I'm trying to activate the wireless chipset on my Debian Squeeze laptop by following this tutorial.

I detected the type of wireless chipset I have built in my laptop using lspci and now I am trying to install this driver by following the instructions on the page.

I installed the firmware-brcm80211 package using apt-get (after adding a non-free repo).

Once installed, the next step according to the tutorial is to do this:

 # modprobe -r brcm80211 ; modprobe brcm80211

And here's the error I get:

rahmu:~$ sudo modprobe -r brcm80211 
FATAL: Module brcm80211 not found.

I tried to look for the existing modules and here's what I got:

rahmu:~$ modprobe -l | grep brcm

For what it's worth, I haven't rebooted after apt-getting the firmware. Would it make a difference?

  • You could take a look at the logs too. I think kernel modules should log stuff to /var/log/kern.log, but you can also look at syslog and messages. Commented May 23, 2012 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


According to your installation page, the brcm80211 driver is embedded in the kernel. Therefore, modprobe is not working as there is not brcm80211 driver that can be (un)loaded.

The package you installed contains firmware not the driver (as you can read on the installation page you provided).

You somehow have to tell the brcm80211 driver that is has (new) firmware it should use. As modprobe is not working, you'd needs something else.

Personally, I do not know how to restart a embedded kernel driver... Expect jsut restarting the kernel (ie restarting your machine)...

Hopefully this will help you understand things a little more.

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