[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

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

Hello James (and *),

some remarks and some more experience:

* Netgear seems to sell cards based on the Texas Instruments chipset as
  well, e.g. the WG 311.

* I tried the native Linux driver (latest version) and found that it works
  quite reliably for me WHEN someone else is using the access point as
  well, otherwise the driver just looses touch. Moreover, the driver does
  not yet support scanning which is inconvenient (requires to switch the
  driver if scanning is required) and may be related to the problem of
  loosing touch.

* My feelings about the ndiswrapper have become ambivalent. Sometimes it
  just works fine (plug in the card, modprobe the driver, fire up the
  interface, high download rates) and sometimes (more often in fact) only
  more or less (card will not associate with the access point immediately,
  firing up the interface does not work despite association, low
  transmission rates) or not at all. To make my approach more systematic,
  I am performing my experiments in the same place and always double-check
  with Windows. (Frustratingly, on Windows the same driver ALWAYS manages
  to establish a reliable connection quickly.)

* When I learned that Texas instruments has bought a licence of Linuxant's
  driverloader for all users of ACX-* based cards, I got me a copy
  quickly. Installation was without problems and the card worked as well
  as on Windows - until the system froze. I cannot report much on this
  yet; I am waiting for responce by the Linuxant support.

My experience suggests that the card may need some more initialization 
than the Windows driver itself does. How else could one explain the 
difference between the ndiswrapper on the one side and 
Windows/driverloader on the other? Or may there be a problem with my 
networking setup or the networking stuff in the 2.6.10 kernel? (I found 
that it MAKES a difference whether I use the eth0 or the wlan0 interface 
and that, sometimes, I need to reconfigure the network interfaces to get 
everything going, also when using the Ethernet hardware built into my 
docking station which always worked well until grading up to 2.6.x.) 


On Wed, 16 Mar 2005 debianlaptop@ferrando.co.uk wrote:

> 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.
> http://lisas.de/~andi/acx100/
> 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.
> 			Cheers,
> 				James
> 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
> >
> >
> > --
> > To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-laptop-REQUEST@lists.debian.org
> > with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact listmaster@lists.debian.org
> >
> >
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> 				James Ferrando
> 				james@ferrando.co.uk
> 				+49 40 8998 3646
> 				Glasgow ZEUS Group
> ---------------------------------------------------------

Reply to: