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Re: [vox-tech] wireless cards + Linux Redhat
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Re: [vox-tech] wireless cards + Linux Redhat


The official supported cards list is good, but watch out for _version_
releases of various wireless cards (two cards with same model number can
actually have different chipsets inside - argg!).
There are two VERY well supported wireless card chipsets in Linux,
one PRETTY well supported chipset, and serveral shoddily supported chipsets.
You definately want 802.11b as at this time there is no real Linux support for
any of the A or G stuff (although there is a few very beta G drivers
floating around).

Here is what I would look for (from my personal experience with several of
these cards):

1. The Cisco 340 series PCMCIA card.  The driver for this card is
phenominal.  Cisco wrote a nice proc interface
so you can find out what your card is doing/seeing at all times, and
iwconfig (part of the wireless tools) works well with the card too.
Driver should load automatically on any modern disto that has the
PCMCIA package installed (I use slackware, but I've tested it recently
on Debian too). Reception and WEP support are both great.
The only con is that you won't get it cheap - it's gonna cost you a
good $70-$80, but I think it's worth it.  If you don't want to hunt one
down, I know for a fact there is a stack of them at the Sac State bookstore in
their computer department (disclamier: I do work at Sac State, but I'm not
trying to make a sales pitch, I just know they have this card in stock as
of a few days ago).

2. The Orinoco GOLD series card.  You're likely to find this card at the
local Ma & Pa computer store (you probably won't see it at Best Buy).
Some of the other name-brand cards are based on this chipset, but be
careful, you can only trust the one that is really from Orinoco.  The
driver that comes with the PCMCIA package should also autodetect this
card.  Again, great WEP support, etc.  Good card.  The Orinoco Silver card
works just as well with the same driver but only supports 40bit WEP.  If
you know you are not going to rely on WEP and will be using VPN or
something else for security, save a few bucks and get a silver card if
they have one.

3. Anything based on Intersil's Prism II chipset.  This includes cards
from Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, and (believe it or not) Microsoft.  You
REALLY have to watch out here.  I've seen a card from D-Link called the
DWL-650 that has housed as many as three different chipsets, so even
though the card looks similar and has the same box, only one will work
with Linux.  For this reason, stay away from D-link and look for cards
from Linksys or Netgear.  Watch out for anything that promises 22Mbps
(those cards don't work with Linux at all).  One of the best ones is the
Netgear 16-bit MA401.  This is important if you have an old laptop that
doesn't support CARDBUS.  Redhat users beware: there are two drivers
(actually 3, but I haven't had good luck with the ng_lan driver):
the Wavelan and the Orinoco. Orinoco supports WEP with these cards, the
Wavelan driver does not.  For some reason Redhat (as recenlty as 8 - I
haven't tried 9) changed the default PCMCIA config so it loads the Wavelan
driver, and you'll never get WEP until you do some hacking on the PCMCIA config file.
This is the chipset that most of the Compact Flash cards use, and you can
actually get these cards working in a laptop with a $15 CF2PCMCIA adapter.

Once you've got your card inserted and 'lsmod' shows the driver is loaded,
all you have to do is tweak the settings in /etc/pcmcia/network.opts and
/etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts (comments in both of these files are very
helpful and straightforward).

One thing to watch out for is your other network card if you have one.
Some distros have their own custom networking configurations that will
cause PCMCIA to get confused over who is eth0 and eth1.  This oddity is
distro specific and so I can't really offer any help except to say that
your system will be happier if the wired ethernet is eth0 even if you
aren't using it.  I think (but haven't tested) Suse will call your
wireless card wlan0 (this was the behavior of older verions of the PCMCIA
package and I think some distros are hanging on to that).

That's about it.  Good resources are at the pcmica pages (listed in the
URL below) and Wireless tools:
http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Jean_Tourrilhes/Linux/.  There are a few
card specific tweaks at mobilix.org, but I haven't seen that site updated
with any reliable regularity.

Good luck,
Dave M.

On Tue, 7 Oct 2003, ME wrote:

> Assuming you have the latest install of the pcmcia-cs (or other addition)
> a list of supported cards with pcmcia-cs is here:
> http://pcmcia-cs.sourceforge.net/ftp/SUPPORTED.CARDS
> Enjoy,
> -ME
> Jonathan Anderson said:
> >
> > Hi I was just wondering if a Siemens 802.11 b wireless card would be
> > compatible with Linux?  What cards are compatible?  thanks
> >
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