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[vox-tech] Wireless cards and orinoco patching woes
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[vox-tech] Wireless cards and orinoco patching woes


I'm having a great deal of trouble getting my wireless network card on
my laptop to function under Linux. I have a very popular card (the Dell
"TrueMobile 1150", a built-in mini-PCI card found in several models of
Dell laptops) that many people have used successfully under Linux.

I'm using the Debian kernel-sources 2.4.20 kernel (which I configured by
hand), along with the pcmcia-cs package.

I've gotten pretty close to getting it working. The problem I have right
now is: it refuses to scan for access points. I get this message:

mnemosyne:~# iwlist eth1 scan
eth1      Interface doesn't support scanning : Operation not supported

After quite a bit of searching, I found out that the code for the
orinoco driver included in the 2.4.20 kernel (and pcmcia-cs package),
version 11b, simply does not support scanning.

This might not be a huge issue at home, where I could manually configure
the access point once and not worry about it, but there are at least
three different access points I use on the UCD campus. I don't have the
hardware addresses or other technical details about them, so I can't
manually configure my card to connect to them.

So, after some more searching, I found a third-party patch[1] for the
orinoco-11b drivers that claimed it enabled scanning. When I look at
the kernel and pcmcia-cs source code, the comments identify the driver
version as 11b. However, when I apply the 3rd party patch, several
(about 10%) of the hunks fail, and the resultant code does not compile.

(This happens on both the kernel and the pcmcia-cs versions of the 
driver. To make matters more complicated, diff reports many differences
between the kernel and pcmcia-cs versions of the orionco driver, 
despite the fact that they both identify themselves as version 11b.)

Some information from the wireless-tools package that may or may not be

mnemosyne:~# iwconfig eth1

eth1      IEEE 802.11-DS  ESSID:"Home"  Nickname:"mnemosyne"
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.457GHz  Access Point:
          Bit Rate:2Mb/s   Tx-Power=15 dBm   Sensitivity:1/3
          Retry limit:4   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Encryption key:7365-6375-31
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality:0/92  Signal level:134/153  Noise level:134/153
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:0   Missed beacon:0
I added these lines to /etc/network/interfaces:

iface eth1 inet dhcp
        wireless_essid Home
        wireless_mode Managed
(I've tried Ad-Hoc rather than Managed mode, with no positive results.)

I've found it a bit confusing that there are wireless orinoco drivers in
both the kernel sources and the pcmcia-cs sources. Both of them seem to
have the same problems; I have tried disabling pcmcia altogether in the
kernel (as some FAQs seem to suggest) in favor of pcmcia-cs, and I've
also tried building support for pcmcia and the orinoco chipset right
into the kernel. No luck either way.

Anyone gotten a wireless card to work under Debian and have any advice? 


[1] http://www.cs.umd.edu/~moustafa/morinoco/morinoco.html

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