Sneaky blacklisting of WiFi in HP laptops?


I've been there before, but somehow I hoped that HP has come to its senses, so when my girlfriend got a HP Compaq 6715b laptop with a Broadcom wifi card that does not work with the open source driver and randomly crashes under load with ndiswrapper driver, I said - "well, I'll just get an Intel mini-PCIe wifi card and plug it in". I should have know better.

While there is no obvious impenetrable error message like on NX6110, the 6715b simply ignores any non-HP wireless cards. They do not show up in lspci and don't even appear in Vista. I have all the latest drivers and latest BIOS.

I will look a bit for a workaround, possibly along the same lines as before (make a non-HP wifi card look like a HP wifi card), but I really must say - despite all the support for Debian HP has on the server side, I will have to recommend everyone I know to never, ever buy any HP laptops! By having an easy access latch to the WiFi slot they seem to embrace user choice, but in the confines of their BIOS they just cut through the heart of it by only allowing their own cards to be installed and used.

Note: it is possible that the card itself is non-functional, but given the previous experience and some similar messages on the forums about all kinds of other HP laptops .. I wouldn't bet on that.

I would love to be proven wrong on this or shown a way to either make the non-HP IPW3945 card work or how to make the original Broadcom wifi card work in a stable manner. Currently it causes 4-8 hard lockups a day if the laptop is left acting as a bittorrent seed for a few thousand clients. Now i am just too tired to deal with this reasonably and should rather head for bed.

Currently unrated


James 13 years, 2 months ago

It's usually a limitation in the BIOS - see for how to patch the BIOS.

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Hub 13 years, 2 months ago

ThinkPad have the same issue.

Rule of thumb: Intel chipsets and nothing else.

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Mike Vincent 13 years, 2 months ago

I have an hp nw9440 and have been quite happy with it. After buying my wife a cheap f575 compaq (hp) with a broadcom wifi I decided I was going to get an intel 3945ABG like I have in the nw9440 for it. But before buying a new one, I decided to try swapping mine in first. Glad I did, because it wasn't detected at all. :(

I might try the link James posted and see if there's any gems in there that might make it work.

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Eddy Petrisor 13 years, 2 months ago

To make the original Broadcom card, you probably need the linux 2.6.24 kernel with its new driver for it b43.

It worked for me quite nicely, while the old driver bcm43xx had issues.

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fa 13 years, 2 months ago

I have an (older) nx7010 whose wifi works flawlessly on all operating systems. But it descends from the old compaq product line of notebooks, not the hp product line, maybe that's the case here.
grmbl, had to rewrite this because noscript blocked the captcha.

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Johan 13 years, 2 months ago

The newest opensource driver should support pretty much everything except 11n cards. See for details.

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er:k 13 years, 2 months ago

With an hp nc8230 and a broadcom bcm43xx-based Wifi card, I too have tried to change the mini-PCI card. But the BIOS never let me boot my laptop after that. I have search (and tried) how to hack the BIOS... in vain. Hopefully, the card works now with ndiswrapper.

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JosipBroz 12 years, 4 months ago

Well, if it's the Broadcom's 4328 model, then compiling their proprietary GNU/Linux driver should work flawlessly -- at least, it worked for me (on openSuSE 11.0). It can be downloaded from the Broadcom site (32- and 64-bit version available), along with a readme file containing detailed instructions (for me, blacklisting the crashing ndiswrapper driver and the ssb module was the greatest challenge of the entire process). I had also tried fwcutter, but it doesn't support 11n cards.

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ouzo 12 years, 3 months ago

same problem with 6715b and intel pro wireless 3945abg is siply ain't detected that's it.. fuck hp, makes shit boxes with any ajustubility.

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daphne 11 years, 9 months ago

After 5 hours on dealing with customer care service...
I am infu-fuckin-riated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I cant even describe my anger right now.

My laptop battery dies. 5 months after buying it brand new.
I call customer care. they wont replace it.

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