First, some preliminary information:
I'm currently in need of a wireless adapter for my desktop computer. I recently got an Asus RT66U router, so I'm looking for a wireless adapter that supports the 802.11ac standard. The best candidate I've come across is the Asus PCE-AC68, and PCIe based adapter that uses Broadcom's BCM4360 chip, the same wifi chip used in the Late 2013 retina Macbook Pro. It is worth noting that every available 802.11ac compatible PCIe based wireless adapter seemingly uses this chip (I've heard of people having success with 802.11ac speeds using Qualcomm Atheros based wifi adapters and the ath10k driver, but there are no Atheros-based PCIe wireless adapters on the market, as far as I can tell).
The Broadcom BCM4360 chip is not supported by the b43 driver, and I believe it also isn't supported by the brcmsmac driver, since it isn't listed here.
This leaves me with the proprietary broadcom-wl driver, which is listed as supporting the BCM4360.
What I'm interested in learning is how a wireless adapter based on the BCM4360 will perform using the broadcom-wl driver--I don't want to buy a wifi adapter that won't work at its full capacity, after all.
I have found user reports here and here from April 2014 stating that the driver runs BCM4360 based adapters in 802.11a/b/g mode and doesn't allow 802.11n and 802.11ac connections to be made. On the other hand, this user (in a post from June) states that he managed to get ac speeds in Arch simply by changing his router settings. Unfortunately, he doesn't detail what changes he made.
I'm hopeful that the driver was simply updated between April and June and that now BCM4360-based wifi adapters can run at 802.11ac speeds, but as it's closed source, I can't check the commits, and have not been able to find any discussion more recent than what I linked above.
Has anyone had success getting 802.11ac speeds with BCM4360-based wifi adapters and the broadcom-wl driver?
Last edited by aliwho (2014-07-18 22:02:40)
I am currently using the BCM4360 (rev 03) in a MacBook Pro. You are correct in that it does not work with the b43 driver. It mostly works with the proprietary wl driver. I am using the broadcom-wl AUR package. I can confirm that 802.11n works. I am connected right now at 324Mbps (3 .11n spatial streams). I have not tried 802.11ac yet. I will soon, so I will report back.
As for the caveats, it doesn't like 802.1X networks very much. To get it working using wpa_supplicant, I have to reload the wl module. Sometimes when I reload it, it comes back as wlan0 instead of wlp3s0. No idea why. Yet, when I tried it with Network Manager on an Ubuntu live environment, it worked fine. YMMV. It always works fine for me at home on a WPA2-PSK network. If I can pin down something with more consistency, I'll let you know.
$ lspci -vnn | grep Network 03:00.0 Network controller : Broadcom Corporation BCM4360 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter [14e4:43a0] (rev 03)
According to kernel.org, BCM4360 could be either 14e4:4360 or 14e4:43a0
Last edited by jumperpunk (2014-07-30 17:09:43)