need help to make card active & respond to the wireless network
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At a command line run 'iwconfig -a' . This will list out all the wireless devices you have, which should be only one. If nothing shows up then you could have a driver issue.
If the card shows up, then run a second command 'iwlist <wireless adapter> scan'. This should list the access points near you. if nothing comes back then it could mean that your school is not broadcasting the SSID. This isn't bad, you can still get on the network but you have to know the SSID.
Finally, if everything checks out, you'll need to configure the card. Go through the network config utility to do this. It's pretty straight forward.
iwconfig -a will give you the message "no wireless extensions" for non-wireless devices, like a 10/100/1000 nic. That's normal. You should see eth1 or some other device that does have wireless extensions.
If you aren't seeing this, try tailing /var/log/messages when you insert the card. It may not recognize it if you insert the card Linux is up and running.