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Re: Laptop WiFi manual

On Sat, 14 Jul 2007 07:55:58 -0600 Karl Larsen <k5di zianet com> wrote:

>     I have been working on this and I think it's close.

Please see feedback inline...

> I:    First you MUST learn what the name of your WiFi hardware. This
> can usually be done from a root Terminal and you call # lspci. This
> will print a list of all the pci things in your laptop. Here is part
> of mine.
> 00:09.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications, Inc. AR5212 
> 802.11abg NIC (rev 01)
> 00:0a.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI7420 CardBus Controller
> 00:0f.0 IDE interface: ALi Corporation M5229 IDE (rev c4)
> 00:12.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. 
> RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ (rev 10)
> This is what my SONY laptop printed out from lspci. Notice there are
> two items called Ethernet controller. But notice the Atheros says it
> handles 802.11abg which is what WiFi is, So now we know this laptop
> has hardware made by Atheros Communications, Inc.

I like this step. It would solve a lot of issues for people who don't
know what wireless card they have.

> II:    The second step is easy. You need to find out what Linux
> software is written for your hardware. The easiest is a great web
> page at:
> http://linux-wless.passys.nl/
> If a reader knows about other Linux software please write. If you
> have a laptop that is working and you forgot what you did, do this:
> # lsmod and find the ones that sound like wifi stuff. Or look at 
> /etc/modprobe.conf and you should see them there. 

Again... I like this step it is a valuable resource.

> III:    Now find a kernel that has your drivers in module form. Start 
> with your current kernel and as root type modprobe ath_pci in my
> case. If nothing happens your lucky, your kernel has the driver you
> need. Check with # lsmod and see what modules were installed. A more
> general case modprobe says "no such file". Then you need to find a
> kernel with your modules. Try older and newer kernels.

This step does not make any sense to me. Your manual jumps from finding
out what driver you have to trying to load it. If you have a wireless
card natively supported by the kernel this step is not needed as it is
loaded automatically. For some of the more popular cards that are not
included in the kernel I would point the user to RPM repositories such
as livna and walk them through the installation process that way. The
madwifi RPM's for example perform all the steps needed in getting the
module loaded.

> IV:    There is a new network system available in at least Fedora
> Core 6 and Fedora 7 called NetworkManager. You will want to set that
> up at least on your laptop. I have it on both computers. Caution!
> Turn off network if your using NetworkManager.
>     Do this, cd /etc/rc.d/init.d/ and you will see a lot of
> applications listed. Now as root do # chkconfig network off and then
> # chkconfig NetworkManager on and # chkconfig
> NetworkManagerDispatcher on. Reboot and the new system will be
> working.

Shouldn't this be step V? You need the driver loaded before you
configure the Network?

> V:    If you have the right kernel you can now use # modprobe ath_pci 
> and that will work. Look at the two tiny computers near your name on
> the top edge and click on them. It will tell you about what it is
> doing. Also use the # nm-tool which will show you what Internet it is
> working on and what is turned off. Often your laptop will suddenly
> have wifi Internet. This is a good moment.

modprobe ath_pci is not needed if you use a madwifi RPM as it is all
loaded automatically for you.

In addition this manual does not cover how to configure the wireless
network in NetworkManager it is assumed that it magically starts
working without any configuration.

My two cents. 

- Erich

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