Is there any hack/tip/trick to make this specific Broadcom Wireless work with OpenBSD?

After digging some FreeBSD-wireless threads and OpenBSD-tech/OpenBSD-misc, I noticed that adding the PCI vendor to any specific driver will not work since this specific device have differences on it´s hardware construction compared with Broadcom 4312 or Broadcom 4318.

Implementing this Broadcom Wireless driver will need a huge effort to get done, and many of the users are using wifi dongles or converting ndis (Windows XP version) drivers to get wireless conectivity.

Are there any patches floating through the internet that would enable ndis on OpenBSD, so I could "convert" this driver as a workaround like the one used on FreeBSD?

EDIT1 - The intent here is not to "stick with FreeBSD" or question the OpenBSD binary policy, and that is why i´m looking for guidance. A 3rd part port of ndis to OpenBSD could be a solution...

  • This thread, shows that adding the PCI Vendor id will just probe the hardware, but will not work.
  • This other thread, gives some insight about the different construction of the bcm4313 card.

2 Answers 2


I had the same question, and found the existing answers and comments here a little uninformative. After doing a little more research and asking on IRC, I found a more pragmatic answer.

Broadcom historically hasn't cooperated much with efforts to open-source drivers, although it's been changing its approach recently. Because of this, there are still some Broadcom wireless cards without reliable open source drivers, which many operating systems won't support. There's a good Wikipedia article listing which wireless cards common OSs support.

The issue for people with non-supported cards (like us) is that, in monolithic kernels like most 'nix OSs, device drivers are a part of the kernel. Because of this, they can only be installed when the kernel is compiled.

So, the tl;dr is that you'd have to take a driver that supported this wireless card (from FreeBSD, for example), and compile it into the kernel. This means a lot of compilation time and potential headache - you're actually building the operating system itself before you install it. Alternatively, you can buy a cheap USB wireless adapter for less than $10. Just make sure to first check that it's supported!

  • Yeah, that was my approach. I had to rely on a USB dongle to have wifi. Not a issue actually, but it sucks that broadcom does not want to share, and when this company share it wrap a lot of their source code(SIBA related stuff) with GPL only.
    – user34720
    Jul 17, 2014 at 10:38
  • 1
    The comment about monolithic kernels is not strictly correct -- even though the kernel is monolithic, the individual drivers could still be loaded as separate modules (although, alas, OpenBSD doesn't support that, but other systems, like FreeBSD, do).
    – cnst
    Oct 1, 2015 at 10:23

NDIS will NEVER EVER be part of OpenBSD. This is against OpenBSD policy (binary blobs).

BCM4313 is in pcidevs http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/cvsweb/src/sys/dev/pci/pcidevs?rev=1.1696

product BROADCOM BCM4313    0x4727  BCM4313

Have you really tried that?

If only thing you care about is support of a specific device, then you better stay with FreeBSD.

  • For sure it is on the pcidevs, but the thing is, only this information will not make the native driver work due to the need of implementing other hardwarer aspects. I asked for a third-part port of the ndis EXACTLY because of the policy, but i still want to have all the acpi and well implemented code benefits of OpenBSD ;)
    – user34720
    Nov 13, 2013 at 12:47
  • 'Have you really tried that?'. And... you better go to [email protected] for help.
    – jirib
    Nov 13, 2013 at 12:50
  • the pci vendor id just make the correct probe of the card, but it does not make the driver work: marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=137151438510614&w=2 I just crossed informations of both lists, and as Adrian Chadd said, this is a piece of hardware that needs some "special" attention - marc.info/?l=freebsd-current&m=138213312108203&w=2 - "bwn(4) requires a lot more than just an additional PCI ID..." Knowing that ndis "works"(maybe not stable), that is why i asked for a openbsd port
    – user34720
    Nov 13, 2013 at 12:58
  • You already got all needed answers. NDIS never ever! You can go cry on different grave.
    – jirib
    Nov 13, 2013 at 13:00
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    Yeah. I already tried a ralink 3090 mini-pci, but the bios is blocking me. Low budget made me get this Broadcom based notebook. Edit your answer with the "not possible" argument so i can mark as acceptable answer, please.
    – user34720
    Nov 13, 2013 at 13:20

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