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Old 09-30-2007, 11:22 PM   #1
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Broadcom card configured for 802.11g, but not 802.11b?

Ok all,
This has been a nagging problem for me, my wifi card will allow me to connect to some networks and yet not all. I had been noticing this to be especially common at hotels and airports where the network is open for public use, and yet I would have to boot to windows to get wireless access

Specifically, I can perform a scan and see the networks (iwlist scan), but sometimes I would not be able to set the essid.

I've been using Ndiswrapper, and the Broadcom 4311 wireless card, which has a long list of problems, but people have had success with. I installed per the wiki directions, and got it working at home and some other networks so I was happy.
But as I traveled as mentioned above, it appears that I cannot connect to networks, and one fact that may be a common factor is that the networks that I cannot connect to only support the 802.11b protocol. Supposedly, the 802.11g protocol is backwards compatible
so I really didn't expect any problems even though my output from iwconfig indicates my card is g-only


wlan0 IEEE 802.11g ESSIDff/any Nickname:"localhos"
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.462 GHz Access Point: Not-Associated
Bit Rate=54 Mb/s Tx-Power:32 dBm
RTS thr=2347 B Fragment thr=2346 B
Encryption keyff
Power Managementff
Link Quality:0 Signal level:0 Noise level:0
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

The point is that most tutorials on installing ndiswrapper show the output for my card as

wlan0 IEEE 802.11b/g

I've downloaded the latest driver for my card from Dell

but that didn't change anything, still won't connect to b-only networks.

My question boils down to:
Does anyone know if there a known problem with some drivers that keep the wireless card from accessing 802.11b networks if they are not set to support g as well, and what I can do to enable b-network support?

I've also seen this thread
that relates to someone with a similar problem in reverse, said that perhaps I'm just too focused on the details...and perhaps my problem is something else.

For my system specs
using FC6

> uname -ar
Linux localhost 2.6.20-1.2962.fc6 #1 SMP Tue Jun 19 19:27:14 EDT 2007 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

> lspci (for wireless yields)

0c:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation Dell Wireless 1390 WLAN Mini-PCI Card (rev 01)

> /usr/sbin/ndiswrapper -v
utils version: 1.9
driver filename: /lib/modules/2.6.20-1.2962.fc6/extra/ndiswrapper/ndiswrapper.ko
version: 1.43
vermagic: 2.6.20-1.2962.fc6 SMP mod_unload 686 4KSTACKS

Thanks for any help.
Old 10-07-2007, 02:52 PM   #2
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I finally got home after a road trip and played with my home network. I set the router to run only b-networks, and my card did detect it and automagically changed the protocol

wlan0 IEEE 802.11b ESSID:"HomeLink"
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.452 GHz Access Point: 00:90:4C:7E:00:6E
Bit Rate=54 Mb/s Tx-Power:32 dBm
RTS thr=2347 B Fragment thr=2346 B
Encryption key:xxxx Security mode:restricted
Power Managementff
Link Quality:59/100 Signal level:-58 dBm Noise level:-96 dBm
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

So that wasn't my problem, but I'm left wondering why the computer will connect to some networks and not others, especially when I can see them with
> iwlist scan wlan0

and the same machine will boot into windows and connect to the wireless network without problems...
Old 10-07-2007, 04:27 PM   #3
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This may be complete horse manure, but is it possible that your card isn't throttling down to 11b speeds? If it is continually trying to connect to an 11b router at 54Mb/s, that isn't going to work. Next time you run into an 11b network that gives you trouble, try manually setting the speed to 11Mb/s (iwconfig wlan0 rate 11M) and see if that allows you to connect.


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