How do I best add my WPC54GS to my T42 SLED 10 box? (Part II)

This is the brief version of a long question that came to me from reader “idonot12b” (see the original text of the question here). His long question requires two approaches to a response: one philosophical, and one technical. This “Part II” will be the technical… “Part I” was a how-to…

NOTE: This information is only relevant if you are running your kernel with ACPI ENABLED, meaning NOT with “acpi=off” in the boot line for instance. If you don’t know how to enable ACPI after having disabled it, please refer to this Novell Support document for assistance.

We’re going to do it the easy way. Yes, there are other, better ways, but I’m here to get you up and going, not belabor the struggle. Essentially, all you have to do is: 1.) Add the card, 2.) Get the driver, 3.) Install or verify a couple pieces of software, 4.) Activate the module, 5.) Configure the settings, 6.) Enjoy your wireless freedom…

1.) Add the card – If you can’t figure this step out, you’re in trouble, and you should stop now. So if you can handle it, slide your PCMCIA wireless adapter into your PCMCIA slot. You can do an lspci to see if it has been properly discovered by your machine. Mine showed this: 07:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4318 [AirForce One 54g] 802.11g Wireless LAN Controller (rev 02)

2.) Get the driver – I got my driver directly from Linksys. I used the NT driver. Specifically, my driver is WPC54G Version: from 07/28/05. Mine was (unfortunately) in a windows self-extracting executable, so I actually had to expand it on a windows machine and grab the “NT” directory. I then copied it to my Linux box at: /tmp/Driver/NT

3.) Software – You need to install or verify a couple pieces of software: ndiswrapper, ndiswrapper-kmp-<kernel-specific>, and wpa_supplicant. The supplicant should already be installed, and I’m assuming that Network Manager is installed and is the current interface management method (these are also defaults). As the final step, install the driver into ndiswrapper with the following command: ndiswrapper -i /tmp/wireless/NT/LSBCMNDS.inf

4.) Activate the module – Now we need to make the ndiswrapper-managed driver activated, with the following command: modprobe ndiswrapper You can validate this with lsmod |grep ndis. At this point, you should have a new wireless interface, called wlan0. You can see it via the ifconfig command, or you can just use the Network Manager tool in the desktop panel.

5.) Configure the settings – Now, you have to decide once-and-for-all if you are committing to the Network Manager method (automated), or the ifconfig method (manual).

5a.) For the Network Manager way: just use Network Manager and set the card up. You should be able to just click on the icon in your panel, and choose the preferred network. At this point, you’ll get prompted for authentication detail, which you should know, or you’re in more trouble.

5b.) For the manual way: You need to make a /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf (see my wpa_supplicant.conf.example)
In the conf file you will need to specify your passphrase, so use the following command to generate it:
wpa_passphrase [ssid] [password]
…and load the driver like this (the following command should be all on one line):
wpa_supplicant -Dndiswrapper -B -d -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

6.) Enjoy!

You’ve come a long way, baby. You’re wireless now, congratulations. If you had any problems with these instructions, please comment, so that I can improve them for others. Thanks!

Maybe someday I’ll put up a nice post on how to build the back-end infrastructure to authenticate you as a front-end user…. someday… 😉

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