WiFi on Macbook Air 5-2 (13", 2012) not working
I have installed Trisquel 6 64-bit on a 2012 Macbook Air with a Broadcom BCM43xx WiFi chip. However, the Wi-Fi is not working at all. :(
Unfortunately, my USB Wi-Fi adapter (TL-WN722N) isn't working either which makes me unable to connect to the Internet at all.
(My Logitech M555b bluetooth mouse won't connect either, but let's leave this out of this question...)
Is there a simple way for me to download the required drivers in OSX and safe on an external flash drive so that I may install them later in Trisquel?
Both the WiFi and mouse worked out of the box in Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit (no proprietary Wi-Fi driver). However, I have no experience installing missing drivers if the install routine does not do it for me.
Is anybody willing to help me?
The specific Chip is BCM43224 (14e4:4353).
The brcmsmac open source driver is supposed to work and was merged in to the kernel 2.6.37 (according to https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx). I guess that's why with Ubuntu 12.04 everything worked out of the box - but not in Trisquel.
Ok, following these instructions I have tried something - but did not succeed. (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx).
1. Install the b43-fwcutter package
sudo dpkg -i b43-fwcutter*
2. Install the firmware:
tar xfvj broadcom-wl-126.96.36.199.3_mipsel.tar.bz2
sudo b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware broadcom-wl-188.8.131.52.3/driver/wl_apsta/wl_prebuilt.o
3. Switch Drivers
Unload conflicting drivers:
sudo modprobe -r b43 bcma
sudo modprobe -r brcmsmac bcma
sudo modprobe -r wl
Load new driver:
sudo modprobe b43
But the problem is not solved. I still have no Wi-Fi and the info box says: "Wireless Network device not ready", just like before.
Those are the instructions to install the proprietary firmware.
Well, yes. I'm running out of options.
After the open source drivers/solutions did not get the Wi-Fi working, I was forced to try proprietary drivers.
By now I have attempted to apply all (!) of the different solutions documented here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx
None worked. But in Ubuntu 12.04 they worked out of the box. So there must be something else missing, I guess.
Before you go any further I think you should consider what your doing and why. Trisquel is a distribution designed to ensure users freedom. If your not trying to ensure your own freedom and/or promote users freedom there is very little point to using Trisquel. Trisquel is basically Ubuntu minus the non-free pieces. To install it and then add back the non-free firmware is defeating the purpose of the distribution.
Now I don't want to discourage you from installing Trisquel. There are both technical and ethical benefits from doing so. Most of the technical benefits though that result are from discontinuing the use of hardware dependent on non-free software. However you could also just as easily not buy hardware dependent on such non-free software without using Trisquel.
Now verifying that your not dependent on non-free software where you hardware is concerned is fairly easy if you have the hardware already. Simply boot up Trisquel and see if it works.
If it doesn't chances are there is a non-free dependency. You've discovered with these two wifi cards that both are dependent on non-free software and possibly the mouse as well (although I've never seen a mouse dependent on non-free software although the bluetooth chipset probably is- which would explain why it doesn't work).
There is really only one good solution here from the freedom perspective. It's to go without this hardware, use ethernet instead, or replace it.
The easiest replacement option is to get a USB wireless adapter that is free software friendly. You can find such devices on h-node although the reliability of it is a problem due to ever-changing chipsets, accuracy issues, and a few other problems. Then there is the RYF list of hardware from the FSF which is certified hardware. That is the FSF has reviewed it, checked that it worked, and worked with companies to ensure it is and continues to be free software friendly. It's a new program and the list of hardware is pretty short at the moment:
The next option which is the easiest is to check out http://libre.thinkpenguin.com/ and buy hardware. I'm the CEO & Founder of the company. Basically we only ship hardware that is free software friendly (and thus will work with Trisquel). Not everything is certified by the FSF although we aim to increase the certified products to everything or near everything as time goes on. The FSF program is new and certification takes time. Our catalog alone will keep them real busy :).
Yes, I'd like to try that. But how do I get do this without access to the internet on the Trisquel installation?
The only other option that the Ubuntu help document has is to use the proprietary drivers (bcmwl-kernel-source). However, there are dependencies. You can get around this by installing some from the ubuntu live CD. Hence, I have setup a live USB with the ubuntu 12.04 image, but this live USB will not show up in trisquel... Aaaargh. God hates me :P
No ethernet? (wired network)
You install the .deb with
sudo dpkg -i whatever.deb
Thanks for the reply!
Does did not seem to change for the better. Now I do not see any network icon at all and the computer cannot fully shutdown anymore :(
I do not have any possibility to use ethernet because this the the Macbook Air has no ethernet port.
On Fri, 12 Jul 2013 23:51:05 +0200 (CEST)
fourfreedom [at] myopera [dot] com wrote:
> Yes, I'd like to try that. But how do I get do this without access to
> the internet on the Trisquel installation?
If I remember it correctly, there are no ethernet ports on a macbook
pro and you need to buy an ethernet port adapter in order to update
> The only other option that the Ubuntu help document has is to use
> the proprietary drivers (bcmwl-kernel-source).
There are other options: update the Libre-kernel and check if it
enables the wifi on your Apple product, buy the wireless usb adapter
from LibrePenguin, Try out other laptops listed on h-node.org that works
with Free Software, etc...
> Aaaargh. God hates me :P
Feel free to blame Apple and the other wifi card manufacturers
instead, for not supporting Free Software.
First, thanks for making my email publicly available to spam bots. I thought there were private? At least I can't see the email addresses from other people on this forum :P
I have not considered purchasing an external ethernet adapter because I have read that other people ran into problems with this when running a linux distro. Most of them were related to the thunderbolt/displayport however. So, using a USB wireless adapter was my best choice and as it turns out I have a free software compatible USB wireless adapter from TP-Link.
With the kind help of @lembas I have updated the libre-kernel to linux-source-3.10.0-gnu but this did not solve or help with the problem. It only added another noticable problem where my Macbook Air would not shut down anymore :(
It's easy to blame some company, but I want to focus on finding a workable solution. My next computer will be purchased with free software compability in mind. But for now I want to get the dual boot working with the internal hardware if possible - there are open source drivers for my wireless chip.
This is my first time using a FSF endorsed OS. I did not expect this to be easy. But completely switching my workflow 100% after 7 years of using OSX is quite demanding. The dual boot setup is my conversion phase. Hopefully, I will get it all working so that I can make the full switch to libre software in the future.
> My next computer will be purchased with free software compability in mind.
Then you should definitely check out the Chromebook Pixel, which is currently the best FLOSS compatible laptop I'm aware of. It is also the only one comparable in hardware design to your MacBook Air.
> ...there are open source drivers for my wireless chip
Most (if not all) of the wireless drivers contained within the Linux-kernel are released under a FLOSS compatible license. The real issue is that the vast majority of them relies on a proprietary firmware blob, included within the mainline kernels (like the ones used in Ubuntu), and because you have the misfortune of buying a hardware that uses a proprietary/non-standard WiFi/Bluetooth combo card (probably designed by Apple itself), your only "real" choice is to use some external wireless adapter, like the aforementioned TP-Link TL-WN722N model (if you doesn't want to install the non-free firmware blob of course). The best compromise (in my opinion) is to buy a Unex DNUA-93F/ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USB type of adapters, since they are very small, and does not hinder during daily usage.
On 14/07/13 19:46, mYself wrote:
>> My next computer will be purchased with free software compability
> Then you should definitely check out the Chromebook Pixel, which is
> currently the best FLOSS compatible laptop I'm aware of. It is also
> the only one comparable in hardware design to your MacBook Air.
The Chromebook Pixel is, unfortunately, rather expensive at the moment.
At least for some. :-)
Maybe the price will have gone down a little by next year though.
The price is adequate if you consider the hardware specifications, and (maybe) should not cost more than the MacBook Air.
The Chromebook is a bliss :)
Yet, the price is really high at the moment.
I have found a hardware vendor which sells a compact, but cheap USB wireless adapter. The driver is open source, but I do not know about the firmware.
Name: Edimax EW-7811Un
> Edimax EW-7811Un
Definitely NO! This device isn't FLOSS compatible at all. You should only focus on the ath9k_htc compatible ones. The smallest and cheapest device I am aware of (already compared all on the list) is the Unex DNUA-93F. There are alternatives such as the Onkyo UWF-1, and some other models, but they can be very expensive, while no better.
Thanks for the ath9k_htc compatible list! I might buy the Onkyo UWF-1 because it's so small and the price is fair.
But I'll go through the whole list and see if there are even smaller ones.
Edit: Most of them don't have pictures yet. So this is like searching a needle in a hay stack.
Just copy-paste the device name from the list to the DuckDuckGo search bar (in Abrowser), and append the !i bang syntax to it. That's the way I'm doing that.
The picture issue is the same as what I'm trying to solve by making some photos of the devices I already have. That's why I requested you to make those pictures of your ASUS adapter.
What about ordering the Unex adapter from one of the following sites?
The stock price for one device is $1, so try to make an order from here first, and if that's not possible, you should consider other similar device from different brands, like ThinkPenguin, Onkyo, Sony, Philips, etc.
This is interesting! Are these manufacturer websites? I'd be glad to order directly from them.
The other brands have just rebranded this one, right?
I've never made such a purchase before. It will probably be a bit more paperwork and complicated regarding taxes. But that won't stop me.
This is a great list! I just went to an electronics hardware shop and I went through the whole list with an intern.
They didn't have any of the small wifi adapters, but they had several large TP-link adapters of the larger list such as the one that I have already.
Overall, there was only one that stuck out, but I did not purchase it because the name is not on the list: It's the TL-WN823N (http://wikidevi.com/wiki/TP-LINK_TL-WN823N_v1).
A Linux Manderiva user on Amazon said that it only worked after installing the kernel extras package. So, I guess he installed a proprietary package.
I do not fully understand the situation regarding a free driver for this model. This model does not use an Atheros chip, but the Realtek RTL8192CU which is not supported by a linux developer apparently (http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/rtl819x)
Atheros designed the chipset and there are a handful of manufacturers which then brand them for companies, ie why you can find adapters with the same chipset/design from different companies. There are differences between what we sell (ThinkPenguin) and say Sony. We use the same chipset and support that chipset throughout the life of the product. Sony (as an example) is going to change chipsets so depending on which version you get (this is not clearly advertised, that is even when it appears to be, because the retailers, etc don't update there info, because the model numbers haven't changed, and even "Sony" won't necessarily have updated it, etc) and so you'll find getting parts unreliable. If you end up purchasing an adapter from China, it takes 30+ days, and finally arrives (hopefully physically working) with a difference chipset, it won't work for you. How do you return a $30 USD adapter that costs $15-$20 in round-trip shipping? Your better off just getting something that you know what it is...
The other thing is Sony is never going to support you should you run into a problem. There at best providing (and many cheaper adapters you can't even get this) end-user support for the product on certain versions of MS Windows and possibly Mac. Chances are they aren't actually doing the support either. They may be passing the support off to a third party.
This is why ThinkPenguin was founded. To provide consistency in the availability and access to hardware that is free software friendly and actually supports GNU/Linux. And when there isn't anything available (ie modern 802.11N chipset with free software support) we shoot to come up with a solution. Be it talking with the designers (not the manufacturers, because there not the ones really in control, they don't posses the copyrights), filing bug reports, and following up on them to get distributions to support the chipset, etc. (as an example Fedora, CentOS, and Redhat recently got support for AR9170 because we got in touch with the right people, just this tiny little thing made all the difference, as despite multiple bug reports Redhat had done nothing to fix the easy-to-solve bug, ie missing firmware).
h-node works to some degree but it's best to have free software certification programs like the FSF setup. See here: fsf.org/ryf
The more people who buy free software friendly hardware the more incentive there is for support on GNU/Linux and the lower the prices can go.
It is unfortunate that there is so little demand from the community because a few million GNU/Linux users should be more than sufficient for an entire catalog of 100% free software friendly hardware. However some things like laptops can't be done due to low margins and high costs without a significant percentage of users actually be concerned enough about the issue.
At our current sales I think I figured it would take something like 23 years to pay off a investment in just one model of laptop that was 100% free software (ie no non-free BIOS, no non-free microcode, etc). And this is working with another company. As it is right now we only have laptops that are going to work with 100% free software operating systems.
There is a difference between the two. In the one case your actually not dependent on any non-free software and in the other case your just dependent on significantly less non-free software.
There are still components which there are no free software solutions for. There are no bluetooth/wifi mini PCIe wireless cards for laptops as an example. There is one company (Atheros) designing chipsets which could and would probably do it... unfortunately there needs to be more demand from users.
Well, I hear and understand what you say.
So I have °considered° ordering a ThinkPenguin wireless adapter - also because the price in € is reduced in comparison to the first price shock that numbers in $ gave me. Still, I'm not sure how much it would cost me to pay for shipping to Germany with all the additional costs.
If you select the UK option for shipping at check out the price is a bit less. VAT is included in the price when shipped from the UK. It's basically a design issue of the site that needs to be corrected. Otherwise it would be 20% higher when shipped from the UK than the price listed. In any case for the TPE-N150USB USB N adapter it is $54 USD + $13.95 USD for shipping. The total including taxes would be about 51.63 Euros. The actual price will be slightly different depending on the exchange rate when the order is placed. From the UK delivery should be about a week. Maybe less. From the UK there is no customs so delivery fast.
Forgot to add this adapter:
It is not clear for me, at this moment, which manufacturer (Unex or Wistron NeWeb) produces these adapters, but you cannot directly order from Wistron NeWeb, unless you're a reseller.
> Are these manufacturer websites?
It looks like the first one is. The other ones looks to be just another profiles of the same manufacturer, so you're contacting the supplier directly if you make an order. Here's another one:
> The other brands have just rebranded this one, right?
Not exactly. There are at least two different mainboard revisions I'm aware of. But yes, they are basically the same.
A picture of the Unex DNUA-93F adapter internal board/PCB (can be also applicable to ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USB, and Wistron NeWeb DNUA-93F, since they have the same FCC ID)
> I've never made such a purchase before
Then go for it! But don't forget to inform us what happened, and whether the delivery was successful or not. Another alternative is the Onkyo UWF-1, which you can buy here, and here, or the ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USB model from here, and here.
I'm going for it :)
I have contacted two suppliers this morning via their web interfaces (taiwantrade.com.tw and weiku.com) and asked about the shopping conditions as a private buyer for two adapters (minimum order).
So far I have only received a standard email confirmation from weiku. Taiwantrade has not responded yet. I suspect that they will have trouble validating my phone number because it did not fit the required format.
If there are updates to report, I'll update this post here.
I just made a product request on DealExtreme. Here is the message that I sent them:
Hi DX staff.
I would like to know, if there is a possibility to include some Atheros AR9271, or AR7010+AR9280/AR9287 based wireless USB adapters in the foreseeable future, especially the Unex DNUA-93F model, which is nearly impossible to buy for a competitive price. Other alternatives includes (sorted alphabetically):
- Onkyo UWF-1
- Sharp VR-WL25
- Sony IFU-WLM3
- ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USB
- Wistron NeWeb DNUA-93F
There is a pretty decent demand for these models, since they have excellent multiplatform support (Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux), and also for their small size. For more information, follow the ongoing thread on Trisquel Forums:
Sorry about the way I described the adapters, but I really cannot use terms like "free software compatible/friendly", or "freedom respecting" here.
The good thing about DX is that you doesn't need to pay the postage costs, regardless from what location of the world you're ordering, or what is the price of the requested item.
If I get some response, I'll post it here later.
Wish me luck!
EDIT: I just noticed, that you wanted to update your previous post later, but because of this reply, that's no longer possible. Sorry about that.
I have received a response today:
We've received your product require:
But unfortunately currently we can't provide this product. Thanks.
So I sent them another message:
So after my first product request was rejected, I am asking to include at least some of the adapters listed in the provided link. The reason for asking about including new wireless USB adapters in your portfolio, is because your currently offered ones are based on chips/chipsets manufactured by Ralink, that are not compatible on many popular GNU/Linux based operating systems, and thus not working at all. The list includes many adapters using chips/chipsets from Atheros (using the ath9k_htc Linux kernel driver), that does not have this issue. As I previously mentioned, there is a pretty decent demand for these (ath9k_htc compatible) adapters, and I am hoping to see some compatible devices offered on your site in the near future.
P.S.: Can you please describe the reason why you cannot include the adapter (Unex DNUA-93F, and similar) mentioned in my previous product request in your web-store? Thank you in advance!
I am wondering, if there is actually someone who's reading these messages, and not just the computer programmed to send automatic answers after a certain period of time.
Well, I have not received any new messages at all...
I'll visit my sister next week. Then, I'll check out *all the stores* trying to find a compatible wireless adapter.
It's a shame to hear that. At least, there is the Onkyo model that can be bought at half the price of the one offered by TP. I keep my fingers crossed .
On 14/07/13 17:54, fourfreedom wrote:
> First, thanks for making my email publicly available to spam bots. I
> thought there were private? At least I can't see the email addresses
> from other people on this forum :P
There is a connected mailing list for this forum:
So, is this the Trisquel-users mailing list that you are talking about? Do subscribers receive emails of all replies in the forum posts?
I'm asking because I would very much like to receive an email notification whenever people reply to a specific forum post - and *only* then!
Thanks for letting me know about the mailing lists.
On 14/07/13 20:40, fourfreedom wrote:
> So, is this the Trisquel-users mailing list that you are talking
> about? Do subscribers receive emails of all replies in the forum
> I'm asking because I would very much like to receive an email
> notification whenever people reply to my forum post - and *only*
> Thanks for letting me know about the mailing lists.
The mailing list sends emails from users in the forum and the mailing
list, i.e. they are synchronised. But I don't think there is any way to
set it to only mail replies to your forum posts (I imagine this would
have to be implemented in Drupal for it to work).
Thanks for the update Andrew.
This behavior is not common and therefore unexpected, but I I just noticed that when editing my account there is a small description under the e-mail address field which discloses that my e-mail address will be used for such things.
I do not like it, but at least I understand now. Thanks :)
Just to rule out the possibility, I have attempted to install both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Trisquel. Out of the box neither would support Wi-Fi on this Macbook Air.
Just switch your internal wireless PCI card with some of the ath9k supported ones. Here is a list with nearly all of them:
You can get some here (around 2-3 bucks incl. shipping):
Then sell yours so you can get your money back.
That is not an option on the Macs (apparently they use a proprietary wifi card).
Thanks for your consideration! This is in fact possible (http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+MacBook+Air+13-Inch+Mid+2012+AirPort-Bluetooth+Card/10949/1) even though this is an Apple Macbook. I feared that it were soldered to the logic board such as the RAM. But I have no idea how I will then get Wi-Fi working in OSX - keeping the ability to dual boot is essential to me.
Because Ubuntu has no problem using Wi-Fi I wonder what it is that I'm missing or doing wrong to get Wi-Fi working with the default Wi-Fi card (BCM43224) in Trisquel.
>Because Ubuntu has no problem using Wi-Fi I wonder what it is that I'm missing or doing wrong to get Wi-Fi working with the default Wi-Fi card (BCM43224) in Trisquel.
Trisquel is basically Ubuntu minus non-free software. So, the wifi probably requires a proprietary firmware blob to work.
Probably the easiest way would be to buy an external USB wifi that works with free software. There's a Think penguin link in the column on the right hand side of this text who can sell you such a device.
It's always the "device not ready" message :(
I find it weird that the following options all fail:
1. Build-in Wifi card with any driver described by the Ubuntu documentation (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx).
2. TP-Link USB Wlan Adapter
3. Asus WL-167g USB Wlan Adapter
Thank you to @Chris and @lembas.
First, I really think that were are just missing something here. I have installed Ubuntu 12.04 before on this Macbook Air using the alternate image and installing free software only (toogle options dialogue F6 at installation). The specific image is called ubuntu-12.04.2-alternate-amd64+mac.iso.
So, this has to work somehow*.
Using different hardware is of course the easier option. Since the two USB Wireless LAN adapters that I have do not work, I will have to buy a new one. However, the ones at thinkpenguin are very expensive (https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/penguin-wireless-n-usb-adapter-gnu-linux-tpe-n150usb). I'd rather buy it somewhere else and donate 20$ straight to the project instead.
I just need to find one that I know will work.
The ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USB is just a Unex DNUA-93F wireless adapter with a ThinkPenguin sticker on it. They are both using the same Atheros AR9271 chip, which is also used in your TP-Link TL-WN722N. Your adapter IS free software compatible, and I recommend it over the DNUA-93F/TPE-N150USB adapters unless the size difference isn't an issue.
Thanks for letting know about this. That's great news!
There is also TPE-N150USBL which is a larger adapter with external antenna.
The Unex is the name of the company which does the actual manufacturing. Most products are not designed by or manufactured by the company supporting the product and even the support is often done by a company besides the one whose brand is on the package.
In this case we didn't bother paying for packaging as it would have increased the costs so there is a generic label underneath our 'sticker'. The cards aren't available from anyone else with different branding at retail as far as I'm aware. There may be some other types of electronics with them though (for instance Sony might have a TV which ships with the same basic adapter except with there branding on them).
There is one thing that really confuses me. There are actually two manufacturers that produces these adapters. One is Unex, while the other one is Wistron NeWeb. I would like to make it clear, which one is the actual manufacturer of the ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USB wireless USB adapter. Can you, as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ThinkPenguin confirm, which one is it? Is it Unex, as you already said in your previous comment, or the Wistron NeWeb?
The reason why I am asking this, is because WikiDevi is listing TPE-N150USB as the OEM Wistron NeWeb DNUA-93F, so I need to be 100% sure before contacting the site administrator to complain .
As far I can see, Wistron NeWeb produces customized versions of the DNUA-93F model to companies like Onkyo, Sharp, and Sony, but I am not sure.
Thank you in advance!
Ok, now I understand. To make your WiFi functional, follow these steps:
- Download the ath9k_htc linux driver I created a few months ago
- Boot into your Trisquel 6.0 installation, extract the files, then follow the instructions contained in README
- Insert your TP-Link TL-WN722N adapter into one of the USB connectors. Note, that it's very important to try all of them!
- The WiFi should jump up, and start working. Now connect into your network
- The last step is to upgrade your kernel because the older versions have the ath9k_htc driver blacklisted. Just use the Update Manager, or run the following commands from Terminal (press [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[T]):
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install linux-image-generic-pae
or (if you're using the 3.5 kernel series)
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install linux-image-generic-lts-belenos
Voilá! Happy now?