Does Your Wireless Not Work on FreeBSD or PC-BSD?

If so, we need your help!

We’ve setup a wiki area in order to collect information on missing wireless drivers or existing drivers with missing functionality. If you have already struggled with your wireless and know that your device is not supported, take a minute to make sure that it is listed in the appropriate table.

We also need your help spreading the word so that we can get as many drivers as possible created and fixed in time for 9.0. Please tweet, blog, FB, etc. so that other users and developers are aware of this resource. If you’re a developer working on the driver, please put a note indicating this in the comment section for the device/driver. You can also add text (or create a new table) when your driver is ready for testing–we’ll help you spread the word so that the driver can be tested by as many users as possible.

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Written by dru. Posted in testers

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Comments (22)

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dru Lavigne, поехали!, Oliver Herold, Humpbert Humperdink, PC-BSD and others. PC-BSD said: Does Your Wireless Not Work on FreeBSD or PC-BSD? If so, we need your help: […]

  • November 16, 2010 at 11:50 am |

    I do not know how to add my wifi to that list.
    But I share my experience.
    I have an Atheros AR5001 wifi card. It is working on Freebsd 8.1-RELEASE.
    WPA2 Working. On 32bit system.

    • November 16, 2010 at 12:06 pm |

      Just to confirm: it is working after using ndisgen or with the FreeBSD ath driver?

  • November 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm |

    It is working WITH freebsd driver “ath”.

    • November 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm |

      That’s what I thought you meant. I’ve started another table of known working devices at in the hopes that it proves to be a useful resource. It is linked from the Wireless Testing page and I’ll add some more explanatory text around the new Table and a blog entry on its existence tomorrow.

  • mato
    November 17, 2010 at 10:44 am |

    i’d been using iwi for years without issues, latest on 6.4. then i upgraded to freebsd 8.0 and suddenly i’ve been experiencing regular crashes since. when i did not load/use the driver, system performance was stable. i reported this (with panic screen shots) on mailing lists yet none of devs replied, apart from a few other users. iwi driver is definitely in worse state as it emits various messages during boot and after wards. probably broken with all the wi-fi framework refactoring. now with 8.1 it’s not better and i effectively stopped using this old laptop and thus freebsd for day-to-day work. really sad story.

    • November 18, 2010 at 6:42 am |

      Yes, that is sad. I’ve experienced similar problems with the run driver which worked fine til I upgraded to 8.1.

      Do you have an URL to your posting and screen shots?

  • mato
    November 18, 2010 at 7:18 am |

    there were quite a few. please google search for “gamato iwi” for instance.
    not having a driver is one thing but breaking it and leaving it that way for long is sad.

  • mato
    November 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm |

    maybe it is, maybe not. i never restarted wpa_supplicant nor netif (if they don’t restart themselves). maybe you should contact edwin whether the patch helped him.
    however, there are other issues like “kernel: iwi0: need multicast update callback” or “[iwi] too slow to associate during boot” and others (all easily googled) that i doubt are covered by this patch.

    from user point of view, moving to 8.0/1 (from 6.4) was (not a small) regression. system keeps crashing, likely due to 80211 framework and driver changes. i even experienced soft-updates inconsistency, because of crash, once (something i’d never seen before).
    and scheduler change did not help either. it may be good for smp / threading but user experience on my uni-processor system is worse — choppiness and during port compilations it’s sometimes unusable for short periods. even 5.3 i started on was better in this regard.
    hm.. :-/

  • Georgios
    April 11, 2011 at 11:48 am |

    Hello to all.

    A few days ago I installed PC-BSD 8.2 (of course, I had followed all the pre-installation tasks before the installation and everything was compatible). After the installation and the first reboot (which completes the first) the Desktop appeared on my screen. But something weird happened:

    In the System Netword Configuration (like in…_Configuration), only my ethernet card was recognized (a Marvel Yukon 88E8040T PCI-E, whose driver is msk(4) -according to Free/PC BSD sites); the wifi card was missing (a Realtek RTL8187B, whose driver is urtw(4) -according to Free/PC BSD sites).

    Is there something I could do for that?

    Many thanks in advance.

    PS. During the installation of PC-BSD:
    a) I entered a password for the root
    b) I dedined a (simple) user along with its corresponding password

    Should I do any action as a simple user or as superuser? If the latter is the correct how can I have access to his privilages -provided that I do have the password from step a) ?

    • April 12, 2011 at 5:37 am |

      Does adding
      to /boot/loader.conf and rebooting fix the wireless issue? According to man urtw, that should be sufficient.

      Regarding superuser access, if a GUI menu requires it, it will prompt you for the root password. If you are performing a command at the command line (e.g. adding that line to /boot/loader.conf), first type “su” and press enter. It will prompt you for the root password.

      • Georgios
        April 12, 2011 at 9:09 am |

        A friend of mine, told me that I should have used the commands:
        1) kldload if_urtw (as root, of course)
        2) dmesg (to see the result)
        3) ifconfig (again, to see the result)

        Subsequently, he, as you did, proposed to add that line at /boot/loader.conf
        Now, I do not know whether steps 1)-3) were necessary or that line only should be OK but after a reboot I saw in System Network Configuration, my card.

        Yet, the problem persists and is twofold:
        a) The option “Use hardware’s default MAC” is always checked -although I tried to un-check it and input the correct one manually
        b) The card is there but it does not connect: I have given the SSID and WEP2 password (and tried to input the correct MAC) but, again, nothing…

        In my humble opinion, graphics/network card issues should be addressed in a more automated way, especially when the drivers exist. Thus, I do not understand why the system recognized my Ethernet immediately, while that was not the case for my WiFi (and I still have doubts that it will work).

        Probably, I am too novice for PC-BSD. Even so, please, allow me to thank you for your kind support and effort.

        • April 12, 2011 at 11:31 am |

          It would work either way as kldload loads the driver now (without rebooting) and the line in loader.conf tells the OS to do it for you every time the system boots.

          It looks like urtw was not loading so this has been fixed for 9–thanks for letting us know!

          As for why it is not connecting, perhaps there is an issue with the driver that needs fixing? I have not heard of a problem before–if you want to assist us in troubleshooting the problem, feel free to pop into #pcbsd on IRC freenode.

  • Georgios
    April 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    So, (because I would like to learn) kldload works without needing a reboot but without a permanent result (i.e., it loads the module temporarily) while the command line on loader.conf has a permanent result… OK

    Regarding the card, I have to report the following:
    a) In the recent past I have tried many Linux live CD/DVDs (either with Gnome or KDE) and OpenIndiana (with the Gnone legacy by OpenSolaris).
    Now, the Gnome environments did recognize the WiFi immediately (e.g., Ubuntu, OpenIndiana) -only Fedora did not due to its weird security standards- while the KDE environments didn’t.

    Thus, because you wrote: “It looks like urtw was not loading so this has been fixed for 9–thanks for letting us know!”
    I want to say that perhaps, loading of the module is not the only problem; my feeling is that (probably) the problem consists of a combination: 1) the driver urtw is not loaded -as it should
    2) the KNetworkManager (seems) to be problematic
    I would like to test (and maybe verify) my assertion, by using (say) WICD but I do not have the knowledge to compile it (?) in BSD.

    Again, many warm thanks for your patience.

    • April 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm |

      Just to be clear, PC-BSD does not use the network manager that comes with KDE, it uses a customized one that understands BSD device names, drivers, etc.

      You can tell that the driver loaded with this command:

      kldstat | grep urtw

      If you get something back, the driver is loaded. Also, urtw comes with PC-BSD (i.e. you don’t have to download or compile it, you just have to make sure it is loaded).

      • Georgios
        April 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

        Hello again,

        First of all, regarding the compilation, I was referring to the possible use of another Network Manager (like wicd) -not to a driver. And I said that because I did not knew that the PC-BSD implements a customized network manager.

        The result (in a console) of:
        kldstat | grep urtw
        1 0xffffffff811fd000 f8c0 if_urtw.ko
        so, I guess, the driver is loaded.

        Then, all evidence indicate that the problem is as you said (i.e. that the driver is not loaded automatically).

        Please, note another “bug”:
        In the Network System Configuration, when I choose the WiFi card and then Wireless Configuration, it seems that the changes are not accepted. For instance, I tried to change the MAC address (and to manually input the correct one) but not only the system does not apply the change, but also after a reboot the choice “Use hardware’s default MAC” is checked.

        Again, thanks

  • keoh
    March 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

    I downloaded and installed PC-BSD onto a new toshiba laptop abd it all works fine except guess what? No wireless ..In the world we live in today most people have laptops and now tablets so for BSD,s to mainly look and search out wired connections is in epic fail and this is why PC-BSD will never catch on as well as windows ,MAC and Linux as most of them relized that we all own and use laptops.As for myself i have wiped PC-BSD off my laptop and returned to Mint linux which found not only my webcam,mic all the other drivers but it also found my wirless nic right away.PC-BSD will only continue to spread bad news about itself as being non user friendly.

    • March 14, 2012 at 8:28 am |

      Which wireless chipset?

  • Vijaya
    November 19, 2013 at 6:38 am |

    I have installed PC-BSD 9.2 version on my desktop. And I am trying to install my Belkin Wifi card but unable to do so. It is Belkin N750 Dual band wifi adapter. Chipset is Ralink RT3573. Can anybody direct me to install the software?


    • December 14, 2013 at 2:39 pm |

      There is no FreeBSD driver for that chipset yet.

  • Dhemerson
    February 25, 2016 at 9:45 am |

    i have 1×1 11b/g/n Wireless LAN PCI Express Half Mini card Adapter now working on PCDBS 10.2 🙁

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