Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wireless support improving in Linux

All too often, people automatically assume they need to use ndiswrapper to get wireless network cards working in Linux. In fact, I was about to do the same thing today, because in other distributions with the same network card I had no luck getting it to work. Once I stuck the network card in, Ubuntu informed me that there were drivers available for the card, and it would have to download the firmware for me. I had to temporarily plug the computer into the wired network to download the firmware. Once that was done, I unplugged from the wired network and the wireless connected right away. (It had the WEP key already) I'm more impressed with Linux every day, and the situation with device support is only going to improve as more and more manufacturers realize Linux is a force in the world.

The card is a Linksys WPC54G, which according to lspci uses the Broadcom Corporation BCM4318 chipset. I'm using Ubuntu 8.04.

After that, I also tried another wireless card, the linksys WUSB54G. I plugged it in, and it detected it and was able to connect to the network with no issues at all. Although, I did notice it seemed to be a little slow. It's a great improvement from what I have previously seen.


Jason Tay said...

With regard to being more and more impressed with Linux each passing day - I can't agree with you more. Although all our major office headless servers run Ubuntu Server, I hadn't actually used a Linux box for a lot of desktop use until recently. My last recollection of Linux until now was that if you set a display resolution setting that wasn't compatible with your current monitor, you were stuffed, and you'd have to switch to the text console, kill X, change settings manually and then run X again. Today, not only did Xubuntu 8.10 automatically detect the right resolution for the monitor, but when I transplanted the machine to another monitor with a lower resolution, it automagically detected that and switched the resolution down accordingly. Now that's no interruption computing!

Russell said...

Thanks for the post - and the site. I run OpenSuse on my (previously XP) PC. I must admit, I only found the bottle to do this after I backed up everything onto a 6 year old G4 Mac notebook I was given for free. On the XP machine, I'd put a 2006 distro of Ubuntu and though it looked gorgeous, nothing seemed to work (especially wifi). However, armed with the confidence of having a working Mac in the other room, I wiped off XP and put on a cover disk DVD of Suse 11 ... and was amazed to see it happily connect automatically (pretty much) to my Netgear wifi. Fantastic! Linux is fantastic and it's great that your blog exists to celebrate and advise on it. Keep it up! All the best.