3. Link-sys WPC11 install on Debian

3.1. Why Debian and why just this card?

I have been trying for months to get wireless working on Debian and after reading far and wide and getting help from irc.debian.org, I realized that there really is no Cookbook in getting wireless set up. Thus having just done it I want to commit to 'paper' so that you all can use it and I can refer to it knowing it is safe somewhere. :)

3.1.1. Redhat installation

I have gotten a few requests for help on getting the card installed on other distributions. I will try to address the RedHat Installation in this mini-how-to

3.1.2. Suse Installation

My girlfriend got the WPC-11 card working on Suse. I am waiting for her to give me her how to

3.2. Required Hardware

By required I mean, here is what I used to get this to work, and may serve as guide to anyone who wants to know what really works.

BEFW11S4- EtherFast? Wireless AP + Cable/DSL Router w/4-Port Switch. I really really like this WAP (Wireless Access Point). It is OS independent (read, linux friendly) and is configured using a browser so no need to touch Microsoft software at all, even to configure it. And if you don't know what a switch is, let me tell ya, they rock. Essentially they allow the NIC to communicate in both directions at the same time. I highly recommend one.

Link-sys WPC11. I have a version 3.0 and don't recommend any thing less than a version 2.5 Cost about 80 dollars

3.2.1. What is the linksys card based on?

It is an Inersil Prism 3-based card

3.3. Software Requirements

3.3.1. Debian Software Requirements

Table 1. Debian Software Requirements

SoftwareVersionURL linknotes
Debian DistributionStable ("Woody")www.debian.orglinux-2.4.20.tar, patched with patch-2.4.21-pre3.bz[a]
Absolute Systems0.1.16-pre8Absolute systemsMake sure you download the 11Mbps version. Works for 0.1.16-pre8
apt-get install pcmcia-source
<---type this
apt-get install pcmcia-cs
<---type this
apt-get install wireless-tools
<--type this
apt-get install pump
Useful to see if card works
apt-get install kernel-package
Good way to build kernel and the one I describe.
Kernel2.4.20, patched with patch-2.4.21-pre3.bz2 www.kernel.orgYou must know how to build and patch a kernel to do this. Its not hard and I will show you[b]
a. This new patched kernel worked amazingly well
b. Note to patch a kernel you type
bzip2 -dc patch-2.4.21-pre3.bz2 | patch -p0

3.3.2. RedHat Software Requirements

Table 2. RedHat Software Requirements

SoftwareVersionURL linknotes
Redhat 8.0stock kernel*RedHat

3.4. Notes on additional helpful software

You will also need some way to setup you IP address on your wireless card, I recommend either
apt-get install DHCP-client
to install the DHCP-client that will automatically configure your IP address, if you have a DHCP server. The WAP-11 hardware does provide DHCP server capabilities

Or at least have the pump application, which also will query a DHCP server and get you an IP address from the DHCP server. Note I tend to use pump when I am trying out new hardware to see if there is a connection, since to test a particular device, say eth0 I would type
pump -i eth0
where the option -i tells pump what device to try to get an IP address. In this particular case, when I could not get Debian to automatically set up my wireless card, which was device wlan0, I would type
pump -i wlan0
and pump would try to set up the device. Anyway, the point is, that it is a good trouble shooting command, and you should know about it, and I talk more about it later.

I also recommend you use the "kernel-package" package when you want to build your new kernel, which I will get to. This tool is very good and you should be using it anyway when you are building new kernel for the Debian distribution. You can install it by typing
apt-get install kernel-package
Also, be sure to read the documentation it comes with, in case I don't do a good job explaining how to use it, later in this document

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Generated: 2007-01-26 17:58:37