[NBLUG/talk] Installing WiFi cards

Kyle Rankin kyle at nblug.org
Mon Jun 14 12:56:55 PDT 2004

On Mon, Jun 14, 2004 at 12:19:33PM -0700, Mark Street wrote:
> Not to be a party pooper or anything but I run my entire house on wireless 
> Linux boxes.  I run various RH boxen RH9 and FC1, Debian with WiFi cards from  
> Linksys ver. 3, Netgear PCI, Orinoco Gold with no problems.
> Don't give up, DO your homework first, I hear the WPC11 4 with the Realtek 
> chip works really well with Linux using the commercial driver from Conextant 
> utilizing the doze driver.

I'll echo Mark's sentiment here, while not all cards are well-supported
under Linux, I've been able to get varities from Linksys as well as an
Orinoco Gold working in Linux with no problems. In fact a friend of mine
had some random prism2 pcmcia card plugged into his laptop and Knoppix
booted, configured it, and connected to the SSU library (back when you
could do that w/o a password) with no configuration on his part.

> On Monday 14 June 2004 12:13, A.C. wrote:
> > I've been fighting with getting *any* wireless card to work on *any*
> > distribution, and so far I've had very little luck.  I spent the past
> > weekend fighting with Knoppix 3.4 (2.4 and 2.6 kernels), the Knoppix to
> > HD install (Debian Sid), and a real Debian network install with three
> > different cards - LinkSys WPC11 2.5 (Prism II), LinkSys WPC11 4
> > (RealTek), and Proxim Orinoco Silver A/B (Atheros chipset).  I managed
> > to get the best luck with the Debian clean install and the LinkSys WPC11
> > 2.5 based off the Prism II chipset, but even then I couldn't get the
> > card to connect to my AP.  The linux-wlan / wlan-ng method has done
> > nothing but confuse me, and wrapping a Windows driver seems like a
> > really bad idea, and a hack at that.

Part of the confusion, I think, is due to things like wlan-ng which ignores
iwconfig and the rest of the "standard" wireless utilities and decides to
go its own route with its own tools and configuration. Luckily for prism2
users, you don't /have/ to use wlan-ng, you can use the hostap drivers
(found at http://hostap.epitest.fi/) which also works for prism2 cards, but
can be configured with iwconfig like any other card. I've had success with
prism2 cards (old linksys pcmcia cards) with both wlan-ng and hostap.

Debian /has/ remedied some of this by integrating wireless configuration
into the rest of its ifupdown /etc/network/interfaces configuration for
your other network cards. It isn't incredibly well-documented, but you can
configure cards that use iwconfig as well as wlan-ng with it. I have a
sample configuration at http://www.greenfly.org/fujitsu/interfaces

A few things about this example though. First, it uses mapping so that
instead of having eth1 for my wireless card and having to go in and edit
the configuration for different access points my laptop is near, the
mapping lets me set up configuration for home, work, etc. and then
determines which mapping to use with the mapping script that is listed, in
my case it uses the pcmcia utility cardctl, so to change to my home
wireless configuration I would type: "cardctl scheme home" in a terminal.

Just keep trying, once you get the hang of it and have a supported card,
wireless configuration really isn't too bad.

Kyle Rankin
NBLUG President
The North Bay Linux Users Group
IRC: greenfly at irc.freenode.net #nblug 
kyle at nblug.org

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