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Old 12-10-2004, 05:47 PM   #1
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 88

Rep: Reputation: 15
Unable to configure wireless NIC with iwconfig

Hello there

Fedora core 3 - kernel
Netgear WG111 wireless USB adapter
Using 'Ndiswrapper' from sourceforge

I've read numerous threads about not being able to set ESSID on wireless NICs, and am having the same problem, but only intermittently.

After I first boot up, the wireless NIC is working fine and I can set the ESSID and the little blue light on the NIC is lit up. However, after a period of being in server (30 mins?) it will decide it's had enough and the light will go out, as will my network connection.

When it doesn't work, I get:
wlan0     IEEE 802.11b  ESSID:off/any  Nickname:"fedora.home" 
Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.462GHz  Access Point: 00:00:00:00:00:00 
Bit Rate=2Mb/s   Tx-Power:32 dBm 
RTS thr=2346 B   Fragment thr=2346 B 
Encryption key:off 
Power Management:off 
Link Quality:53/100  Signal level:-61 dBm  Noise level:-256 dBm 
Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0 
Tx excessive retries:3189  Invalid misc:22972   Missed beacon:0
When it is in this state, all attempts to set ESSID fail with no error - it just returns to a prompt as if it was successful. Also when it is in this state, iwlist correctly returns the information I expect (with the ESSID):
Cell 01 - Address: 00:0F:B5:15:CB:CE
Protocol:IEEE 802.11g
Frequency:2.462GHz (Channel 11)
Quality:0/100  Signal level:-67 dBm  Noise level:-256 dBm
Encryption key:off
Bit Rate:1Mb/s
Bit Rate:2Mb/s
Bit Rate:5.5Mb/s
Bit Rate:11Mb/s
Bit Rate:6Mb/s
Bit Rate:9Mb/s
Bit Rate:12Mb/s
Bit Rate:18Mb/s
Bit Rate:24Mb/s
Bit Rate:36Mb/s
Bit Rate:48Mb/s
Bit Rate:54Mb/s
But if you look at the access point address in the above example, it reads 00:0F:B5:15:CB:CE, but in actual fact my router has an address of 00:0F:B5:15:CB:CF

The only way I can recover from the 'can't set ESSID' situation, is to restart the computer. Even when it's working, it displays the wrong access point address I describe, and as we speak - I was trying to set it to the right one, and now the light on the NIC has gone out again and I receive the following error:
[root@fedora ~]# iwconfig wlan0 ap 00:0F:B5:15:CB:CF
Error for wireless request "Set AP Address" (8B14) :
    SET failed on device wlan0 ; Invalid argument.
I hope somebody can help me here.

Thank you,
Steve :)
Old 12-10-2004, 05:56 PM   #2
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: UK/West Yorkshire/Huddersfield
Distribution: Fedora 7
Posts: 982

Rep: Reputation: 30
Hi Steve,

If you look at the first output it is all consistent with a very poor link quality. The bit rate is set to 2Mb which is very low. Your router would appear to be 11g whereas your card is 11b? My own router has an option to work in 11b environments with better effectiveness. I'd be inclined to check that out first. You could also try running the WLAN on different channels as these use different frequencies and any interference might be diminished. Try 1, 6 and 11 for starters. How far are you away from your AP?

Dont worry about setting MAC addresses using iwconfig either. This is unlikely to help and will probably just confuse matters.

Last edited by snecklifter; 12-10-2004 at 06:00 PM.


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