wi-fi suggestions

sdavmor sdavmor at systemstheory.net
Fri Jun 25 20:09:10 UTC 2010

On 06/25/2010 11:30 AM, Gilles Gravier wrote:
>   Hi, Albert!
> On 25/06/2010 19:07, Albert Wagner wrote:
>> I have never been wireless before, but am exploring wireless routers.
>> So far,
>> Cisco-Linksys WRT54GL Wireless-G Broadband Router (Compatible with Linux)
>> seems OK for me.  Does anyone know just what "Compatible with Linux"
>> means for this product?  Is there anything else you would recommend,
>> knowing, as you must, just what software Ubuntu offers in support of wi-fi
> "Compatible with Linux". Historically, the Linksys WRT54xx routers (G,
> and then GS) were made with Linux as the operating system. Then somebody
> figured out that because Linux is GPL, the whole embedded stack of the
> WRT54xx was GPL (GPL is a "viral" license) and asked for source code.
> After some time, Linksys made the source code available.
> Once that code was available, it was an easy trick to make custom
> firmwares. These routers became the most popular on the planet and
> became VERY cheap. Then people started hacking them... in particular
> with drivers for the WiFi stack that could be configured to go beyond
> the 42mW that most countries accept as the maximum for WiFi. They can
> easily be driven to 100mW (and 200mW if you aren't afraid of burning the
> power transistors of the beast). This got Linksys in trouble with local
> telecom authorities for making a device too easy to hack to something of
> unacceptable caracteristics.
> So Linksys decided to make cheap WRT54G and GS routers now using
> VxWorks, which is proprietary and, happily, has a smaller memory
> footprint. Cheaper routers, with cheaper components, and proprietary
> firmware for which they didn't need to publish the source... so not
> hackable (ahem, not EASILY hackable).
> This got some OEM integrators which used the Linksys routers to put
> their own firmware inside and sell them (the first FON routers were
> "Linksys inside") very upset.
> So Linksys decided to make a new WRT54 router, back again with Linux
> inside, but more expensive. So normal people buy the cheap ones... no
> problems. Integrators and hobbyists buy the more expensive one, the
> WRT54GL which has Linux inside, and for which source code (and hacked
> firmwares) are available. My favorite hacked firmware for WRT54GL is
> called Tomato and you can get it at : http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato/
> So this router is "Linux" compatible because it runs Linux. Actually,
> ANY WiFi router is Linux compatible because they all have available pure
> web-based administration interfaces and none require a Windows utility
> to get them to work (none that I know of, that is).
> You can safely take any Belkin, Linksys, D-Link, ZyXel WiFi and it will
> be compatible with Linux machines.
> There you have it. Your WRT54GL is a very nice box. It's even nicer with
> Tomato firmware on it.
>> From a Ubuntu perspective, WiFi support is integrated in the OS. If your
> WiFi chipset is standard, it's supported OUT OF THE BOX with Ubuntu. If
> it isn't... You can either add one of the madwifi (depending on the
> chipset) drivers, or, to be simple, you can instal the "ndiswrapper".
> This is a package that lets you use the Windows XP drivers that came
> with your WiFi card, and directly run them under Linux as if they were
> Linux drivers. If nothing else works, just install "ndisgtk" from the
> Synaptic Package Manager. This will bring in all the required packages
> for the NDISwrappers, and will install a nice UI that you can launch
> from System->Administration->Windows Wireless Drivers.
> Launch that tool, and add a driver by pointing to the ".inf* file of the
> WindowsXP drivers and you are all set. :)
> Once the WiFi driver is in place, the network manager applet will
> identify and list the available WiFi networks for you to chose from...
> you should be in familiar territory then.
> Cheers,
> Gilles.

That's a very informative and useful post! Thanks.
Cheers, SDM -- a 21st Century Schizoid Man
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