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Re: Experience with recent WLAN hardware (Netgear WG 511, TRENDnet TEW-421PC)

Hi Michael,
        thanks for sharing this information, I am currently thinking of
buying a new wireless card here in Germany for my wife's laptop, and the
warning aboutthe netgear cards is very valuable.
        Just for your info, I am actually currently using an acx111
chipset card (from sitecom ) with a proper native linux driver, and the
general performance is more than satisfactory. You may find that in some
respects it surpasses the windows driver kludge.


has  a set of tarballs with the latest versions of the driver. The major
feature for acx111 that is still missing is WEP (see the README). The
progress on this driver in the last year has been extremely impressive,
and I think it deserves the community's support.

On Mon, 14 Mar 2005, Michael Marte wrote:

> Hello *,
> last week I experimented with WLAN PCMCIA cards on my Dell Latitude
> CS400XT running 2.6.10.
> First I bought a Netgear WG 511 (54Mbit/s) which is reported to work
> properly using the native Linux driver for Prism chipsets. As it did not
> work at all, I did some research on the web and found out that new cards
> use a reduced chipset - the driver developers refer to it as SoftMAC as
> opposed to HardMAC - which is more like a Winmodem in that it requires
> heavy support by the CPU. Despite the severe change in implementation,
> Netgear did not change the card's identifier s.t. hotplug identifies it a
> as prism card and tries to load the prism driver. It seems that all
> Netgear cards "Made in China" have this problem and that in Germany only
> those cards are being sold at the moment. So hands off - also if you plan
> to use it with an older Windows machine because of the heavy CPU load the
> driver causes. I returned this card.
> Then I went and bought a TRENDnet TEW-421PC (54MBit/s) which is based on a
> Texas Intruments ACX-111 chipset. There is a native Linux driver but the
> documentation says that it is higly experimental with regard to ACX-111. I
> did some more research and came across another potential solution namely
> ndiswrapper. ndiswrapper is an adapter that simply connects any Windows
> network device driver that implements the so-called NDIS interface to the
> internal Linux kernel device driver interface. (NDIS is a well-documented
> interface specified by Microsoft and others and, as I understood, Windows
> network device drivers have to implement this interface.) In other words,
> you use the Windows driver that is distributed with the device and that
> you have paid for. Unfortunately the ndiswrapper kernel module is not part
> of the kernel image so I had to compile myself :-( Luckily it was not
> too difficult. I needed to install the kernel headers (e.g. apt-get
> install kernel-headers-2.6.10) and a tool called module-assistant. Then,
> with a single line (like "module-assistant auto-install ndiswrapper", I
> cannot remember exactly, see the ndiswrapper documentation) the
> ndiswrapper source was downloaded, unpacked, compiled and the resulting
> module was installed, like magic :-) Moreover, I needed to install the
> ndiswrapper user-space utilities that are required for installing Windows
> drivers (say something like ndiswrapper -i
> dir-where-Windows-driver-resides). Then, with "modprobe ndiswrapper" the
> Windows driver was loaded, a green LED on the card turned on and "ifup
> wlan0" established the connection. Great! The card actually works fine
> for me, both on Linux and Windows 98.
> Michael
> --
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				James Ferrando
				+49 40 8998 3646
				Glasgow ZEUS Group

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