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LINUX and WiFi

Posted on 01/21/2014 10:04:40 AM PST by varmintman

This is in the "If the subject should ever come up" category...

One of the biggest problems which comes up for people trying to get a look at one of the newer Linux distributions is what to do about WIFI. Particularly in the case of laptops and particularly in the case of laptops with Broadcom wifi radios, those radios act as if they'd gone dead. LINUX does not come with drivers for such (the drivers are Windows only and proprietary) ; information exists on websites for setting up wrappers to allow the Windows drivers to think they're running under Windows but 1. the instructions for loading and installing those drivers and wrapping code cannot be followed by normal people, 2. even were you to miraculously succeed at that there could easily be a performance penalty in the extra layer of software and, 3. since you're often talking about an older laptop in the first place, that radio is likely to be low-performance and constitute a bottleneck.

The good news is you can avoid the problem for ten or fifteen bucks. One of the little usb wifi devices which is a $10 - $15 item on ebay all day long, will simply make the problem vanish. None of the info on any of the linux websites will tell you that.


TOPICS: Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: computers; linux; wifi

1 posted on 01/21/2014 10:04:40 AM PST by varmintman
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To: varmintman

Um.... Which Linux distro were you having problems with?


2 posted on 01/21/2014 10:06:54 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: varmintman
That's how I always solve it.

I always go for the $5 one though.

150M Mini USB WiFi WLAN Wireless Network Adapter 802.11n/g/b For Win7/Mac/Linux

3 posted on 01/21/2014 10:07:48 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Who knew that one day professional wrestling would be less fake than professional journalism?)
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To: varmintman; rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Salo; JosephW; Only1choice____Freedom; amigatec; ...

4 posted on 01/21/2014 10:08:07 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Dead Corpse

Anything Ubuntu-based, Mint in this case. I’d guess any other distribution would have the same problem but I couldn’t vouch for it.


5 posted on 01/21/2014 10:10:39 AM PST by varmintman
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To: varmintman

I had zero problem getting my laptop online the minute I installed Ubuntu.

There are some WIFI routers that apparently don’t work with Linux though.


6 posted on 01/21/2014 10:10:52 AM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

I have one of those on a Raspberry Pi. Works a treat...


7 posted on 01/21/2014 10:10:56 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: Dead Corpse

You haz a pi!? Lucky.


8 posted on 01/21/2014 10:14:28 AM PST by miliantnutcase
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To: GeronL

How does a router know the packets came from a Linux box?


9 posted on 01/21/2014 10:15:09 AM PST by Dalberg-Acton
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To: Dead Corpse

I got a Pi for Christmas. It works, but I have no clue what do do with it. It isn’t fast enough to play video.


10 posted on 01/21/2014 10:17:45 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Who knew that one day professional wrestling would be less fake than professional journalism?)
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To: varmintman

Ok... Debian based. Both Ubuntu and Mint are based on Debian.

I assume you’ve seen this: http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/218

And this: http://askubuntu.com/questions/55868/how-to-install-broadcom-wireless-drivers-bcm43xx

And this: http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/379

Just curious as I’ve never had that problem. Yeah, I’ve had to correctly configure the device via command line, but that’s about it. MAN pages and README’s include a lot of this info.

The idea of using a Windows driver in a wrapper for a networking device never would have crossed my mind.


11 posted on 01/21/2014 10:18:01 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: Dalberg-Acton

All I know is that one of the routers I had from Verizon worked on everything (Windows, IPhones, XBoxes) but not my Linux computer. It didn’t even seem to exist to the router.

SO I changed back to the old router that worked.


12 posted on 01/21/2014 10:20:47 AM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum; Bobalu

Ask Bobalu

He wrote about his experiences...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2898942/posts


13 posted on 01/21/2014 10:22:48 AM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: miliantnutcase
Using it as a project at work. Linking it to an IP camera. Set up Midori as a kiosk. Tada! Easy low cost security monitor.


14 posted on 01/21/2014 10:27:03 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Really? Might need to look into optimizing it for video playback.

This is what I got for Christmas...

Nerds will Rule the World!

15 posted on 01/21/2014 10:29:29 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: varmintman; ShadowAce
varmint -- it all depends on the chipset that the wireless device uses.

Linux no likee Broadcomm chips.

I've always had good luck with these funky Zyxel units

16 posted on 01/21/2014 10:33:12 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

“I got a Pi for Christmas. It works, but I have no clue what do do with it. It isn’t fast enough to play video.”

Here’s one neat project using the RPi for web applications:

https://arkos.io/


17 posted on 01/21/2014 10:33:28 AM PST by NewHampshireDuo
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To: Dead Corpse
I assume you’ve seen this: http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/218

Nope, that's part of what I meant in saying that a normal person had little or no chance of succeeding at such a thing and, again, even were you to succeed at it, there're still two kinds of performance issues as I noted. One of he things I notice doing ebay searches on 'tenda usb' is that there's a wide range of performances in such devics, 130mbs - 300+ mbs and the price difference is negligable.

18 posted on 01/21/2014 10:49:52 AM PST by varmintman
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To: varmintman

Ok...so I’m confused. How will plugging in a usb wifi device to your PC’s USB port allow your Linux distro access your wifi network any easier? What method do you use now? Are you using a desktop PC or a laptop. Please elucidate.


19 posted on 01/21/2014 10:55:56 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts ("The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell)
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts

Doesn’t it make sense that a natively-supported WiFi chip in the external device is going to streamline things?

I have used the wrapper method in the past, however, and it was no big deal.


20 posted on 01/21/2014 11:01:21 AM PST by steve86 (Some things aren't really true but you wouldn't be half surprised if they were.)
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To: varmintman

Running Linux Mint 16 from a 16 GB USB drive.

First couple of boots I had a problem with the Broadcom chips on this Dell.

In order to get the wifi to work, I’d have to go to the driver manager and select the driver manually on each boot.

I had to edit a config file to load some modules automatically on boot, as they weren’t doing so by themselves.

Now, it works fine.

Surprised me, as I haven’t had wireless issues in years. If it didn’t work out of the box, the Driver Manager always fixed it on the first try.


21 posted on 01/21/2014 11:07:52 AM PST by FLAMING DEATH (I'm not racist - I hate Biden too!)
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To: varmintman

Actually, that was pretty “normal” for configuring a new Device in Linux. Considering what you COULD do in Linux, fairly easy to follow as well...

It sounds like you found a solution that works for you though. Kudos.


22 posted on 01/21/2014 11:10:02 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: Dead Corpse
Set up Midori as a kiosk. Tada! Easy low cost security monitor.

So, it's serving primarily as a kiosk and secondarily as a security cam? Is the kiosk interactive, or does it just display advertising or status or such?

23 posted on 01/21/2014 11:19:34 AM PST by cynwoody
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To: cynwoody

Full screen live video feed. Velcro’d the Pi to the back of a monitor. It’s a wider view than the camera on the door entry system.

A fact I tried to warn them about when they were deciding which system to go with.

No one listens to the IT guy... :-)


24 posted on 01/21/2014 11:22:23 AM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: varmintman

Well, the binaries can be found for WiFi hardware - it’s just a matter of learning how to load modules properly, and read logs and cpuinfo. Granted, it’s not plug and play!


25 posted on 01/21/2014 11:30:10 AM PST by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: martin_fierro
I've always had good luck with these funky Zyxel units

Those work well.

I have one of their WAP3205 units operating in "Client Mode" acting as a relay to provide access to my wireless router via its two Ethernet LAN ports. I have this "industrial computer" that I occasionally work on. It's a sample of a device we have deployed in our company to do certain dedicated tasks. It has no wireless capability, and I didn't want to add any, because I want my unit to be configured as closely as possible to the deployed units. But I also didn't want to run a Cat-5 cable downstairs. So, I just have a short patch cable between the computer's LAN jack and the Zyxel.

It occurs to me that, if I were having the Broadcom problem discussed on this thread, I could use the Zyxel for temporary internet access while getting it solved.

26 posted on 01/21/2014 11:45:56 AM PST by cynwoody
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To: varmintman

The article is quite correct, on PCs some brands of wifi hardware have no Linux drivers to link the wifi hardware to the Linux operating system. The wifi hardware in the PC and the Linux operating system on the PC simply cannot talk to each other. This has nothing to do with wifi routers


27 posted on 01/21/2014 11:52:13 AM PST by tophat9000 (Are we headed to a Cracker Slacker War?)
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts

because you’re installing a different brand of wifi hardware that does have a driver that support Linux


28 posted on 01/21/2014 11:54:18 AM PST by tophat9000 (Are we headed to a Cracker Slacker War?)
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To: Dead Corpse

I work IT for a casino and those would make great little kiosks.


29 posted on 01/21/2014 12:50:46 PM PST by miliantnutcase
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To: miliantnutcase

I have a couple more on order. Going to try and play with some of the I/O it has. Not sure for what... But I’ll think of something...

http://ardrone2.parrot.com/


30 posted on 01/21/2014 1:00:41 PM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: varmintman

I guess I’m not a normal person. :\


31 posted on 01/21/2014 1:13:55 PM PST by cizinec ("Brother, your best friend ain't your Momma, it's the Field Artillery.")
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To: cizinec

If you actually read the README’s... Then no. You aren’t.

Welcome to the Club. :-)


32 posted on 01/21/2014 1:25:34 PM PST by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
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To: Dalberg-Acton; GeronL
How does a router know the packets came from a Linux box?

All the packets have an encapsulated Tux?

OK, I'll leave quietly... ;-)

33 posted on 01/21/2014 2:28:43 PM PST by NoCmpromiz (John 14:6 is a non-pluralistic comment.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
It isn’t fast enough to play video.

On the contrary! The Pi has more than enough power to stream video. Look at RaspBMC which is a variant of XBMC (XBox Media Center). The wife and I have two of these little joys in our home, and we love them. You can install NetFlix and use it to stream, if you so desire, and there's also Plex Media Server. Also considering spending the $4 to get the license keys to play specific formats of movies, and you'll have no problem watching any of your old digitized home movies.

The Pi is one of the coolest tech toys to come out in a long while.

Oh, and FWIW, Broadcom wireless issues are known across most variants of Linux. There are plenty of driver packages cobbled together by the GNU community. Most often you simply install WPASupplicant and go to town.

34 posted on 01/22/2014 7:01:35 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: varmintman
I run SUSE 12.x, and have no trouble, not sure what chipset I have for the WiFi. Never have had an issue on any machine I have run it on.

To the lucky owners of a Pi. I am working on a M.A.M.E. game server that I intend to run on a Pi and a 1Tb drive.

35 posted on 01/23/2014 12:22:04 AM PST by DYngbld (I have read the back of the Book and we WIN!!!! (this post approved by the NSA))
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