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Old 05-27-2006, 03:02 PM   #1
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Installing SMC wireless PCI card on Ubuntu

I am a newbie to Linux. I have Ubuntu v5.1. I have an SMC wireless PCI card that I installed in the computer. In the network settings, it shows the card is installed and activated. In the device manager it shows the card as unknown. I checked the cd that came with the card and it does not have a driver for Linux. I have checked the SMC website and it does not have a driver for Linux. When I researched the card, the reviews showed several people who had this same card that worked great with Ubuntu. That is the reason I bought it. Can someone help me find a driver or how I am supposed to make sure it is installed properly?

I am trying to get my wireless network setup at home. I also have a laptop with WXP on it and can't get it to connect to the Linksys router. Linksys has told me to try to get the Linux machine connected first so they can determine if it is the router or my laptop that is running WXP.

Thanks to anyone who can help me with this.
Old 05-27-2006, 06:40 PM   #2
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Use the "lspci -v" command to determine the chipset that the card uses. Then look in the HCL list here and google for the model name and chipset on You need to find out which driver you need to use. Some cards use different chipsets for different models of cards. Sometimes a different chipset is used for different revisions of the same model.

Also look in the SMC website and see if they have a linux driver download, or instructions.
Also install wireless-tools and wpa_supplicant. If you have something like kernel-syms or kernel-symbols you can install for your current kernel, install that also. This might allow you to install the wireless driver (kernel module) without having to make a new kernel.

About getting wireless working in Windows, you may have a problem where the cards driver handles the wireless authentication and so the windows tools don't see any wireless networks. Do you have an SMC desktop applet on your toolbar? First connect to the router using your NIC and get the wpa-psk key in the web interface. Copy the key and save it in a text file so that you can access it later. If there is a desktop applet, you can paste the key to the dialog box that requests it. I had the same situation on my laptop. I needed to enter the key in the broadcom applet instead.

Last edited by jschiwal; 05-27-2006 at 06:43 PM.
Old 05-27-2006, 11:00 PM   #3
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Thank you for this information, but as I said, I am a newbie to Linux. Not sure how to install wireless-tools and wpa_supplicant. I already checked SMC website and didn't find a driver for linux. The review that I got for this card said that "works out of the box with Ubuntu 5.10 using the ath_pci and ath_hal modules." I found these files on my linux machine but don't know what to do with them. Is there something in the terminal that I need to do to adjust these files? Or is there some place in the GUI interface in Ubuntu that I can work with these files?

Thanks again for your patience and time.


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