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Old 05-31-2005, 12:00 PM   #1
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Canada
Distribution: SuSE 9.1 pro/Debian Sarge
Posts: 61

Rep: Reputation: 15
Debian Sarge + madwifi : cannot bring up interface ath0


I am running Debian Sarge on a Pentium 4 laptop with kernels
2.6.8-2-386, 2.6.8-2-686 and 2.6.8-2-686-smp. My difficulties with
wireless networking are identical with all three kernels. I apologize
in advance if this message is a bit long; I hope to provide useful

I have a Netgear WG511T PCMCIA wireless adapter. It has an Atheros
chipset and thus I use madwifi. I am having difficulties bringing the
interface up. I initially had the ethernet port eth0 defined as 'auto'
in /etc/network/interfaces. If the laptop is not connected when I
boot, I endlessly receive the message:

r8169: eth0: Reset RTL8169s PHY

which is annoying (the built-in ethernet controller is a RealTek
RTL-8169 Gigabit Ethernet). I thus edited /etc/network/interfaces and
commented out the 'auto eth0' (is there a better way around this?). Now
I just bring eth0 up or down using ifup/ifdown---this is great.

Regarding the wireless card, I installed the madwifi drivers, loaded
the modules, but 'ifup ath0' gives:

% ifup ath0
Error for wireless request "Set ESSID" (8B1A) :
SET failed on device ath0 ; No such device.
Internet Software Consortium DHCP Client 2.0pl5
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All rights reserved.

Please contribute if you find this software useful.
For info, please visit

sit0: unknown hardware address type 776
eth1: unknown hardware address type 24
ath0: ERROR while getting interface flags: No such device
sit0: unknown hardware address type 776
eth1: unknown hardware address type 24
Bind socket to interface: No such device
Failed to bring up ath0.

% dmesg | grep 'ath0'

% lsmod | grep 'ath'
ath_pci 63104 0
ath_rate_onoe 8840 1 ath_pci
ath_hal 148592 1 ath_pci
wlan 121308 2 ath_pci,ath_rate_onoe

% lsmod | grep 'yenta'
yenta_socket 21728 0
pcmcia_core 70868 2 ds,yenta_socket

% lsmod | grep 'hotplug'
pci_hotplug 34640 2 shpchp,pciehp

and the wireless card doesn't show up in 'lspci'. Similarly, 'cardctl
status' says there is no card in the socket (there is!). 'cardctl
stop/insert' doesn't help.

A couple questions:

(a) What are these interfaces eth1 and sit0 with unknown addresses?
(b) Is the pcmcia and/or hotplug modules at fault?

My /etc/network/interfaces is as follows;

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
#auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

# PCMCIA wireless adapter
iface ath0 inet dhcp
        wireless-essid <my-essid>

# Get the wireless adapter to hotplug
mapping hotplug
        script grep
        map ath0
Only one led is blinking on the wireless adapter.

Now if I have the wireless adapter inserted before I boot and if 'auto
eth0' is enabled, the card is powered, the interface comes up, it
picks up the correct ESSID, but I never receive any IP address via
DHCP from my home wireless router (which is configured with dhcp). I
see messages witnessing attempts from DHCPDISCOVER to receive an
offer, which never happens. I disabled WEP and WAP, so access should
be wide open.

I don't have ifplugd, netenv, waproamd or wap_supplicant. (should I?)
Documentation doesn't seem to help, but I may very well have missed

What am I missing here? Why can't I hotplug the card?
I very much appreciate any help. Thanks in advance,
Old 06-01-2005, 04:48 AM   #2
LQ Newbie
Registered: May 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Distribution: Debian Sarge 3.1
Posts: 7

Rep: Reputation: 0
Whats the output of you're iwconfig command?


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