Wireless Ubuntu

I’m in the process of trying to get wireless working on one (or both) of my aging laptops with Ubuntu 7.04. Having looked at the documentation it seems to be sadly lacking in anything useful in terms of WPA, although this may well be partly due to the sad lack of proper support in Linux for WPA in general (as in you are very restricted in the cards you can use). That said, I’m not having any more luck with WEP either. Not that a working WEP would help much as I really can’t reconfigure the networks I connect to using WEP just to allow Linux access sadly. I suspect the WEP issue may partly be due to the fact that I’m probably only half heartedly working on it as WPA is the real target.

So, where am I with my selection of cards? Somewhere about here:

  • 3Com 3CRWE154G72 version 1.0 PCMCIA
    This did look to be my best bet, it uses the prism54 driver which on first glance looks to be supported by wpa_supplicant, sadly however, if you read closer you realise that the driver is only supported by hostapd and not wpa_supplicant – which to me seems odd, but there you go – so I assume this means it could be used as an access point, but not as a client! – Ubuntu identifies this OK and uses the prism54pci driver.
  • Linksys WPC54G ver. 4 PCMCIA
    This has got off to a very bad start, even though it uses the rt2x00 chipset which should work, still no good on WPA though sadly – Ubuntu doesn’t seem to be able to identify this at all, it is listed as an ethernet controller: unknown device 07fe:2220.
  • 3Com 3CRWE254G72 USB
    No idea on this one, and I’ve not yet identified the chipset – Ubuntu has no idea that it is a network adapter or what driver to use with it.
  • D-Link DWL-G122 Rev. B1 USB
    Another rt2x00 driver based card, seemed to have a good start, but again no WPA support – Ubuntu seems to load the rt2570 driver for this one.

Later I hope to move onto the PCI cards in a desktop machine, so will be looking into:

  • Linksys WMP55AG PCI
    This looks as though it may be the best of the lot with an Atheros chipset supported by the Mad WiFi driver!
    Not a clue on this one yet, still in its shrink wrap.
  • USR 5416 PCI
    Looks to be based on the ACX 111 chipset, beyond that I’ve not investigated.

I’m not entirely sure whether Ubuntu should support WPA out of the box in 7.04. All the documentation on the wiki refers to earlier versions, but I suspect that all the pieces are in place but need a bit of manual hacking in configuration files. When (there’s hope for you) I get it working I’ll have to document it. It looks like ndiswrapper almost all round though sadly.

Speaking of documenting things, I’ll make a quick note here that I need to do just that on a couple of things:

  • virtual users and virtual domains with Exim 4 and Dovecot
  • Synchronizing and backing up Firefox bookmarks with Webdav

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