Wireless update (long)

Chris Staub chris at beaker67.com
Sat Apr 1 00:29:15 PST 2006

Bruce Dubbs wrote:
> I've had some success with the wireless.  I can now communicate via a
> wireless card on a LFS system.   I've got a built in card and an
> external PCMCIA card, but I've only checked out the PCMCIA card for now.
>  I don't anticipate any problems though.
> For the record, this is what I found out:
> You have to have the right drivers installed!  In my case, I needed
> madwifi drivers.  The kernel drivers needed fell into two categories:
> bus and network card.
> For the bus->PCCARD (PCMCIA/CardBus) support, I needed "CardBus
> yenta-compatible bridge support and "16-bit PCMCIA support", but I also
> think (not sure) I needed "Support for PCI Hotplug".  More on this later.
> In the Networking section I needed:
>   Generic IEEE 802.11 Networking Stack
> I also enabled:
>   IEEE 802.11 WEP encryption (802.1x)
>   IEEE 802.11i CCMP support
>   IEEE 802.11i TKIP encryption

Is the ieee802 stuff driver-specific or is it needed for just about any 
kind of wireless connection? I know my wireless driver (ipw2200) needs 
this as well...

> In device drivers->Network devices->Wireless LAN (non-hamradio)
>   Hermes chipset 802.11b support (Orinoco/Prism2/Symbol)
>   Hermes in PLX9052 based PCI adaptor support (Netgear MA301 etc.)
>   Hermes in TMD7160 based PCI adaptor support
>   Nortel emobility PCI adaptor support
>   Prism 2.5 PCI 802.11b adaptor support
>   Hermes PCMCIA card support
> I'm not 100% all these are required.  I suppose I could redo the kernel
> build to make these modules and see which ones are needed.
> In any case, on my system, when the cards are recognized by the drivers,
> they show up in /proc/net/wireless and in a cryptic manner in /sys.
> After that, using wireless-tools and ifconfig (I do prefer net-tools), I
> can get the net cards up.
> Overall, I think this is fairly complicated.  I'm going to have to think
> about what to say in the book.  Right now, there seems to be two
> packages needed: wireless-tools and madwifi drivers, but there needs to
> be a section on configuration too.

Most of the complicated stuff seems to be in setting up the driver and 
getting the device recognized. Once that's done, you can just treat it 
like any other network device (plus the configuration with iwconfig). I 
have a wireless setup with WEP, and I just have the standard {,B}LFS 
network and dhcpcd bootscripts + one "wireless" bootscript (really just 
a single command - /usr/sbin/iwconfig eth0 essid mynetwork enc 
myencryptionkey - though I'm sure BLFS would want to install the 
wireless-tools progs into / just like the rest of the base-level network 

Additional hardware-specific-info: the ipw2200 driver must be compiled 
as a module. I seem to have lost the link that explained the reason for 
this, but I believe it has something to do with the driver somehow not 
being able to load the firmware if it's built in to the kernel.

> Things I haven't explored yet: encryption/keys, scripting, hotplug/udev.
> This is certainly a non-trivial topic.
>   -- Bruce

What about the info on WPA in this hint - 
http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/hints/downloads/files/wpa-dhcpcd.txt ? 
Of course, I only have a simple wireless setup with WEP myself so I 
don't have any idea how well that WPA hint works...

Also, if you're going to add driver info (madwifi) to the book, perhaps 
ndiswrapper should be added as well for hardware drivers that don't yet 
have native linux versions. Though, I haven't had much luck with 
ndiswrapper myself...in my experience it seems to lock up the computer 
any time the wireless connection drops, but I wonder if this is typical 
or just bad luck (or user error) on my part.

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