Small documentation of BCM4322 - cheap half mini PCI-E Wi-Fi solution supported up to 10.14.6

Warning:wall of text(edited the previous title)

TL;DR: BCM4322 is the one of the cheaper Wi-Fi solution with half mini PCI-E supported up to 10.14.6(Mojave). With ancient specs(no ac and BT), think twice before you buy.

Excluding USB Wi-Fi adapters, native(from real Macs) and compatible cards for macOS aren't cheap nowadays thanks to price gouging/inflation from resellers. Procuring a working card usually means $20+ investment which can be troublesome to dirt cheap builds or low budget users.

Fortunately for mPCIe systems there always exists cheap options: the deprecated ones found on older models

I'm not saying you should be injecting these older models into newer macOS, which you never should. These are only OK for natively supported old macOS/OSX versions.

So, which card?

Up on researching I found that BCM4322 is a good balance for those who need dirt cheap Wi-Fi that just works without using USB adapters, nothing else, no BT and no AirDrop.

The BCM4322(14e4:432B) is an mPCIe(half-height), dual band, 2x2(with MIMO), 802.11 a/b/g/n(300M), wireless solution without Bluetooth from 2007(ancient!). It was featured on some older Mac Pro(BCM94322MC), MB and MBP(BCM94322USA).

According to AirportBrcmFixup, it's one of the last card that supports from 10.8 up to 10.14.6, out of the box.(with minimal patching compared to genuine AirPort Extreme cards) The price of this card shouldn't go up anymore as native support dropped beyond Mojave and specs are way too ancient(no 802.11ac and BT).

The most common third party half-height mPCIe card with BCM4322 on the market would be:

  • BCM94322HM8L(also rebranded as DW1510 by Dell)

But hold on, here is the catch:

BCM4322 DOES NOT feature Bluetooth(no BT in the chipset, so no matter how many times you have flashed/modded them, BT just won't work because there's no hardware to do so).

This means a single BCM4322 has to be paired with a separate BT chipset like BCM2070(BT3) or BCM20702(BT4), should the device ever need BT. AirDrop requires BT4LE to activate so you need BCM20702.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any known BCM4322+BT4LE combo card available on the market, even Macs. (e.g. BCM94322MC from pre 2009 Mac Pro, that’s why Apple paired a separate BT3module on the motherboard)

So no AirDrop, hmm... Any solutions?

On real Mac scene people have tried BT4 dongles(like ASUS BT400 and IOGEAR GBU521) that feature BCM20702 to activate AirDrop on older machines, some also reported success with their Hackintosh as well.

The solution that ever came close featured BCM43224, which seems to be an update for BCM4322.

The only example would be BCM43224PCIEBT2BX from MacBookAir3,1 and MacBookAir3,2(and several other models), this comes with BCM43224 and BCM20702 according to iFixit teardown. Other older Airport Extreme cards that feature BCM43224 only came with BCM2070.(such as the previous iteration BCM43224PCIEBT)

And that’s it, third party solutions don’t seem to feature BCM20702, even BCM943224HMB comes with BCM2070.

Personal experience with BCM9422:

I just bought a BCM94322HM8L(DW1510) for around $7 and slapped it in my Brix Pro 4570R running 10.14.6.

https://www.reddit.com/r/hackintosh/comments/kkdiqm/macos_10146_on_gbbxi54570r_8gb_ram/

It worked OOB without any kexts or patches, Wi-Fi icon showed up after booting in macOS. The card was identified as Third-Party Wireless in System Information.

Using AirportBrcmFixup.kext(in /C/k/O) and brcmfx-driver=3 boot arg patched it as genuine AirPort Extreme (0x14E4, 0xD), no BT as mentioned above.

I'm not sure if you can just plug in an external BT dongle and enable AirDrop with a single BCM4322 but it seemed to be possible, don't take my word for it. And at this point you should just buy a BCM94352HMB if you need BT4LE for AirDrop, this is a much better card and still supported by newer macOS.

You might need extra boot arg brcmfx-country=#a (e.g. change #a with US) depending on the card region(e.g. CN), otherwise some Wi-Fi bands are prohibited which can result in bad performance.

Extra warnings:

OOB support for BCM4322 only existed up to 10.14.6, support dropped in 10.15. You need other new cards for newer macOS.

I haven't tried Windows 10 but you should get DW1510 drivers from Dell, the default Windows 10 driver was rumored to have bad 5GHz Wi-Fi performance.

BCM4322 only supports 802.11 a/b/g/n without onboard BT, if you need 802.11ac or BT4LE for AirDrop, just bite the bullet and get a BCM94352HMB or even a genuine AirPort Extreme card with mPCIe adapter if you have enough space.

Don't purchase the wrong model, BCM4322(14e4:432B) and BCM43224(14e4:4353) are not the same as BCM43228(14e4:4359). BCM43228(14e4:4359) is not supported in any macOS: just because the names are similar doesn't mean it will work

Main references (and tons of google-fu):

https://deviwiki.com/

https://www.ifixit.com/

https://wiki.osx86project.org/wiki/index.php/Apple_hardware

https://osxlatitude.com/forums/topic/2120-inventory-of-supportedunsupported-wireless-cards-1-snow-leopard-el-capitan/

https://osxlatitude.com/forums/topic/11138-inventory-of-supportedunsupported-wireless-cards-2-sierra-big-sur/

https://github.com/acidanthera/AirportBrcmFixup

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