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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 10-22-2005, 05:17 PM   #1
demon0
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Best Linux Wireless Card?


I have an old HP Pavilion with a Celeron processor from the Windows 98 era. It has been sitting in my closet, useless, since I now have half a dozen computers more powerful than that. However, my grandmother (who lives with me) wishes to have an Internet-capable computer. I figured that, with Linux, this computer would be perfect for the job.

I currently have a wireless network, and think the easiest and best way to connect her would be wirelessly. So, my question is this: which wireless (PCI) card should I buy for maximum Linux compatibility? If possible, I don't want to do all that much hacking. So, which is the best card for Linux?

Thanks in advance,

demon0
 
Old 10-23-2005, 02:15 AM   #2
maroonbaboon
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What's on the market where you are? The biggest sellers around here are probably D-Link and Netgear. They are usually a bad choice as (1) they do not support linux and (2) keep changing the hardware without providing information on the packaging.

I am thinking smaller manufacturers are a better bet as they cannot afford to change their production lines every few months to save a few $ by swithching chip manufacturers.
 
Old 10-23-2005, 02:45 AM   #3
RedShirt
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My Belkin cost 10 bucks, and works great. It is Wireless G, and linux recognizes and configures it just fine. It supports all the WEP and WPA, so I would recommend that. Though I can't recall what chipset it is right now, as I am on my Windows box and headed for bed. If you would like, I can check that out for you, just let me know. But for 10 bucks, I don't think you can beat that deal, and it is available at all Best Buy, CompUSA, Circuit City, and Micro Center Locations. And probably many more places.
 
Old 10-23-2005, 08:55 AM   #4
maroonbaboon
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Some Belkin cards use the Ralink rt2500. This has a well-supported open source driver but it is not in the standard kernel. Some distros (like SuSE 10) have included it, but in other cases you have to compile it yourself.

Not sure if there are non-Ralink Belkins around also.
 
Old 10-23-2005, 10:50 AM   #5
RedShirt
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Yes, that Ralink is exactly the chipset I have.
 
Old 10-23-2005, 11:58 AM   #6
demon0
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OK, this Belkin seems to be exactly what I want. Do you know what model you have, or do all Belkins have that chipset? There probably is not any way to tell the chipset on the box... and I guarentee the Best Buy personnel won't know wtf I'm talking about.

I was actually planning on using either SuSE or Ubuntu (this is for my grandmother, so I want it as simple as possible). Since you say SuSE supports this card right out of the box, I'll probably go with that.

As for compiling the driver myself, that shouldn't be too bad if necessary. When I said hacking I was referring to having to use drivers that don't really support the card in question, applying patches, and tweaking config files with seemingly gibberish values. (like some TV tuner cards require) Just compiling a driver that I know will work, however, is not an issue.

Would this: http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProdu...uct_Id=136479#
Be the one you have? It seems more expensive than you mentioned. I don't mind the price, but we may not be looking at the same models. If you could get me your model number, I would be very appreciative.

Thanks already for your help!
 
Old 10-23-2005, 12:40 PM   #7
RedShirt
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Well, BB and the other 3 I mentioned like to have price wars here in Denver, so you constantly get those cards on sale, a different brand each week, for really cheap. About 2 months ago is when I got it, when I looked, I looked for compatability with linux as well, and all the Belkin's had easily compatible chipsets, I think all the Gs were ralinks. There was a 25 dollar instant rebate, and 15 dollar mail-in, from the 49.99 retail left it at 10 bucks. Normally though I see it retailing for 30-40, not the full suggested price from Belkin.

Belkin F5D7000
 
Old 10-23-2005, 03:25 PM   #8
demon0
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OK, I'll take that into consideration. Thanks again for all your help, as well as maroonbaboon!
 
Old 10-23-2005, 03:58 PM   #9
poochdog
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I had to configure my Belkin Wireless Card based on the RT2500 chipset, it wasn't too difficult following the guides I found.
 
Old 10-23-2005, 07:46 PM   #10
Electro
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A wireless to wired bridge or an access point can be use. IMHO, wireless networking is the worst technology the computer era has ever developed. You are better off using wired networking because of its reliabiliity, stability, speed, lower latency, security, and ease of setup. Using 802.11g should never be use unless there is nobody around because it does make the radio frequency bandwidth very, very congested. People that are around you, it is recommended to use only 802.11b. People around me that are lazy enough to use wireless networking is making it hard to use devices like A/V transmitters/receivers and cordless phones.

Any Linux distribution works the same. SUSE is harder than other distributions to configure certain devices. I rather pick Gentoo because it is easier to install and update programs with out running into dependency problems. If you setup a wired network, you setup it up and you walk away. Your grandmother will never complain that she lost connection like with wireless networking.
 
Old 10-23-2005, 08:20 PM   #11
demon0
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Wired is not really an option here, or believe me I would do it. For my main computer (right next to my router) I have wired and love it. When my room mate is on the cordless phone it knocks my laptop off the internet, so yeah... wireless can suck.

However, I live in an old Victorian house with concrete walls... my grandmother is the floor below me. Drilling through the ceiling is not only difficult but just insane. Plus, if I ever sell this house I don't want to have to advertise "random holes in ceiling". Wireless is a LOT easier in this case, and not having to go through concrete will make up for the slower speed and everything. I'm going to try to resolve the cordless phone issue (was around even when I only had 802.11b so it must be the phone).
 
Old 10-24-2005, 12:57 AM   #12
maroonbaboon
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Cabling between floors is usually the tricky bit. With old houses there is sometimes unused chimney space that can take any number of cables. You can also go out through a wall and run conduit (rectangular stuff with clip-on cover) in an inconspicuous place on the exterior wall to another level.

Drilling through brick walls carries some risk of hitting electricity supply cables or other utilities. An alternative is to go out through a timber window frame. Easy to patch up the holes if cable gets removed later.

If you like both linux and drilling holes in walls, you will probably enjoy Neal Stephenson's essay http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning.html
 
Old 10-24-2005, 02:59 AM   #13
Electro
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There is also phonelines or powerlines you can use for networking.

Phoneline Ethernet Bridge - Linksys HPB200
Powerline Ethernet Bridge - Linksys PLEBR10, Netgear XE102, D-Link DHP-100
 
  


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