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Old 10-01-2006, 09:00 PM   #1
Registered: Jun 2004
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What's a good pcmcia wireless card?

Hi folks,

I just picked up an old Compaq Armada E500 for the specific purpose of installing Debian Linux. I'm installing the OS now but the computer doesn't have a networking card. I've had problems with no support for a wireless chipset in the past so before I go out and get a card I thought I'd ask for recommendations on a brand/model. Also, once I have the card in place how do I then install and configure all the networking software? Should I just reinstall the OS?


Old 10-02-2006, 03:20 AM   #2
Registered: Aug 2004
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PCMCIA cards? Corega (WLBC54GL), PCi (rtl 81xx), Buffalo (could be one of the aforementioned chipsets), these are the ones that I have used. Using Debain you should have no problems. You may need to use ndiswrapper (intructions on the website). Then configure the interface through your distro's setup tools.
Old 10-02-2006, 03:56 AM   #3
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Registered: Jan 2005
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PCMCIA WiFi Card for Linux

Can be difficult, as manufacturers have been known to change the chipset without changing the model number! Ralink have open-sourced their drivers, so cards with their chipsets should be a good bet.

If you are in the UK, contact the Linux Emporium (sorry, can't post URL). They sell Belkin WiFi cards specifically chosen to work with Linux. I've just bought one; it came shrink-wrapped, with the Linux drivers on an extra CD. In fact, I didn't have to use the CD as Ubuntu 6.06 supports this particular chipset automatically - plugged in, switched on, card recognised - no sweat.

The model number is F5D7010uk, which uses a Ralink chipset.
Old 10-02-2006, 04:12 AM   #4
Registered: May 2004
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I was using a dlink DWL 650 and it worked fine (I had to install additional drivers though)
Old 10-02-2006, 08:02 AM   #5
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a good way to do this is to get an Atheros Card. i use an Atherows AWLC 4030 and it didn't cost me mmuch, US$15. i don't know how many euros, but probably cheaper. anyways, then i went out and found the madwifi rpm package online and installed it. it took some wrestling, but it was installed no problem.
Old 10-02-2006, 11:01 AM   #6
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Turku, Finland
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I have both an Atheros card and a Ralink card. The Atheros card and it's drivers are far superior and so far more reliable. It seems to me that the rt2x00 project does not seem to be too active; there has been only two official releases since December 2005).

I'd go for the Atheros based card. It can be used in Access point mode (master mode) also, if needed.
Old 10-02-2006, 11:04 AM   #7
Registered: Jul 2005
Location: Mission TX
Distribution: Ubuntu, Mint
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my choice of wireless cards

I'm a recently retired IT and the go-to-guy for my community's computer problems. We have a wireless internet connection available and I've plowed my way through about every wireless card made hooking people up to the system. If my Cisco 350 won't connect them, it always requires an outside antenna.

I personally use the Cisco 350 series card. I have never failed to connect to a network with it on any computer. It is the only wireless card that virtually every distribution recognizes and can set up.

I travel with my laptop and have yet to find a hotspot that I couldn't quickly connect to with the Cisco 350.
Old 10-02-2006, 11:56 AM   #8
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Wantage, NJ
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Netgear WPN511 or something like that. Maybe 311. Whichever is the pcmcia.... Use with madwifi, works like a charm, even with WPA-PSK.
Old 10-02-2006, 12:40 PM   #9
Registered: Mar 2006
Distribution: debian sarge
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i have used netgear in the past and it worked very well for me. it was all plug and play, no extra software needed.
Old 10-02-2006, 02:53 PM   #10
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You could take a look at some of the wifi driver sites and check their compatability lists..

madwifi the driver for Atheros cards..

Linux-wlan-ng (old)

Prism 54G

Other resources, drivers, compatability lists, etc..
Old 10-02-2006, 05:03 PM   #11
Registered: Nov 2005
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For most hardware compatibility questions you can Google for "hardware compatibility list"
with whatever other term and get a quicker, better answer. For example, try:
Old 10-02-2006, 07:25 PM   #12
Registered: Jun 2004
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Intersting - the Atheros card is the one I couldn't get to work. It always seemed like Madwifi was unfinished so I gave up on it. Look much more complete now.

Old 10-02-2006, 10:06 PM   #13
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Just helped my friend setup his Atheros card in Debian this weekend.
Using Debians Module-assistant it took all of about 10 minutes to get setup and working..
So yes I would say it's a bit more refined now..


hardware, laptops, linux, networking, pcmcia, wireless

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