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Ok, I recently had to rebuild my gentoo system from scratch because of a dead hard drive. This time I decided to go ahead and install gentoo-sources which gives you a 2.6.12 kernel tree to compile. I now have a laundry list of things that used to work before (with kernel 2.4.25) but that don't work anymore. I'll focus on one for the sake of sanity.
I have a Linksys 802.11b card with a Prism3 chipset, supported by everyone under the sun. I have opted to use the hostap driver because of the iwlist scanning features, plus it's what I'm used to. The problem I'm currently having with it, which I never had before, is that I can no longer change the essid from the command line. There was another thread that talked about this but as there was no answer to the question I'm having a go at it. When I try to set the essid through iwconfig, I get "Operation not supported." In fact, the only way I can get the card to work and associate with my (cloaked, WEPped) WRT54G running HyperWRT is through KDE's KWifi manager (go figure). For some reason it's the only way to set the essid. Yes, the key is entered correctly for WEP. I wouldn't mind except I have to do this every time I reboot the PC, which is a pain. For some reason, even though I have "Apply settings at boot" checked, it doesn't apply the settings so I have to do it by hand if I want to be on the network.
Now, it used to be that the pcmcia script took care of that. It changed the essid, associated with the AP, it even ran dhcpcd for me! No more. I'd like that to be the case again if possible. Any thoughts?
Now for the techie part: I have wireless-tools 28 installed, apparently with wireless extension v17. iwconfig -v gives me a song and dance about the hostap driver (v 4.1) being compiled with wireless extensions 17 but v 18 is recommended which should be all well and good.
The IPv6 stuff is loading for some reason. I compiled the kernel with IPv6 support as a module but I never ask the kernel to explicitly load it. It must load with the rest of the network scripts. Thanks ahead of time. Sorry for the long post.
Ok. There must be a bug in the 4.1 version of the driver (I guess that's why it's called a "development release"...) because I emerged the 3.9 driver and everything is working fine, in case anyone else is having the same problem.
Never mind, the problem is still there, it wasn't a driver issue after all. Still open to suggestions. It's very strange that KDE seems to be the only one to be able to set the right ssid. I should add that with the current driver setting the ssid with iwconfig quietly fails. It doesn't give me the error message anymore.
prism3 card seems to be buggy about the hostap drivers, at least mine is, it might really be a driver issue (but it doesnt explain why KWifi works fine).
I noticed you aren't using the latest firmware, maybe uploading the latest one to your card could do any good. Consider trying this.
Also, if I remember right, some firmwares wont let you change ESSID and relevant settings unless you set the card to "roaming" mode. I don't quite remember how to do this but take a look at driver tools manpage (prism_param, prism_... ).
The thing I don't understand about it is that this used to work fine with a 2.4.25 kernel. Same laptop, same hardware, no hardware changes other than a new hard drive. Is this an issue with the kernel? Perhaps it's the driver since I'm using a different version of the driver from before. Perhaps I need to use the 2.0 driver again and see what happens.