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Old 01-31-2010, 07:23 PM   #1
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Problems setting RTL8187 to master mode

When I try to set my Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8187 Wireless Adapter to master mode I get the following error:

$ sudo iwconfig wlan0 mode master
Error for wireless request "Set Mode" (8B06) :
SET failed on device wlan0 ; Invalid argument.
Am I doing something wrong, or is my hardware incapable of handling master mode?
Old 02-03-2010, 07:25 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by lives4him06 View Post
Am I doing something wrong, or is my hardware incapable of handling master mode?
There are a few things we need to look at before we can write this off.

What driver are you using for this card? Is it the one that came with your distro or did you use ndiswrapper? I ran across a thread here:

That discusses a similar circumstance to yours. The OP was using ndiswrapper, which of course involves using a Windows driver. Someone (hopefully knowledgeable) explained that Windows drivers are not master mode capable. I do not know that to be a fact, however.

After a bit of searching, here is the answer on that:

That positively eliminates ndiswrapper for master mode.

If you're using the RTL8187 module that came with your kernel, it might be possible.

Is your wifi card a usb dongle? If so, that might also preclude it from being used in master mode. As I understand it, few usb wifi dongles can be used in master mode. I did manage to set up a Linksys usb dongle (Ralink rt73 chipset) in master mode on a Vyatta router I was using. I did a bit of testing with my HTC Magic/Android phone, and could get a dhcp lease out of it, exchange some traffic, then the router would arp for the phone's MAC and the phone never answered. It might have been something strange with the phone, although that is the only issue I have had with it. Never bothered to try with a standard computer.

I downloaded the source code for the RTL8187L from Realtek, found here.

In the ReadMe file for that driver, they indicate this particular driver won't work in any other than client mode.

- Support Client mode for either infrastructure or adhoc mode

I read some comments in the source for the module included with the 2.6.29 kernel on my Slackware system, which mentioned the rtl8187 module is based on the r8187 module, which is the module found on Realtek's web site.

A quick grep through the source in the kernel doesn't indicate to me that master mode is possible with the rtl8187.

And after a bit more digging, here is some info that probably provides the final nail in the coffin:

In sections 4.16 & 4.17, the Realtek drivers are detailed, and master mode isn't listed for any of them. The date on that list is from July '07, so something in the meantime could have changed, but I haven't found anything indicating that to be the case, however.

For master mode, you should probably find another card.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:49 AM   #3
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It appears that you cannot set RTL8187 to master mode as of this kernel.


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