Advice on wireless cards please

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Advice on wireless cards please

Postby johndudley » Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:28 am

Morning all

Some weeks back I acquired a retired laptop from work which came with a BT Voyager 1060 wireless card. As my first foray into Linux I installed SimplyMepis from the recent LXF disc. This recognised the card right away and after a bit of fiddling I was sorted.

Since then though I have tried a Mandriva one live CD, FC5 and the Ubuntu and SUSE live CDs but have had no joy with any of them acknowledging the existence of the card.

I would like to try Ubuntu as I like the look of it so would be grateful if anyone could help? I am happy to by a new card or a wireless USB adaptor that is known to work if that is easier.

Thanks for any help. I broadly know my way around a computer but am something of Linux novice.

John
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RE: Advice on wireless cards please

Postby spottedcat » Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:51 am

Firstly, you need to know the wireless chipset your card has. You can't necessarily tell this from the make/model. Open a terminal and become root. (Type 'su -' - without the quotes - at the prompt and then type in your root password when asked.) Now type in the command 'lspci' (again without the quotes) and look for a line with 'wireless' and/or '802.11' in it. It will identify the chipset. Post that line, and we can go from there.

A little food for thought. Mepis includes a number of proprietary drivers, which is perhaps why it detected your wireless card when other distros didn't. Mepis takes a more pragmatic view of non-free (as in speech) software than other 'purer' distros. Ubuntu is all open-source but makes access to non-free fairly straightforward. Fedora is by policy strictly open source, and you have to be willing to lift the bonnet and get your hands greasy for a lot of things. Seems to me that both Mepis and Ubuntu are good choices for Linux novices - Fedora somewhat less so. One thing to bear in mind. A new release of Mepis (Mepis 6 - where did 4 and 5 go? :)) is due within the next two weeks. It's borrowing a lot from the latest Ubuntu, so you might want to get hold of the new Mepis. Hopefully, all the polish of Ubuntu Dapper and the pragmatism of Mepis.
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Postby johndudley » Tue Jun 06, 2006 12:15 pm

Hi Spotted Cat

Thanks for the quick reply.

I got back the following which I hope will be useful.

'Network Controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN controller'

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Postby spottedcat » Tue Jun 06, 2006 12:53 pm

This link might help. Interestingly it says:

Broadcom manufactures a chipset family called the Broadcom 43xx which is used in a lot of wireless products, including the Apple Airport Extreme, some Linksys products, and many HP, Compaq, Dell and Acer notebooks. They do not work out of the box on Ubuntu 5.10, (but does most of the time in Ubuntu Dapper 6.10) because the manufacturers have not released (open or closed) drivers for Linux; apparently they have not opened source because of security concerns


Which means that if you are using Ubuntu Dapper (6.06 - not 6.10. That must be a misprint.) you might strike lucky. Were you trying Dapper (the latest, only just released version) or 5.10 Breezy? You can tell by the colour scheme. :) Breezy is a dull brown; Dapper is a more cheerful orangey-brown. So, if you were using Breezy, suggest you download Dapper and try again. (You can install from the Dapper live CD.) And if Dapper doesn't work ootb with your wireless card you'll have to work through the howto on that link. Have fun! :wink:
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Postby towy71 » Tue Jun 06, 2006 12:58 pm

I have a broadcom card working under dapper but if I were buying again I would go to Linuxemporium and buy one from them, it is guaranteed to work with linux ;-)
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Postby spottedcat » Tue Jun 06, 2006 1:07 pm

Er - Towy. Do you remember another thread on another forum? I was saying that the Belkin card usually had the ralink 2500 chipset. You took me to task - rightly so, because when the thread author did lspci, he found he had the Broadcom BCM4306 chipset - in a Belkin card. The Belkin card is what LinuxEmporium sells - presumably on the assumption that it has the ralink chipset, which is Linux friendly. Except for SuSE 10.1 that is. Oh Dear. :wink:

(Welcome to the fascinating world of Linux, johndudley. :D)
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Postby nelz » Tue Jun 06, 2006 1:19 pm

Drivers for the Broadcom chip are very new. The first release was only six months ago and it is only just starting to find its way into distros (it won't be in the kernel until the next version). The latest Ubuntu (6.06) may support this now, but the driver (which is open source) didn't exist when Ubuntu 5.10 was released.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
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Postby towy71 » Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:01 pm

SC you whipper snapper :lol: The cards linuxemporium are Belkin 802.11g 54 Mbps Wireless PCMCIA Card and definitely ralink chips, my card is Belkin 802.11g 125 Mbps Wireless PCMCIA Card and broadcom chipped, thus different cards! :roll: I did manage to get it working but I think they improved the installer so that it should "work out of the box"
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Postby johndudley » Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:17 pm

Some food for thought here

It was 5.10 that I tried so I will give 6.06 a go - although not straight away because I have some decorating to finish which is (apparently) more important). I'll be back with more later.

I'll also keep a look out for Mepis 6.

Thanks again
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Postby spottedcat » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:13 pm

towy71 wrote:SC you whipper snapper :lol:


Ooh, thanks Towy. That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me all week. :preen: :preen: :wink:
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Dapper installed but no joy so far

Postby johndudley » Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:42 am

I downloaded 6.06 and installed it (I was actually given a nice warm feeling by being able to get that far) but it is still not seeing the card I am afraid.

I will keep fiddling myself or course but I am more than happy to receive any thoughts from here.

Thanks for the help so far.

John
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