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Old 07-30-2005, 10:07 AM   #1
programx
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Registered: Jul 2005
Location: Isle of Man
Posts: 12

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Netgear WiFi FA311 in SuSE 9.3 non-functional


Hi,

I have remained loyal to SuSE since v6, and am now on 9.3. In my recent upgrade I was pretty confident that I would finally get support for my NETGEAR FA311 wireless card. The card is badged FA311v3, and the pspci output is:

Code:
0000:01:04.0 Network controller: Texas Instruments ACX 111 54Mbps Wireless Interface
Which is exactly what I expected.

I know SuSE aren't allowed to distribute the firmware for the card, so I have downloaded it from the on-line update service. Trouble is, I don't know where to go next.

Kernal:
Code:
2.6.11.4-21.7-smp
I have browsed dmesg, which is far too much to paste into here. It says that it uploaded the firmware and attemps to authenticate. I have provided access to this output at thmy web page. Unfortunately, spamming restrictions means I can't post tje link. So, either PM me for it or use the following simple formula:

www_<myusername>_co_uk(slash)for_external(slash)dmesg30072005.txt


However, on booting I get: (from /var/log.boot.msg)

Code:
doneSetting up network interfaces:
    lo
    lo        IP address: 127.0.0.1/8
done    eth0      device: Broadcom Corporation BCM4401 100Base-T (rev 01)
    eth0      configuration: eth-id-00:0f:1f:50:53:7a
    eth0      (DHCP) . <notice>pidofproc: dhcpcd 5705<notice>pidofproc: dhcpcd  5603
<notice>checkproc: /sbin/dhcpcd 5705<notice>checkproc: /sbin/dhcpcd  5603
<notice>pidofproc: dhcpcd 5705<notice>pidofproc: dhcpcd  5603
. . . . no IP address yet... backgrounding.
waiting
    wlan0     device: Texas Instruments ACX 111 54Mbps Wireless Interface
    wlan0     configuration: wlan-bus-pci-0000:01:04.0
<notice>checkproc: /sbin/dhcpcd 6059<notice>checkproc: /sbin/dhcpcd  5705<notice>checkproc: /sbin/dhcpcd  5603
    wlan0     DHCP already running
waiting
    eth0      device: Broadcom Corporation BCM4401 100Base-T (rev 01)
    eth0      configuration: eth-id-00:0f:1f:50:53:7a
    eth0      DHCP client (dhcpcd) is running
    eth0      IP address: 192.168.1.14/24
doneWaiting for mandatory devices:  wlan-bus-pci-0000:01:04.0
4 3 1 0
    wlan0                               interface could not be set up
failedSetting up service network  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .failed
Now this is annoying because I read elsewhere that the FA311 has been working on Linux for a while, and I chose NETGEAR as it is a widespread brand.

Any help greatly appreciated!
 
Old 07-31-2005, 09:32 AM   #2
maroonbaboon
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Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Sydney
Distribution: debian
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According to google the FA311 is a straight ethernet card, not wifi at all But whatever you have it has the dreaded TI acx111 chip. Here is the same thing on my lspci

0000:01:0a.0 Network controller: Texas Instruments ACX 111 54Mbps Wireless Interface

There is an open-source, reverse-engineered driver for this at

http://acx100.sourceforge.net/

which you might want to try, but even the developers advise against buying the TI devices due to their lack of suuport for linux. This driver mostly works for me, but is not 100% reliable. Others report success with the windows driver + wrappers like ndiswrapper or the commercial linuxant driver wrapper.
 
Old 07-31-2005, 11:18 AM   #3
programx
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Registered: Jul 2005
Location: Isle of Man
Posts: 12

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Hmmm, I'm sure I bought a FA311 - obviously I am wrong! Shame I output all that technical info and couldn't get the basic model number right. Without taking my machine apart, I would have no idea what the card is then.

However, it is now working - to a point. I don't know what I did, but it now works - without encryption. However:

1/ The connection is up and down, and is really unreliable. The access point is in the next room. However, my laptop (running a 3Com card on Windows) works flawlessly with wireless. The signal strength indicator provided by GNOME indicates 80% consistently.

2/ Encryption is a Must, but when I put the key in to the Yast Network tool, and then go back in - it wipes all my settings!!!! This is extremely frustrating! Linux is a fantastic concept, and I love using it, but if it can't even remember my settings then its simply not good enough. Surely this cannot be due to the driver?

I wouldn't mind buying one I know will work - I am very much a person who likes things to "just work", and can't afford the time to tinker - though I like to on occasion. But if it can't even remember simple text strings, what confidence can I have that it won't "forget" the encryption keys for another card?
 
Old 07-31-2005, 05:04 PM   #4
maroonbaboon
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Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Sydney
Distribution: debian
Posts: 1,495

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Any idea what driver SuSE is using? Output of lsmod should show something. acx_pci? ndiswrapper?

Before you give up on the card you could try the latest acx111 driver (see link above). There is a new version every few weeks so anything from SuSE would have to be several releases behind. There is also a very detailed HOWTO at

http://www.houseofcraig.net/acx100_howto.php

and a support forum at the acx100 Sourceforge site.

I looked around for a while for alternatives, but couldn't find any Prism based cards here - seems to have best built-in support. Eventually got one with Ralink rt2500, which works perfectly with full WPA encryption. See

http://rt2x00.serialmonkey.com/wiki/index.php/Hardware

for vendors, drivers and discussion.
 
  


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