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Old 09-12-2011, 10:17 PM   #1
Z_Tagr
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Question Should Slackware "autodetect" my Linux-Compat. wireless NIC?


Hi folks!

I hope this question isn't TOO lame for all you experts!

I have now purchased TWO different USB wireless NICS, after seeing each on a list of such that are supposed to be Linux-compatible. Actually, the info. on BOTH seemed to indicate that support for them was "in the kernel" as of version such-and-such...

I KNOW the kernel version of Slackware 13.37, and it is WELL BEYOND the kernel version(s) listed for these particular devices! Also, the most recent one i purchased (a D-Link DWA-125 rev. A1) is supposed to be supported through something they called an "rt2860sta staging driver".

Is that "staging driver" a STANDARD part of any Linux kernel, and if so, does this imply that my NIC should somehow be "autodetected" by Slackware during bootup?

I have never had either of these two NICs in any way show up as "detected" or "present" in the system, so now I'm wondering if I actually need a special driver downloaded? Heck, I'm confused. Windows knows that they are present the second you plug them in...(not to be "patting Windoze on the back", mind you, but still...).

I don't have a clue as to what to do at this point!

Oh, yeah, before I forget, the OTHER NIC is a TP-Link WN722N. Slackware doesn't detect this one, either, even though the reason I bought it was due to the fact that the "compatible with Linux" list I read said that THAT NIC was "supported in the kernel" (not SPECIFICALLY the Slackware 13.37 kernel, though)!!

Sorry to be such a pain! I have looked at other postings concerning wireless USB NICs, and have NOT had my problem(s) addressed by those answers...

Yours,
Andre. (Z_Tagr)
 
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:38 PM   #2
ReaperX7
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USB NICs should be auto-detected by the system on boot and the proper kernel modules loaded. This isn't always the case. Sometimes modules also require firmware packages to be installed and loaded as well. Often sometimes an OEM driver is required because the module and/or firmware doesn't support a particular revision of a chip.

USB NICs also sometimes require using the NDISWrapper package and an imported Windows driver to operate properly, especially USB Wi-Fi adapters.

Because you have USB Wireless NICs you should first attempt to get them working by using the NDISWrapper package and an imported and unpacked Windows driver as well. Remember the same architecture driver will still be required like a 32-bit or a 64-bit driver.

Usually having a protect listed as Linux compatible, doesn't mean it's compatible on all systems.

Last edited by ReaperX7; 09-12-2011 at 10:39 PM.
 
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z_Tagr View Post
Oh, yeah, before I forget, the OTHER NIC is a TP-Link WN722N. Slackware doesn't detect this one
I have this same device, and I'm using it as I write this.

If you enter dmesg immediately after plugging it in, you should see a message about missing firmware. It should also tell you the exact filename of the firmware that you need.

lsusb will show that the device is seen as an AR9271, which is the same device that dmesg says you need firmware for.

Armed with this information, you go to linuxwireless.org and find the device's information page:

http://www.linuxwireless.org/en/users/Drivers/ath9k_htc

That page tells you where to download the firmware (ar9271.fw), which you copy into /lib/firmware to get the device working.

This is unfortunately a bit complicated right now, as the firmware download locations have moved due to the kernel.org security breach. I'm too lazy to look for them right now, but I'm sure you can take it from here.

And for the record, this device does not work out of the box on Windows either. On my Windows 7 system, it wouldn't work until I installed a Windows driver for it.

(A similar series of steps should get the other NIC working).

Last edited by dugan; 09-12-2011 at 11:00 PM.
 
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:00 PM   #4
Z_Tagr
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Hey, ReaperX7!

First off, thanks for the REAL QUICK REPLY! I am normally logged-off long before I get any response to my posting(s)! I really appreciate it!

First off, I have heard that term "NDISWrapper" mentioned in other postings, and only NOW am I beginning to see what it might be! You mean, this "NDISWrapper" actually allows you to use Windoze drivers in Linux installations? Wow!

I have not even had the chance to check Slackbuilds yet - Is "NDISWrapper" a Slackbuilds downloadable package, or is it already present in Slax? Once I have it, I'm sure the docs. will be enough to tell me how to utilize it! I of course have the Windoze drivers for both NICs on their respective installation CD's, so that will not be a problem!

But, you DID say that at least SOME of these NICs should be detected on Slackware bootup? Wow, I must have the worst luck picking these different NICs, then! I just can'r believe what a hassle this is turning out to be!!!

But, I am pleased to know that there may be a solution as potentially "simple" as the NDISWrapper one, though!

I'm just now going over to the Slackbuilds site and checking this out!

I'll keep this topic open for now, and I'll certainly let you know what comes of this!

Thanks again,
Andre. (Z_Tagr)
 
Old 09-12-2011, 11:02 PM   #5
dugan
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You don't need ndiswrapper. You only need firmware. Go through the steps I wrote about, starting with dmesg.

Last edited by dugan; 09-12-2011 at 11:09 PM.
 
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:14 PM   #6
Z_Tagr
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Smile

Sorry dugan!

I did not get informed of your posted solution to my problem as quickly as I should have!

Great advice! I did not expect it to be (or, at least, SOUND) so easy! I will follow your suggestion and see what follows!

Oh, one thing - I didn't mean that Windoze can USE the NIC "out of the box"; I merely meant that it "knows that it's present" in the system once it is inserted into a USB slot! Inserting the NIC with Slackware running produces no noticeable action!!!

Again, thanks a lot!

Andre. (Z_Tagr)
 
Old 09-14-2011, 06:56 PM   #7
Z_Tagr
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Hey, dugan!

The advice you gave me was SPOT-ON!!! I found a source for the firmware file, downloaded it, and then did a dmesg, and sure as heck the thing seemed ok! Thanks for that bud!

Also, kudos on your article about setting up Slackware - It's a good read, and really informative!

Now, if I could trouble you for something else if it wouldn't be too much trouble?

Once the NIC has the correct firmware (you know, the one you and I both have, the TL-WN722N), is there anything else that I need to do to make it interface as eth0? I know that the minute I connected my notebook running Slackware 13.37 to my high-speed connection, I was instantly on-line. I can't seem to use it yet, even on my HOME NETWORK!

Maybe I'm still missing something? I'm not an expert on networking, by any means, but I do have a fully functional Samba network with 4 pcs on it, all running Slackware 13.37. Of course, NONE of them are using a WIRELESS INTERFACE, because I haven't been able to get one to work!

If there is anything I haven't done yet, I truly don't know what it is! I can post any output stuff you need to see what's wrong (or, maybe you already know!!!).

Oh, and by the way, the D-Link wireless NIC displays "all-is-well" when I type dmesg (that is, no missing firmware messages, or anything else indicating any problems). Heck, it even "flashes" now (although, for some odd reason, it didn't when I first stuck it the usb socket!? That's why I was saying that I received "no notification" from Slackware about having INSERTED a device in the port!

Anyways, thanks again for all your previous assistance! You're my "hero"!

Andre. (Z_Tagr)
 
Old 09-14-2011, 07:32 PM   #8
dugan
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From this point on, all I do is use wicd to set things up graphically.
 
Old 09-14-2011, 07:54 PM   #9
SeRi@lDiE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReaperX7 View Post
USB NICs should be auto-detected by the system on boot and the proper kernel modules loaded. This isn't always the case. Sometimes modules also require firmware packages to be installed and loaded as well. Often sometimes an OEM driver is required because the module and/or firmware doesn't support a particular revision of a chip.

USB NICs also sometimes require using the NDISWrapper package and an imported Windows driver to operate properly, especially USB Wi-Fi adapters.

Because you have USB Wireless NICs you should first attempt to get them working by using the NDISWrapper package and an imported and unpacked Windows driver as well. Remember the same architecture driver will still be required like a 32-bit or a 64-bit driver.

Usually having a protect listed as Linux compatible, doesn't mean it's compatible on all systems.
Thats a bad advice. ndiswrapper is not all ways need it and should not be the first option.

dougan has very good advice.



oooo as I can see the issue is now resolved.
 
Old 09-14-2011, 09:31 PM   #10
ReaperX7
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I did mention in the first paragraph about using firmware first. NDISWrapper isn't always the best choice, true, but it often ends up being the only choice when firmware and drivers fail to work or support them adequately.

I am only putting all the cards in the table at once for him. However, yes if firmware will work, use the firmware by all means.
 
Old 09-14-2011, 09:42 PM   #11
Z_Tagr
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Cool

Hiya, ReaperX7!

You wanna know something? The MOST important thing it that you tried to give a fellow "slack"er a hand, and, in the end, I learned about the NDISWrapper too! Big time bonus!

Yep, the firmware solution was the right one, but sometimes ANY help is better than nothing!

I give you credit where credit is due, bud!

Thanks!

Andre. (Z_Tagr)
 
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:51 PM   #12
ReaperX7
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No problem bro. Happy Slacking.

Just an update, those firmware's are now included in the "kernel-firmware-*-noarch-1.txz" package distributed with the 2.6.38.7 kernel for the Current tree, version number for Current ATM is "20110814git". I'm not sure if they shipped with the firmware package for 2.6.38.4 in the DVD's "/testing" directory though, or the default kernel for 13.37.

Last edited by ReaperX7; 09-15-2011 at 12:38 AM.
 
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Old 09-15-2011, 05:32 PM   #13
Z_Tagr
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Hi again dugan!

Just an update on what's happening on my end with the wireless NIC issue...

I am editing this particular post on WIRELESS with my D-Link NIC, thanks to your mentioning of the wicd daemon, and I found wicd-client-kde quite easily after that!

This NIC *DOES*e work "out-of-the-box", with NO FIRMWARE ISSUES! OH JOY!

But, alas, my poor TL-WN722N STILL is either not being initialized correctly or something! The "indicator" LED NEVER BEGINS TO FLASH, and I am getting the error message that "no wireless interfaces were found" when I try anything!

Can you think of ANYTHING you may have done besides installing the firmware that you may have forgotten to mention?

I know that the LED indicator on my D-Link was flashing at a regular rate LONG before I was able to connect to any network, but the TL-WN722N NIC simply sits there "looking stupid"!

It's quite a mystery, because dmesg gives me NO INDICATION that anything is wrong!

Or maybe I don't know what I'm looking for? I don't have that NIC with me at the moment, as I am not at home, but later on I could post the relative output from dmesg so you can have a look? Maybe you will see something missing in mine that should be there (although I wouldn't know if something was missing, obviously having never seen it before!)...

I had to look at the log for wicd to find out one thing that I didn't realize - although I had a working Samba network, I never had an /.snb folder in my regular user's OR my root user's home directories (the one that is supposed to contain the "private" versions of smb.conf!), because nothing I had read made having those two folders seem necessary (I had no reason to create a "custom" smb.conf for either user!). I have now placed a COPY of my 'standard" global smb.conf file in each of those two user folders (which was required before wicd would even work!)...

Later...

Andre. (Z_Tagr)
 
Old 09-16-2011, 08:30 AM   #14
onebuck
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReaperX7 View Post
No problem bro. Happy Slacking.

Just an update, those firmware's are now included in the "kernel-firmware-*-noarch-1.txz" package distributed with the 2.6.38.7 kernel for the Current tree, version number for Current ATM is "20110814git". I'm not sure if they shipped with the firmware package for 2.6.38.4 in the DVD's "/testing" directory though, or the default kernel for 13.37.
Looking at a/: kernel-firmware-20110814git-noarch-1.txt ;
Quote:
kernel-firmware: kernel-firmware (Firmware for the kernel)
kernel-firmware:
kernel-firmware: These are firmware files for the Linux kernel.
kernel-firmware:
kernel-firmware: You'll need these to use certain hardware drivers with Linux.
kernel-firmware:
kernel-firmware: Upstream site:
kernel-firmware:
kernel-firmware: git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/dwmw2/linux-firmware.git
kernel-firmware:
kernel-firmware:
So, yes the above firmware is distributed with '-current'. For 13.37 you have 'kernel-firmware-2.6.37.6-noarch-2.txt';
Quote:
kernel-firmware: kernel-firmware (Firmware installed by the kernel)
kernel-firmware:
kernel-firmware: These are the firmware files from the Linux kernel.
kernel-firmware:
kernel-firmware: You'll need these to use certain hardware with Linux.
kernel-firmware:
Both are Shipped with DVD, installed 2.6.37.6 and /testing is 2.6.38.7 . But '-current' would have the updated 'git' for the firmware;
Quote:
'-current' Changelog x86_64;

Thu Aug 25 09:10:45 UTC 2011
a/kernel-firmware-20110814git-noarch-1.txz: Upgraded.
Fetch the latest kernel firmware from git -- the stuff in the kernel sources
is somewhat stale.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 06:46 PM   #15
Z_Tagr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onebuck View Post
Just an update, those firmware's are now included in the "kernel-firmware-*-noarch-1.txz" package distributed with the 2.6.38.7 kernel for the Current tree, version number for Current ATM is "20110814git". I'm not sure if they shipped with the firmware package for 2.6.38.4 in the DVD's "/testing" directory though, or the default kernel for 13.37.
Thanks for the info. Gary!

I'm pleased to see that one of my wireless NICs will be better supported in an upcoming version!

Just in case, I OVERWROTE the firmware file I originally found elsewhere with the onw in the current version's
a/ folder...

By the way, do you happen to know any reason why this wireless NIC of mine will not work with Slackware? I know have the firmware file, and when I do a dmesg after I insert the NIC into the USB slot I get the following:

(Output of command dmesg after insertion of wireless NIC TL-WN722N
" [ 993.264219] usb 1-1: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 5
[ 993.399436] usb 1-1: New USB device found, idVendor=0cf3, idProduct=9271
[ 993.399446] usb 1-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=16, Product=32, SerialNumber=48
[ 993.399453] usb 1-1: Product: USB2.0 WLAN
[ 993.399459] usb 1-1: Manufacturer: ATHEROS
[ 993.399463] usb 1-1: SerialNumber: 12345
[ 993.692831] usb 1-1: ath9k_htc: Transferred FW: ar9271.fw, size: 51312
[ 993.959095] usb 1-1: ath9k_htc: HTC initialized with 33 credits
[ 994.538248] ath: EEPROM regdomain: 0x809c
[ 994.538255] ath: EEPROM indicates we should expect a country code
[ 994.538261] ath: doing EEPROM country->regdmn map search
[ 994.538265] ath: country maps to regdmn code: 0x52
[ 994.538270] ath: Country alpha2 being used: CN
[ 994.538274] ath: Regpair used: 0x52
[ 994.540580] Registered led device: ath9k-phy2::radio
[ 994.540631] Registered led device: ath9k-phy2::assoc
[ 994.540676] Registered led device: ath9k-phy2::tx
[ 994.540718] Registered led device: ath9k-phy2::rx
[ 994.540725] usb 1-1: ath9k_htc: USB layer initialized
[ 994.827350] ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlan1: link is not ready "


That final line has me stumped! Up to that point, everything looks pretty good?!

The activity led never flashes at all (well, the odd SINGLE flash, but only rarely...).

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance...

Andre. (Z_Tagr)
 
  


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