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Old 01-31-2006, 05:25 PM   #1
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suse 9.3 wireless card setup.. clueless

I recently installed Suse 9.3 and don't know how to get my wireless card to work.

It's a linksys (WMP54GS - Wireless-G PCI Adapter with Speedbooster).

Suse detects my non-wireless linksys card but doesn't detect the wireless one. I'm extremely new to linux haven't a clue what to do. How can I get it to detect my card? Do I need to download some driver somewhere, or is there something built into Linux. I tried just configuring a wireless connection and putting in my ssid, passkey, etc... which didn't work.

Where can I start. Thanks for any help.
Old 01-31-2006, 07:02 PM   #2
Registered: Aug 2004
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Here to get an idea of how to with suse, here to get the right driver for your card and here for complete guide.
Old 01-31-2006, 07:11 PM   #3
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1) Download the ndiswrapper source from The ndiswrapper command that comes with SuSE 9.3 may not be recent enough.

2) Uninstall the old (from the rpm) ndiswrapper if it is installed.

3) compile and install the new ndiswrapper program. There is a README and INSTALL file in the tarball. You can either use the "./configure" "make" "sudo make install" route, or extract the file "ndiswrapper.spec" and copy it to the /usr/src/packages/SPECS/ directory, and copy the source tar ball to the /usr/src/packages/SOURCE/ directory; and then use the "rpmbuild" command to install "ndiswrapper" and the "ndiswrapper.ko" kernel module.

Inside the /usr/src/packages/SPECS directory, running

rpmbuild -bi ndiswrapper
will install ndiswrapper and the kernel module

rpmbuild -ba ndiswrapper
will create a pair of rpm files. ( in /usr/src/packages/RPMS/ ).
If you do a security upgrade and have a new version of the kernel, you will need to run "rpmbuild -ba ndiswrapper" again and the install the kernel-module rpm.
3) If it isn't installed, install the wireless-tools package. You will net it later.

4) Locate the windows drivers on your install CD or on the web. I think that the driver is named BCMWL5.SYS. You will need both that file and the one with the .INF extension. Copying these files to the root directory may be a good idea in case the CD gets lost or damaged in the future.
Wrap ndiswrapper around the driver with the command:
ndiswrapper -i BCMWL5.INF ( Note: I'm not certain on the exact name of the driver, please check it yourself) Check that this worked with the "ndiswrapper -l" command and see if the driver is listed.

5) ndiswrapper -m
( This will generate the modprobe.conf alias for you. If you type ndiswrapper --help, there is an option for generating hotplug information. If this is a PCMCIA wireless care, I think that would be a good idea. )

6) modprobe ndiswrapper
This loads in the kernel module. I you get a message about an illegal or invalid operation the type in: depmod ; modprobe ndiswrapper

7) Now you should be ready to go into "YaST2 network" to set up the card. Go to the "Network Interfaces" section. If the wireless device isn't listed in the top, Click on the "Add" button. Select "Wireless" in the drop down box, and enter the module name: "ndiswrapper". The default "static-1" name entry is OK. This is the name that YaST gives to the hardware, not to the interface.

8) Go through the three Buttons on the bottom of the page, Make sure the host name is entered. I use the same name for my local domain as the ESSID. One less thing to have to remember. If you are using DHCP, click on the box to have dhcp update the information. Then in the advanced options, select the advanced DHCP options, and click on the "report name to DHCP" box also, I think that this may be needed for authentication and browsing shared folders, down the road. After this part is over, you will get to the authentication section. You may want to keep open, until you can test whether eth0 is working.

9) Finish the network interface dialog.

10) a)In the shell, shutdown the NIC interface. You can't have
two interfaces on the same subnet. The wlan0 device won't work until you do this.
Either, "ifdown eth0" or "rcnetwork stop eth0" will do the trick.
b) Let's restart the wlan0 device: "ifup wlan0" or "rcnetwork restart wlan0"

11.) Use the "iwlist wlan0" command to look at the status of the wireless interface. You could even make changes here like setting the "essid" and channel. The "iwlist wlan0 scanning" will scan for wireless networks. If the device seems to be working you can go back into YaST2 and configure the authentication/encryption to match that of the wireless router ap. Use "ifconfig wlan0" to see if the interface has an IP address. If not, and the router is using open authentication, enter "ifconfig wlan0 netmask", (assuming the router is at and the first DHCP assigned address is .100) and see if you can ping the router.

Things that had tripped me up:
1) Use a recent version of ndiswrapper
2) I have an AMD64 laptop, with a builtin wireless device (Broadcom). I finally found a 64 bit windows driver on the website. ( Select windows drivers in the sidebar, it's on the top of the list. )

3) When I configured the "Advanced" DHCP settings, I was finally able to communicate with the router.
4) I think that the YaST2 Authentication Setup page expects hexidecimal numbers to be upper case. It doesn't take a number like '123a' as hex. Use the letters 'ABCDEF" instead.
5) May need to run "depmod" or reboot, if you just installed the "ndiswrapper" program.

I hope this helps, and that I didn't skip any important steps. You may need to be sure that the hotplug system works with PCMCIA.

Good Luck!

Here is a fun way to generate a 64 byte random hexidecimal number:
dd bs=1 count=64 if=/dev/random | od -tx1 | sed -e 's/^.\{7\} //' -e 's/ //g' | tr -d '\
' | tr '[[:lower:]]' '[[:upper:]]' > 64bytehexkey

I cut and pasted my key into the router's setup page and when editing the /etc/sysconfig/network/ifcfg-wlan0 file.

Last edited by jschiwal; 01-31-2006 at 10:13 PM. Reason: cfg-wlan0 -> ifcfg-wlan0 correction.
Old 01-31-2006, 09:11 PM   #4
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thanks a ton for all the information... :-)
Old 02-01-2006, 06:32 AM   #5
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Just one point to add. My broadcom driver that I used for Suse had three .inf files. Something like BCMWL5.inf, BCMWL5a.inf and BCMWL5m.inf. I couldn't work out what the dfference was supposed to be but only one worked - I had to try them one by one to find the right one.

Otherwise thats a wicked how-to.


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