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Old 11-09-2002, 06:26 AM   #1
Registered: Jul 2002
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Distribution: Kubuntu, Fedora
Posts: 45

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Question 3Com wireless NIC on-again, off-again

I have read numerous threads about 3Com wireless cards here, but none seems to be about the problem I'm having. My 3CRWE737A AirConnect PCMCIA card works -- for a while, then I get the slow blink and the problems begin.

When this happens, I usually do the following, which, through frustrating exercises in trial and error, I have found to work -- most of the time:

/sbin/service pcmcia stop
/sbin/service network restart
/sbin/service pcmcia start

Like I said, this only works most of the time. When it doesn't, I repeat the process, with the addition of an eject-and-reinsert-the-card between the first and seconds steps above. But this also fails sometimes. The errors I get (in all cases where things don't work) are usually along the lines of, "ds: Device or resource busy".

Does anyone know if there is some way of stopping this erratic behavior? Could it be caused by some kind of configuration error? (I haven't really touched anything, just created a network connection with the Red Hat Network Configuration tool.)

There doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the card, since it works without a hitch when I boot the machine into Windoze 98. The machine is a Dell Inspiron 5000e, by the way, and I'm using Red Hat 7.3.

Old 11-13-2002, 02:24 AM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Aug 2001
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 5,700

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What modules are you using for this kid? If I remember right, its a symbol card? I never got it to work right under orinoco, it behaved flaky, but I can't remember what flavor of flaky, that was a long time ago. I got it to hum right along under the drivers...


Old 11-13-2002, 11:05 PM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2002
Location: Toronto
Distribution: RHEL WS 3
Posts: 15

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I have the same card in my thinkpad T21 and if you promise not to laugh I will tell you what I have to do to get it working;

iwconfig eth1 rate auto
dhclient eth1 (I am using rh 8.0)

The card will work for days following this if I execute this while the temperature of the card is cool, but if I am switching over from windows and it is warm it will never work until I remove the card, blow on it to cool it down then reinsert it, then it will work for days.

The other issue I have with this card is that we use 128 bit WEP at work and when using only windows I can set up the same conditions on my home access point and it works OK but under linux the driver reports only 40-bit WEP (see below).

Our linux guru at work gave up on this card totally but I was able to get it working through Finegans advice in this forum so I have been able to rub his nose in it for a while but it would be nice to polish up the install a bit to really tick him off.

Any Ideas?

Yenta IRQ list 06b8, PCI irq11
Socket status: 30000006
Yenta IRQ list 06b8, PCI irq11
Socket status: 30000010
cs: IO port probe 0x0c00-0x0cff: clean.
cs: IO port probe 0x0100-0x04ff: excluding 0x3b8-0x3df 0x4d0-0x4d7
cs: IO port probe 0x0a00-0x0aff: clean.
cs: memory probe 0xa0000000-0xa0ffffff: clean.
hermes.c: 5 Apr 2002 David Gibson <>
orinoco.c 0.11b (David Gibson <> and others)
orinoco_cs.c 0.11b (David Gibson <> and others)
divert: allocating divert_blk for eth1
eth1: Station identity 001f:0002:0001:0001
eth1: Looks like a Symbol firmware version [V1.50-12] (parsing to 15012)
eth1: Ad-hoc demo mode supported
eth1: WEP supported, 40-bit key
eth1: MAC address 00:50A:01C:FB
eth1: Station name "Prism I"
eth1: ready
eth1: index 0x01: Vcc 5.0, irq 3, io 0x0100-0x0147
hermes @ IO 0x100: Frame allocation command failed (0xFFFFFFFB).
PCI: Found IRQ 11 for device 00:05.0
PCI: Sharing IRQ 11 with 00:02.0
PCI: Sharing IRQ 11 with 01:00.0
Crystal 4280/46xx + AC97 Audio, version 1.28.32, 13:59:01 Oct 8 2002
cs46xx: Card found at 0xe8100000 and 0xe8000000, IRQ 11
cs46xx: Thinkpad 600X/A20/T20 (1014:0153) at 0xe8100000/0xe8000000, IRQ 11
ac97_codec: AC97 Audio codec, id: 0x4352:0x5914 (Cirrus Logic CS4297A rev B)
Attached scsi CD-ROM sr0 at scsi0, channel 0, id 0, lun 0
sr0: scsi3-mmc drive: 24x/24x writer cd/rw xa/form2 cdda tray
Uniform CD-ROM driver Revision: 3.12


Module Size Used by Not tainted
sr_mod 18168 0 (autoclean)
cs46xx 62960 0 (autoclean)
ac97_codec 13416 0 (autoclean) [cs46xx]
soundcore 6532 3 (autoclean) [cs46xx]
autofs 13348 0 (autoclean) (unused)
orinoco_cs 5896 1
orinoco 36504 0 [orinoco_cs]
hermes 8196 0 [orinoco_cs orinoco]
ds 8712 2 [orinoco_cs]
yenta_socket 12960 2
pcmcia_core 54784 0 [orinoco_cs ds yenta_socket]
3c59x 30640 0
ipt_REJECT 3736 6 (autoclean)
iptable_filter 2412 1 (autoclean)
ip_tables 14936 2 [ipt_REJECT iptable_filter]
ide-scsi 10512 0
scsi_mod 107240 2 [sr_mod ide-scsi]
ide-cd 33608 0
cdrom 33696 0 [sr_mod ide-cd]
ntfs 58944 1 (autoclean)
nls_iso8859-1 3516 2 (autoclean)
nls_cp437 5148 1 (autoclean)
vfat 13084 1 (autoclean)
fat 38712 0 (autoclean) [vfat]
mousedev 5524 1
keybdev 2976 0 (unused)
hid 22244 0 (unused)
input 5920 0 [mousedev keybdev hid]
usb-uhci 26188 0 (unused)
usbcore 77024 1 [hid usb-uhci]
ext3 70368 1
jbd 52212 1 [ext3]

iwconfig eth1

eth1 IEEE 802.11-DS ESSID:"yadayadayada" Nickname:"localhost.localdomain"
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.437GHz Access Point: 00:01:24:F2:10:32
Bit Rate:11Mb/s Tx-Power=15 dBm Sensitivity:1/3
Retry limit:16 RTS thrff Fragment thr=0 B
Power Managementff
Link Quality:30/92 Signal level:138/153 Noise level:107/153
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

Thanks a bunch

Old 11-14-2002, 05:43 PM   #4
Registered: Feb 2001
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Distribution: Redhat v8.0 (soon to be Fedora? or maybe I will just go back to Slackware)
Posts: 857

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nfisk: Yours sounds like a driver/module issue to me. Or perhaps your wireless parameters are incorrect? Collect all the info you possibly can under Windows and post it here... card model, drivers being used in Linux, wireless parameters, etc etc.

ptaylor: Have you had any other problems with PCMCIA cards in Linux? Any temperature issues in Windows like those you see in Linux? Do you have your kernel reconfigured for laptop power management? How about the Windows wireless parameters? Are they similar to what you show in "iwconfig"?
Old 11-14-2002, 06:31 PM   #5
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Registered: Sep 2002
Location: Toronto
Distribution: RHEL WS 3
Posts: 15

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The T21 laptop has 2 pc slots but the card only works in the lower of the two, whatever that means. The wireless card is the only PCMCIA device I have tried in this machine. The card is as warm when using windows but even when it is hot it works well under windows. I do not know how to get the wireless parameters while under windows, I'll find out how and post the info here. I am also going to borrow another AirConnect card and see if the problem is specific to this one.

Thanks for the help.

Old 11-14-2002, 06:39 PM   #6
Registered: Feb 2001
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Distribution: Redhat v8.0 (soon to be Fedora? or maybe I will just go back to Slackware)
Posts: 857

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Maybe the temp has nothing to do with it, but its being left in a "state" by windows when you boot into Linux?

Try rebooting Linux while its hot and running your two commands and see if you get the same result. If it works, then its probably not a temp thing. I bet its not if it works fine in Windows. I am not a hardware guru, but I have seen several instances where devices get really confused when booting from Windows to Linux and vice-versa. I don't know what causes it. I have found that usually instead of rebooting the system, you can shut it down and boot back up into the other OS and the problem doesn't occur.

Does this card only work in the one PCMCIA slot in windows as well?


P.S. you can usually get the Windows Wireless parameters in the properties of the card/device. Or perhaps if you have some sort of wireless client for windows that came with the card software?

Last edited by KevinJ; 11-14-2002 at 06:40 PM.
Old 11-19-2002, 09:34 PM   #7
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Registered: Sep 2002
Location: Toronto
Distribution: RHEL WS 3
Posts: 15

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Sorry for the late reply. I think I found the problem. When I swapped out the card with another 3Com AirConnect the problem dissappeared. It does not heat up now and it works in ether PCMCIA slot, so I guess the card is toast and I'll have to fork out for a new one. Do you have any suggestions on the best card to buy, my access point is a SMC and I have a Thinkpad T21. I also have a Mac Powerbook (no airport card - Bronze model) running OS X that I would like to use with my wireless setup. Is there one card which I could use for both systems?

Old 11-19-2002, 10:08 PM   #8
Registered: Feb 2001
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Distribution: Redhat v8.0 (soon to be Fedora? or maybe I will just go back to Slackware)
Posts: 857

Rep: Reputation: 30
I dunno about the OS X side of things... but I would suggest saving your pennies and buying one for each system. You'll eventually want it that way, I am sure.

This is a good wireless linux page:

Personally, I use a card and airstation from these guys:

It was the cheapest thing I could find on when I bought it, and it works in Redhat fine. The only problem I have had with it is that my 2.4Ghz cordless phone will knock out my wireless connection temporarily. They both are on on the same frequency.



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