Better wireless drivers for the bcm4331

So as of the other day, I found the solution to the last of my troubles regarding running Linux on my mid-2012 15″ Retina MacBook Pro – namely, that the wireless drivers were incredibly flakey and would drop randomly and frequently.

Basically, there are two major wireless drivers available for Linux for the Broadcom chipsets; the b43 drivers which are in the upstream kernel, and the broadcom-wl STA drivers. The b43 drivers work fairly well, but don’t implement power management for the bcm4331 and so can frequently/randomly drop. On the other side of the fence, there’s Broadcom’s Linux driver page. However, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Broadcom hasn’t released new drivers in over 2 years, right? And as a result, the currently available drivers don’t support the bcm4331? Wrong. Turns out Ubuntu managed to get newer drivers out of Broadcom in December.

Anyway, one of the major features of the new driver in the December release (version 6.2.155.19) is that it supports the bcm4331 found in the newer MacBook Pro models, amongst other computers. So if you just download the source (I used apt-get source bcmwl on a 13.04 machine), it will compile on pretty much any modern kernel and seems to work fine. For reference, I’m using it now on Fedora 17 running kernel 3.7.9. It even suspends/resumes fine.