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Old 09-08-2020, 09:39 AM   #1
burning
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How to connect and use wireless adapters on slackware?


A friend recently recommended me a Wifi adapter as I need a stronger signal in my dorm room. I haven't had much experience with wireless adapters before but I ended up getting was the Alfa Network long range adapter. Model: AWUS036NHA

It comes with a handy install and users guide on a dvd. The only problem is that the install guide is for Windows XP. As I'm using Slackware, the details of installing this beast seem to be a bit different.

Firstly; it says that due to it using the Atheros AR9271 chipset, it's natively compatible with most distributions of Linux. But from what I could find, I don't think Slackware is among them. Of course if I'm wrong, please feel free to correct me. The included DVD has a directory for Linux drivers, but the closest match I could find in there was for AWUS036NH, not AWUS036NHA which is the one I'd need if it's not natively supported. (for reference, the DVD included drivers for a bunch of other products. I think the DVD is just a standard DVD given for most of their products).
So I'm assuming I need to get the drivers off their main website but I can't seem to find where they'd distribute the drivers. I've tried their downloads page but it doesn't seem to offer linux drivers: https://files.alfa.com.tw/?dir=%5B1%...ter/AWUS036NHA

Secondly; in mounting the DVD to /media/dvd and taking a look inside, it lists an ALFAINSTALL.exe file. Is this installer only for Windows devices? I can't make it an executable and run it as the DVD is write protected and doing ./ALFAINSTALL.exe gives a "permission denied" message so I'd assume it is.

And thirdly; Once I have the drivers installed, how do I actually go about using the device? At the moment, plugging it into my USB ports and running lsblk or mount, I don't think I see any new devices.
 
Old 09-08-2020, 10:08 AM   #2
ul7
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https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...er-4175430121/

There is an old thread about the same chipset. I don't know enough about Slackware atm to really get deep into this, sorry in advance. This may help you in getting some more ideas to fetch answers for. I'll keep looking into it for you. Keep checking back for more experienced opinions about this, if any.
 
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Old 09-08-2020, 10:13 AM   #3
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All hardware in Linux is supported through the kernel, not the distro. Some hardware also requires a firmware blob and wifi hardware very often is in that category. So you will certainly get your Alfa working in any distro by loading the kernel module (Realtek RTL8187) via "modprobe" but you'll need to search out if and what firmware your exact revision requires.

You will hopefully find the following link helpful but you may not like what it reveals about Alfa products. They are strong on sales hype but quite weak in performance. Pay special attention to the paragraph on Tx.

It's here >>>>> https://befinitiv.wordpress.com/2015...-and-firmware/

Oh! and no, you will get no love from .exe files in any distro with the exception of WINE apps which have no effect on Linux Drivers. There are a few wrappers usable for some hardware but that's by no means ideal... last resort only and not needed by yours.

Last edited by enorbet; 09-08-2020 at 10:16 AM.
 
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Old 09-08-2020, 10:15 AM   #4
ul7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet View Post
All hardware in Linux is supported through the kernel, not the distro. Some hardware also requires a firmware blob and wifi hardware very often is in that category. So you will certainly get your Alfa working in any distro by loading the kernel module (Realtek RTL8187) via "modprobe" but you'll need to search out if and what firmware your exact revision requires.

You will hopefully find the following link helpful but you may not like what it reveals about Alfa products. They are strong on sales hype but quite weak in performance. Pay special attention to the paragraph on Tx.

It's here >>>>> https://befinitiv.wordpress.com/2015...-and-firmware/
Thanks for that clarification enorbet.
 
Old 09-09-2020, 08:51 AM   #5
burning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ul7 View Post
https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...er-4175430121/

There is an old thread about the same chipset. I don't know enough about Slackware atm to really get deep into this, sorry in advance. This may help you in getting some more ideas to fetch answers for. I'll keep looking into it for you. Keep checking back for more experienced opinions about this, if any.
Thanks very much! Appreciate it.
I checked /lib/firmware and it looks like Slackware does in-fact already have the AR9271 firmware. Doing lsusb shows that it can detect the device just fine.
Code:
burning@slack:~$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0cf3:9271 Qualcomm Atheros Communications AR9271 802.11n
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
burning@slack:~$
I suppose now my question is regarding how exactly to modify /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf to utilise it when detected.
 
Old 09-09-2020, 08:53 AM   #6
burning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet View Post
All hardware in Linux is supported through the kernel, not the distro. Some hardware also requires a firmware blob and wifi hardware very often is in that category. So you will certainly get your Alfa working in any distro by loading the kernel module (Realtek RTL8187) via "modprobe" but you'll need to search out if and what firmware your exact revision requires.

You will hopefully find the following link helpful but you may not like what it reveals about Alfa products. They are strong on sales hype but quite weak in performance. Pay special attention to the paragraph on Tx.

It's here >>>>> https://befinitiv.wordpress.com/2015...-and-firmware/

Oh! and no, you will get no love from .exe files in any distro with the exception of WINE apps which have no effect on Linux Drivers. There are a few wrappers usable for some hardware but that's by no means ideal... last resort only and not needed by yours.
Thanks! This helped clear up a few things for me
 
Old 09-09-2020, 10:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burning View Post
I suppose now my question is regarding how exactly to modify /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf to utilise it when detected.
I just made rc.wireless and rc.networkmanager executable. The wireless adapter should show up as being available. In KDE there is tool that allows you to save wifi connections and specify which adapter to use: https://userbase.kde.org/System_Settings/Connections

Make sure to store the password so you don't have to put it in every boot.

nm-connection-editor also looks like a good choice where you can choose the adapter you are using.

There is also nmcli and nmtui too.

Edit: Also I have relative that really wanted to use a particular wireless adapter they bought. I had to go to a git and get the driver source for Linux (luckily it was available) and build it myself so it can happen that the kernel doesn't have the driver.

Last edited by RadicalDreamer; 09-09-2020 at 10:58 AM.
 
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Old 09-09-2020, 04:54 PM   #8
svim
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I've found iwconfig to be more useful than lsusb when it involves an external USB device (or a WiFi card). And as for configuring your network, Alien's setup guide is a good place to start:
https://wiki.alienbase.nl/doku.php?i...eless_networks
 
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:52 PM   #9
bassmadrigal
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You don't need to touch rc.wireless. If you want the easy route, just make rc.networkmanager executable and then start it:

Code:
chmod +x /etc/rc.d/rc.networkmanager
sh /etc/rc.d/rc.d/rc.networkmanager start
And then run nm-applet from inside your favorite WM/DE.

If you want the manual way, you'll add the wireless network to your wpa_supplicant.conf

Code:
wpa_passphrase YOUR_SSID YOUR_PASSPHRASE >> /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
Then make sure you have your /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf file laid out properly. You'll want to make sure IFNAME[4]= is set to the right wireless device (and uncommented). Most wireless devices default to wlan0, but could be something funky (check iwconfig to find out what your device is). Most likely, all you'll need uncommented is the following:

Code:
IFNAME[4]="wlan0"
USE_DHCP[4]="yes"
WLAN_WPA[4]="wpa_supplicant"
Then you can run /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 wlan0_start and see if it connects.
 
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Old 09-10-2020, 02:51 PM   #10
burning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassmadrigal View Post
You don't need to touch rc.wireless. If you want the easy route, just make rc.networkmanager executable and then start it:

Code:
chmod +x /etc/rc.d/rc.networkmanager
sh /etc/rc.d/rc.d/rc.networkmanager start
And then run nm-applet from inside your favorite WM/DE.

If you want the manual way, you'll add the wireless network to your wpa_supplicant.conf

Code:
wpa_passphrase YOUR_SSID YOUR_PASSPHRASE >> /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
Then make sure you have your /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf file laid out properly. You'll want to make sure IFNAME[4]= is set to the right wireless device (and uncommented). Most wireless devices default to wlan0, but could be something funky (check iwconfig to find out what your device is). Most likely, all you'll need uncommented is the following:

Code:
IFNAME[4]="wlan0"
USE_DHCP[4]="yes"
WLAN_WPA[4]="wpa_supplicant"
Then you can run /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 wlan0_start and see if it connects.
Ah, so all I have to do is just change the name on IFNAME[4] in rc.inet1.conf to the name of the wireless adapter? (Qualcomm Atheros Communications AR9271 802.11n) or would it default to wlan0, overriding my laptop's standard wireless card which is known as wlan0?

Regardless, I'll take a look at alien's networking guide and read up on it.
 
Old 09-10-2020, 04:06 PM   #11
bassmadrigal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burning View Post
Ah, so all I have to do is just change the name on IFNAME[4] in rc.inet1.conf to the name of the wireless adapter? (Qualcomm Atheros Communications AR9271 802.11n) or would it default to wlan0, overriding my laptop's standard wireless card which is known as wlan0?
You'll need to change it to the linux wireless device name, which is generally wlan0, but if you already have that, it might be wlan1 (or sometimes they'll have super funky names), but it isn't the product name like you posted.

You can check the output of iwconfig to see what wireless devices are detected.
 
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Old 09-11-2020, 11:07 AM   #12
burning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassmadrigal View Post
You'll need to change it to the linux wireless device name, which is generally wlan0, but if you already have that, it might be wlan1 (or sometimes they'll have super funky names), but it isn't the product name like you posted.

You can check the output of iwconfig to see what wireless devices are detected.
plugging the device in to my laptop and running iwconfig or ifconfig yields no update in the devices listed. lsusb does register it however. Any idea what this might mean? I have the firmware installed for the chipset as it comes pre-installed on Slackware(Linux in general?) But do I still need to find drivers for it to communicate properly with my machine if this is the case? Or should it be ready to work at this stage?

If it matters, I'm connecting the device to my laptop via usb.
 
Old 09-11-2020, 11:42 AM   #13
RadicalDreamer
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iwconfig should show it as something like wlan1. I found this. Maybe it will be of some help. https://wireless.wiki.kernel.org/en/...get_the_driver

Last edited by RadicalDreamer; 09-11-2020 at 11:48 AM.
 
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Old 09-11-2020, 11:45 AM   #14
enorbet
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Probably a stupid question on my part but does your WiFi LED light up? Since you know the proper firmware comes with Slackware can you confirm it and the proper module/driver is actually loading?
 
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Old 09-11-2020, 11:49 AM   #15
elcore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burning View Post
ifconfig yields no update in the devices listed.
Might not be relevant, but ifconfig will only show enabled interfaces by default. There's "ifconfig -a" switch for listing all interfaces.
 
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