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Old 11-05-2015, 11:28 PM   #1
ablang
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Wireless adapters that say "Linux Compatible"


Hey guys,

So on most old laptops that I play with, I can install some version of Linux from a LIVE CD and get ethernet to work out of the box to get on the internet.

Now for some reason, most Linux OS don't make wifi work out of the box. Only distro that has worked best for me w/ wifi (w/o having to configure wifi) is LXLE.

So I'm thinking it might be easier to buy a wireless adapter to make wifi work (bypassing the laptop's internal wifi).

So if I buy a product like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...9SIA4641EU6353 will wifi then work out of the box, or does "Linux Compatible" mean something else?
 
Old 11-06-2015, 03:07 PM   #2
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ablang View Post
Now for some reason, most Linux OS don't make wifi work out of the box.
this is a biased way of expressing the situation.
in most cases it has to do with proprietary drivers and/or drivers requiring firmware (you have to look up what that means in connection with linux).
since linux, and most gnu/linux distros, strive to be FOSS, and maybe for legal reasons, they cannot include these non-free drivers or firmwares.
tbh, i don't myself quite understand how some distros can do it anyway.

Quote:
So if I buy a product like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...9SIA4641EU6353 will wifi then work out of the box, or does "Linux Compatible" mean something else?
it's actually good that you ask.
all it means is that linux drivers are available.
but, if they're not FOSS, you're back at my previous comment, and the effort could be equal to getting your current wifi adapter to work.

( FOSS = Free and Open Source Software )
 
Old 11-06-2015, 03:23 PM   #3
NGIB
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Sadly, I've not seen the chipset displayed in the specs for these devices and that is what you need to know. Sometimes, in the comments or reviews, a buyer will mention them. Look for the device on Amazon as it usually has a good amount of reviews.

Took me 10 seconds to find this. It uses a Realtek chip which is good but it also runs hot according to comments.

http://www.amazon.com/BlueProton-Hig.../dp/B001GQLLSW

As far as the internal WiFi, I'd bet it's Broadcom based which can be difficult in Linux. The distro MX-14 makes great effort to get Broadcom to work OOTB...

Last edited by NGIB; 11-06-2015 at 03:27 PM.
 
Old 11-06-2015, 03:27 PM   #4
Emerson
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What is the internal WiFi?
 
Old 11-06-2015, 03:30 PM   #5
NGIB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerson View Post
What is the internal WiFi?
OP was talking about the internal (built in, stock, standard equipment) WiFi in the old laptops - at least that's what I read...
 
Old 11-06-2015, 03:34 PM   #6
Emerson
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Let me re-phrase. What is the internal WiFi chipset?
 
Old 11-06-2015, 04:33 PM   #7
jefro
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Yes, some laptops will make you do one of a few things.

One is the driver is really there. Might even be picking the wrong driver.

Two is the driver isn't there and you have to add it by some number of means.

One is to get driver into kernel, two is to add driver outside kernel. Three is to use a windows driver with ndiswrapper.

Just the way it is.
 
Old 11-06-2015, 05:07 PM   #8
ardvark71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ablang View Post
So I'm thinking it might be easier to buy a wireless adapter to make wifi work (bypassing the laptop's internal wifi).

So if I buy a product like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...9SIA4641EU6353 will wifi then work out of the box, or does "Linux Compatible" mean something else?
Hi...

Welcome to the forum

Just my opinion but it's always preferable (for myself) to see if the internal adapter can be made to work first before using a USB or PCMCIA adapter.

If a USB adapter is necessary, as a suggestion, I've had very few problems with the adapter here.

Regards...
 
Old 11-06-2015, 05:12 PM   #9
jamison20000e
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Adafruit sells some thumb drives for the Pi but you may still need device drivers here and there? Nice to have if running a Live-Linux on different PCs, sucks when internal and external won't play.

Is ndiswrapper still around? Then there's "non-free" firmware...

Last edited by jamison20000e; 11-06-2015 at 05:14 PM.
 
Old 11-07-2015, 01:38 AM   #10
jamison20000e
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Cool

Just found this link after trowing in my (well worth) $10 a month to the FSF... https://www.fsf.org/resources/hw
 
Old 11-07-2015, 01:40 AM   #11
ondoho
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@jefro, didn't you forget the special case of drivers requiring firmware?
 
Old 11-07-2015, 07:40 AM   #12
273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardvark71 View Post
Hi...

Welcome to the forum

Just my opinion but it's always preferable (for myself) to see if the internal adapter can be made to work first before using a USB or PCMCIA adapter.

If a USB adapter is necessary, as a suggestion, I've had very few problems with the adapter here.

Regards...
I would agree that it's worth trying to get the internal adaptor to work first -- saves the USB port and is harder to catch on things.
Linux Mint may be [one of?] the most likely to work out of the box as it includes non-free firmware and drivers in its default install (due to Irish/EU copyright loopholes) but other distributions can be made to work with wireless adaptors also usually requiring the enabling of non-free software repositories. The installation of wireless drivers and firmware is greatly helped by having a wired connection.
In my experience there are chipsets which are very complicated to get working under Linux, and to my mind if it needs ndiswrapper it's not worth the hassle*, but I would always confirm that I had one of those before buying another wireless adaptor.

Edit: If you do by one I would say jamison20000e is spot-on with the recommendation of Adafruit.

*I've used it, it worked, but the card kept dropping out and other such issues.

Last edited by 273; 11-07-2015 at 07:42 AM.
 
Old 11-07-2015, 07:45 AM   #13
jamison20000e
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I over used the one I got but it was cheep and well tested.

Add: Thinkpenguin looks cool too tho... https://www.thinkpenguin.com/catalog...rking-gnulinux

Last edited by jamison20000e; 11-07-2015 at 08:04 AM.
 
Old 11-07-2015, 10:49 AM   #14
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
it includes non-free firmware and drivers in its default install (due to Irish/EU copyright loopholes)
interesting bit of info. i always wondered why some can and others can't.
 
Old 11-07-2015, 11:16 AM   #15
jamison20000e
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Debian is it's base and can include the non-free bits as well: http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unofficial/non-free/
 
  


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