write one without notes), pretty much anything with this chipset is a dead end on the LEDE project. There are tons of sites that show how to "extract" the drivers from "paid for" copies but they are long involved processes and definately do not follow the opensource model.

You can run the LEDE software just to keep up with what it does (and be limited to the older 802.11bg stuff) or drop back to either the stock software (not bad, but dated) or a DD-WRT variant (see earlier postings as to why). Currently

The last DD-WRT variant I've seen tested/recommended for stability and performance (at least for the E4200v1 I have) is at http://ddwrt.stevejenkins.com/builds/30880/

Testing with the Tomato variants gives functionality but not performance. Same with the 3.x kernels (the recommended build still uses the older 2.x kernels)

Since this chipset (BMC4331, lifecycle still active) has basically been replaced with the BCM49408, its unlikely that there will be any driver progress for the LEDE community.

Some side notes:
root@LEDE:/lib/firmware/b43# nvram show |egrep 'devpath|devid'

The 0x4331 shows that this chip should support:
#define BCM4331_D11N_ID 0x4331 /* 4331 802.11n dualband id */

So it is a dual band chip. Since its dual band, you see it in LEDE as a second 802.11bg radio (don't use it as it has different antennas designed for 5GHz, not for 2.5GHz

So I suppose, 2 years later, this is still the same situation? I've got a wndr3700v3 here that I've been using purely as a WAP to improve my wifi coverage, and just updated it to openwrt after hearing about the exploits that Netgear will not fix. :-/

I really don't want to run DDwart..