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Thread: HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    WIRELESS CARD HOWTO: ANY DISTRIBUTION OF LINUX (DESKTOP OR LAPTOP)

    Although I run Xubuntu, the following steps should still work with any distribution of Linux. If you run into any trouble with the GUI apps, I will be providing the terminal commands soon as soon as the network admin at my school reminds me how to do it. They will be posted at the end of this HOWTO. Also, don't ever hesitate to PM me about this, because I am always happy to help, although I am a student so bear with me if I don't respond right away.

    Also keep in mind that this only deals with wireless devices that are not compatible with Linux out of the box. If you are using a device that is Linux-compatible, refer to the manual for the device, or look for online documentation on how to install it.

    For a WPA Encyryption HOWTO, look here

    I have tested this in the following (K/X)Ubuntu distros.
    -5.10
    -6.04
    -6.10
    -7.04
    -7.10
    -8.04

    This should also work with any other Linux distribution.

    Sections:

    1. Pre-requisites
    2. Installing "build-essential"
    3. Installing NDISwrapper from source
    4. Installing your wireless driver
    5. Activating your wireless card via terminal
    6. Credits
    7. Other methods


    1. Pre-requisites

    1) Working internet connection or method on getting new packages onto your computer (e.g. second computer & thumb-drive). I STRONGLY suggest you try to get a LAN or dial-up connection as it gets tedious without one.

    2) The package "build-essential". I will explain how to get this in the tutorial if you do not already have it.

    3) Make sure the wireless driver you have is made for your architecture. 32 bit drivers do NOT work on 64 bit systems and vice versa!


    2. Installing "build-essential"
    NOTE: If you have the package "build-essential", or you have the gcc compiler (3.4 or newer), you may skip to Section 3. If you do not use Ubuntu, Kubuntu, or Xubuntu, I recommend you try to install the gcc compiler that is available to your distribution, as this section will only accommodate those who can utilize the "apt-get" function or "dpkg" function of the terminal.

    1) Type the following into the terminal (if you have an internet connection).
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install build-essential
    Proceed to the next section.

    2) If you do not have an internet connection, use another computer to download the "build-essential" package from packages.ubuntu.com. Use the search function there to find the package, or click here.

    3) Once it is downloaded, transfer the file to the computer you are trying to configure wireless on. Put it in its own directory (folder).

    4) Run this in a terminal. Make sure you are in the same directory as the "build-essential" package is.
    Code:
    sudo dpkg -i *.deb
    5) If this works, you may safely delete these packages, and go to the next section.

    If not, the there are probably dependency issues. The only thing I can suggest is to write down the names of the packages it says you need, download them and transfer them into the same directory as you are in now, and run the code again. If there are still issues with dependencies, do the same thing. This is why it is MUCH easier to have a working internet connection while doing this.


    3. Installing NDISwrapper


    NOTE: If you have ever tried to install your card via ndiswrapper before, type these into a terminal, each separately.
    Code:
    sudo rmmod ndiswrapper
    sudo ndiswrapper -l
    sudo ndiswrapper -e nameofdriver
    sudo apt-get remove --purge ndiswrapper*
    If you don't have Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, or 'apt-get', instead of using the last line, remove the package 'ndiswrapper*' via however it was you installed it.


    1) Download the NDISwrapper source code from here. Choose the latest stable version. The reason I am having you install from source is that I (along with others I know) have had issues with the 'ndiswrapper' package provided with Ubuntu. Not to discourage their packages, but I have had greater success with compiling from source. Also keep in mind that when there is a kernel upgrade, you may have to recompile ndiswrapper from source in order to make sure it keeps working.

    2) Extract the archive with whatever archive extractor you wish. To do it from the terminal, though, here is the command.
    Code:
    tar -zxvf nameOfArchive.tar.gz
    3) in the terminal, type this in
    Code:
    cd pathToFolder
    where 'pathToFolder' is the directory created from extracting the archive in the last step.

    4) Now, type in the following exactly, each separately
    Code:
    sudo make uninstall
    sudo make uninstall
    make
    sudo make install
    If you get no errors, you are good to proceed to the next section.

    If you get any errors, make sure your gcc compiler is up to date. If you still get errors, or don't want to upgrade, type this into the terminal.
    Code:
    sudo make uninstall
    sudo make uninstall
    Then try to use the Ubuntu provided packages.
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install ndiswrapper*
    And proceed to the next section, though it is possible it won't work.

    If you do not have an internet connection, you will once again have to transfer the packages from another computer to this one, and use 'sudo dpkg -i *.deb' again, and fix the dependencies yourself.


    4. Installing your wireless driver

    You got this far. The hard part is OVER!!! Be happy

    This tutorial DOES assume you have the driver for your wireless card. If you bought the card in a store, it will be on the CD provided. If you for whatever reason do not have a CD (e.g. internal wireless) the website of your computer should have it or the site of the maker of the card should have it on their site. If the driver is inside an EXE file, you should be able to extract it with an archive manager, such as file-roller.

    Also, consider this a "Step 0". Paste this into your terminal.
    Code:
    echo 'blacklist bcm43xx' | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
    The bcm43xx driver is a linux proprietary driver that will make some wireless cards with a Broadcom chipset work, but it is only "okay", and it may conflict with your wireless hardware and prevent your wireless from working with ndiswrapper.

    1) Via the terminal, change to the directory where the driver is. It will have to have the .inf and .sys file in there. Remember, the command to change directories is 'cd'. If the driver is on a CD, the CD is usually mounted at '/media/cdrom0' or somewhere in the '/mnt' directory.

    2) Once in the directory, type this into a terminal.
    Code:
    sudo ndiswrapper -i driver.inf
    'driver' would be the name of the driver you need to use. And the accompanying .sys file MUST be in the same directory. If it discerns between which Windows driver, use the 2000 or XP one, never Vista, as Vista drivers are not yet supported (but will be in the near future, hopefully).

    3) Now type in this
    Code:
    sudo ndiswrapper -l
    If it says no hardware is present, then you have the wrong driver. If that happens here is how to uninstall the driver
    Code:
    sudo ndiswrapper -e driver
    4) Type these into a terminal
    Code:
    sudo ndiswrapper -m
    sudo modprobe ndiswrapper
    5) Now open up /etc/modules with the text editor of your choice. Make sure you have super-user priveleges, a.k.a. use 'sudo'. Add
    Code:
    ndiswrapper
    to the bottom of the file. You should probably reboot here.

    6) If this works, congrats, your wireless is installed. You can either configure it using the network manager that came with your distribution, or you can use a handy program called Wifi-Radar, which effectively manages your wireless. If you choose to install Wifi-Radar, make sure you have Python installed as well. If you do not have a GUI interface, I will be providing the necessary code to bring up your wireless and scan for SSIDs (network names) thru the terminal.

    If you are doing this on Hardy, and this did not work, follow the steps in this guide for a workaround until whatever bug this is is fixed. This may be fixed by the time Hardy's release comes around, though, so let me know if this is not an issue for you.

    5. Activating your wireless card via terminal

    Here is everything you should need to know for bringing up a wireless (or any internet connection) from the terminal. Keep in mind that your wireless connection may not always be called wlan0. For example, my interface is eth1. the command "iwconfig" should give you the interface name.

    To scan for a wireless network (essid)
    Code:
    sudo iwlist wlan0 scan
    To bring up the interface
    Code:
    sudo ifconfig wlan0 up
    To bring down the interface
    Code:
    sudo ifconfig wlan0 down
    To connect to a router
    Code:
    sudo iwconfig wlan0 essid ID key k
    where "ID" is the name of the router you want to connect to (returned by iwlist scan wlan0), and "k" is the network key to connect to the router

    Now that you know what each command does, here is what most people should have to type into their terminal
    Code:
    sudo iwlist wlan0 scan
    sudo ifconfig wlan0 down
    sudo ifconfig wlan0 up
    sudo iwconfig wlan0 essid ID key k
    I am unsure if this terminal method works with WPA encryption, so keep that in mind, as I use WEP because of the difficulty I have had with WPA in general. In theory it should work, but I don't know if thee are any extra steps to it.

    6. Credits

    While I largely did learn on my own how to use NDISwrapper, I must thank trubblemaker for showing me how to compile ndiswrapper from source, how to purge it from my system, and how to stop the bcm43xx driver from loading. I also want to thank Jim for showing me the commands to bring up a wireless interface from the terminal, even though I forgot them and had to re-ask Also thanks to Mazza558 for the Hardy workaround.

    7. Other Methods

    If this guide does not work for you, but you are able to get your wireless card working some other way, outline what you did or link the walkthrough you followed, along with your wireless hardware or laptop model. I will put that information in this section.

    Atheros AR5007 wireless device- http://www.ubuntugeek.com/atheros-ar...rdy-heron.html

    Also, please vote in the poll at the top, I'd like to know how helpful this has been to you. If anything is unclear or not straightforward, please tell me so I can fix it. In the words of GLaDOS, "thank you for helping me help you help us all."

    Good luck and Godspeed
    Last edited by HokeyFry; August 1st, 2008 at 09:11 PM. Reason: updated 'build-essential' link
    HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)
    Registered Linux User #454618
    2112

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Beans
    3

    Question Re: HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)

    Great steps and I will be sure to follow them. I have a dell latitude d610 laptop. How do I tell what this has in terms of a chipset? Can you tell me where in the directory tree to look for this? I do not know at this point whether I need a pcmcia wireless nic or whether my wireless capability is built in.

    Any info is appreciated.

    Thanks
    M

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Beans
    4
    Distro
    Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    Re: HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)

    I got as far as System -> Administration -> Network

    It didn't show the wireless connection. What can I be doing wrong?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Michigan
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    Re: HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)

    Quote Originally Posted by maxwellhouse View Post
    Great steps and I will be sure to follow them. I have a dell latitude d610 laptop. How do I tell what this has in terms of a chipset? Can you tell me where in the directory tree to look for this? I do not know at this point whether I need a pcmcia wireless nic or whether my wireless capability is built in.

    Any info is appreciated.

    Thanks
    M
    it sounds like you are thinking the chipset is in the computer. the chipset has to do with the wireless cards. as for finding out the chipset, i really dont know what to say, other than look at the box, manual, or search online (e.g. google name of wireless card followed by broadcom) or something.


    as for your laptop model, looking at it on the dell website it doesnt seem to have built in wireless so you probably need to buy a wireless card or wireless usb pen



    if you need any other help dont hesitate to ask again
    HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)
    Registered Linux User #454618
    2112

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Beans
    7
    Distro
    Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon

    Re: HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)

    hey was wondering if you would be able to help. I've got a Dell Inspiron 6000 with an Intel Pro/Wireless 2200. I can't for the life of me work out how to install the driver for the card for the life of me. Any help would be great. Thanks in advance.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    141

    Re: HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)

    I don't know why none of this is working, when I put this in the follwoing turns out:

    ayed@Ayeds-Laptop:~$ sudo apt-get install build-essentials
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information... Done
    E: Couldn't find package build-essentials

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    141

    Re: HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)

    This turns out from the first step and I don't know why!
    ayed@Ayeds-Laptop:~$ sudo apt-get install build-essentials
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information... Done
    E: Couldn't find package build-essentials

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Re: HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)

    do you have a working internet connection? if you dont then you need to follow the non-internet instructions
    HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)
    Registered Linux User #454618
    2112

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    13

    Re: HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)

    Okay:

    I got stumped on the very first step(I have no LAN...) Where is 'build essentials' on the ubuntu package page???

    Okay, I looked in the gutsy subdirectory, and no mention of 'build essentials' there either.

    What are 'backports'.

    I'm constantly amazed at the amount that is (okay, has to be ) taken for granted when you move to a new OS universe....

    Thanks!
    eric

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    13

    Re: HOWTO: Set up wireless internet (Desktop or laptop)

    Well, the search function on the package page doesn't turn up 'build essentials' either.....

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