Skip to comments.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.
Um.... Which Linux distro were you having problems with?
I always go for the $5 one though.
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.
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.
I have one of those on a Raspberry Pi. Works a treat...
You haz a pi!? Lucky.
How does a router know the packets came from a Linux box?
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.
Ok... Debian based. Both Ubuntu and Mint are based on Debian.
I assume you’ve seen this: http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/218
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.
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.
He wrote about his experiences...
This is what I got for Christmas...
Nerds will Rule the World!
Linux no likee Broadcomm chips.
I've always had good luck with these funky Zyxel units
“I got a Pi for Christmas. It works, but I have no clue what do do with it. It isnt fast enough to play video.”
Here’s one neat project using the RPi for web applications:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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... :-)
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!
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.
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
because you’re installing a different brand of wifi hardware that does have a driver that support Linux
I work IT for a casino and those would make great little kiosks.
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...
I guess I’m not a normal person. :\
If you actually read the README’s... Then no. You aren’t.
Welcome to the Club. :-)
All the packets have an encapsulated Tux?
OK, I'll leave quietly... ;-)
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.
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.
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