Ubuntu – Why can’t I set monitor mode with the wl STA driver on a Broadcom wireless card


I am trying to set my wireless card into monitor mode. I am working with:

description: Wireless interface
product: BCM4312 802.11b/g LP-PHY
vendor: Broadcom Corporation
logical name: eth2

When I try to set it to monitor mode I get:

sudo iwconfig eth2 mode monitor
Error for wireless request "Set Mode" (8B06) :
    SET failed on device eth2 ; Invalid argument.

I also tried using:

$ sudo airmon-ng start eth2

Found 5 processes that could cause trouble.
If airodump-ng, aireplay-ng or airtun-ng stops working after
a short period of time, you may want to kill (some of) them!

PID    Name
1094    NetworkManager
1096    avahi-daemon
1097    avahi-daemon
1167    wpa_supplicant
1720    dhclient
Process with PID 1720 (dhclient) is running on interface eth2

Interface    Chipset        Driver

eth2        Unknown         wl (monitor mode enabled)

$ sudo iwconfig
lo        no wireless extensions.

eth0      no wireless extensions.

eth2      IEEE 802.11bg  ESSID:"Redacted"  
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.437 GHz  
          Bit Rate=54 Mb/s   Tx-Power:24 dBm  
          Retry min limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=4/5  Signal level=-59 dBm  Noise level=-57 dBm
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:24  Invalid misc:0   Missed beacon:0

I've gone through various driver tutorials, but nothing is helping. Anyone know how to get this working for this specific wireless card?

Best Answer

The official Broadcom STA/wl driver DOES NOT support monitor mode

  • You are using the Broadcom STA (wl) official driver; this does not support monitor or promiscuous modes (regardless of whatever airmon-ng tells you.)
  • For this you need the b43 driver, which can be installed with sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter firmware-b43-installer
  • You can unload one and load the other with sudo rmmod wl; sudo modprobe b43 (and vice versa).
  • Note that b43 and wl have their own advantages and disadvantages, so you may want to google before choosing one or the other.
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