RT-N18U, No wireless on 17.01

I have tried installing both the 17.01 stable as well as the latest snapshot on an Asus RT-N18U.

Everything works great except for no wifi device being recognized (and no /etc/config/wireless ever being created). Wifi works correctly when using different firmwares (stock, DD-WRT).

Following internet search, I have tried installing different drivers (b43, b43 legacy), rebooting, uninstalling drivers and also searched for the proprietary driver kmod-brcm-wl, which does not seem to be available for the given architecture.

Any ideas what can be done to get the wifi functionality working?


I'm afraid your wireless (which, if Wikidevi is correct, is BCM4360) is unsupported. Broadcom never released any drivers for that hardware, be it closed or open source.

I suggest Asuswrt-Merlin:

Similar to ASUS stock firmware but more useful. Much better command line options and "third party software through Entware, with an easy setup script"

Two years have passed, are there any changes with support for the bcm4360 chip and wifi? Here the table says what is supported by the b43 driver:

But, if you click on the b43 hyperlink, you can get to this window https://openwrt.org/docs/techref/driver.wlan/b43, and then to this https://wireless.wiki.kernel.org/en/users/drivers/b43 The last window says that b43 does not support bcm4360, but there is an alternative wl driver.

By installing OpenWrt 19.07.3 (Luci) on my router, I made sure that wifi does not work. By installing the b43 driver and running a couple of commands:

rm -f /etc/config/wireless
wifi config
cat /etc/config/wireless

the file with the config turned out to be empty, that is, the driver did not fit. I began to search in the repository, through the OpenWrt menu, the wl driver was not found. And even set OpenWrt 18.06, where he also did not find the wl driver.

I am ready to use the proprietary wifi driver until I buy a new router. Why is this driver not in the repository? Maybe there is another repository?

I don't think OpenWrt will have any proprietary drivers.

And this is https://openwrt.org/packages/pkgdata/kmod-brcm-wl? Just found) I understand that the version of OpenWrt 19.07.3 is completely fresh and not all .ipk packages are still ported. So, to make this package available for installation, do I need to find the OpenWrt image 19.07.0 and install it?

But for some reason I do not find kmod-brcm-wl in the OpenWrt-19.07.0 release https://downloads.openwrt.org/releases/19.07.0/targets/bcm53xx/generic/packages/

How can this be fixed?

I found the source of this driver https://github.com/openwrt/openwrt/tree/openwrt-19.07/package/kernel/broadcom-wl But I can not find information on how to collect .ipk packages from sources. Can someone help me and give a link to package assembly information for my router?

On Linux, this bcm4360 chip with the broadcom-wl driver works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG_EHEWHQuM&t=507s

P.S. I'm sorry, I'm a new OpenWrt user and I still don’t understand.

What makes you believe that the mere passing of time would change anything in regards to bcm4360 support?

it can't be, there are only mips/ mipsel binaries available, ARM or x86 binaries have never been published.

There is no source, just pre-compiled binaries, with some driver shim around it.

b43 works well for bphy/ gphy devices, lpphy (which would be the later 802.11g chipsets) support is already hit or miss. nphy support is basically non-existent (at least HT is not supported at all, limiting you to 54 MBit/s at most), support for 802.11ac has never existed (yes, minimal device support has been added, but also limited to non-HT/VHT rates, so 54 MBit/s at most; it technically exists, but you don't want to use it). b43's support status is officially labelled as "odd fixes", development for it has fizzled out way over 12 years ago - don't expect anything to happen (aside from casual bugfixes) here and not at all for 802.11n/ac/ax chipsets.

The proprietary/ illegal broadcom-wl drivers are over 10 years old, they pretty much cover 802.11n chipsets (BCM4322 et al), badly, in a very buggy and broken way (integration into luci/ netifd and hostapd has been rotting away ever since) and including known/ unfixed security issues. But BCM4360 has only been released to market in 2012 - aside from there not being an ARM binary (which would be needed for the rt-n18u) for broadcom-wl to begin with.

Chances for this to change in 20 years are basically zero. Broadcom keeps ignoring kernel development (to phrase it kindly and keeping both eyes shut), aside from basic work on their fullmac designs (used in smartphones/ android, the RPi and several ARM devboards --> brcmsmac), softmac designs like the BCM4360 continue to remain proprietary. Development for b43 has ceased a decade ago, no one is working on it (aside from basic maintenance work for existing devices), no one is looking on adding support for new devices.

If you do want to use OpenWrt, Broadcom (softmac-) wireless is a no-go. The good news, there are alternatives from vendors who do care (at least somewhat) about mainline support for their devices, in return they are working pretty well on OpenWrt. The only ones to blame here, aside from Broadcom, are those who still buy Broadcom based devices with the intention to use them with OpenWrt.

Thanks for the detailed answer! I bought my router a very long time ago and was not yet familiar with opensource and did not know anything about broadcom and their suspicious chips.
And what kind of driver can be used in tomato firmware https://tomato.groov.pl ? This firmware has source codes. All wifi functions work there completely. Is it possible to take it from there?

Who understands, you can pull the driver out of the "tomato" and make it available on openwrt? The router is not bad, although already outdated. They are sold cheaply on ebay.