VectorLinux

The nuts and bolts => Portable VL => Topic started by: big_anemone on May 07, 2007, 08:11:47 am

Title: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: big_anemone on May 07, 2007, 08:11:47 am
First, a prelude to my question:  I'm in the process of acquiring an old subnotebook - an IBM thinkpad 240.  We're talking limited hardware -- Celeron 300, max 192 meg ram, external floppy, no cdrom (and it can't boot from a USB cdrom!).  My theory is that Vector is the best distro for this machine, because if I can get the iso onto the windows partition I can then install it from there -- not to mention the fact that Vector is fast & small.

Now, the question:  does anyone know of a PCMCIA/cardbus adapter which will be configured automatically (or as close to it as possible) by Vector's initial install?  I need to buy a wireless adapter for it, and I'd rather have one that works out of the box (I've had _bad_ experiences with wireless on other distros!).  It would be a big plus is it supported WPA well...  I've looked at lists of wireless adapters compatible with linux in general, of course, but just because a driver exists doesn't mean that it's configured right by a particular distro...

thanks for reading!
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: tanelle on May 07, 2007, 12:15:34 pm
The wireless card was the biggest pain on my old (not that old) laptop. I had no wired connection too, to download packages. My Card was a prism2 and I haven't been able to get it running till now. To let it work out-of-the-box will be to much to ask I think, but if you could acquire a card with realtek chipset it should not be to hard.

For myself: I bought a new card, with Realtek chipset and it was easy to install with Ndiswrapper.

I'm always happy to help, just ask.
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: GrannyGeek on May 07, 2007, 06:59:39 pm
Are you sure that old computer has a Cardbus (32-bit) slot? If it has just 16-bit PC Card, I doubt you'll find any wireless cards for it.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: big_anemone on May 07, 2007, 08:15:39 pm
I _think_ it does - the documentation on www.thinkwiki.org says that it should, and I'm inclined to trust the information there.  It's from 1999 or so, and Cardbus is older than that, so I'm not too worried about it.  Thanks for reminding me to check, though!
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: uelsk8s on May 07, 2007, 08:53:11 pm
I have 2 that work for me out of the box
one is a dlink airPlus G dwl-g630
the other is a Airlink+ WLC3010

HTH,
Uelsk8s
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: windancer on May 07, 2007, 09:04:33 pm
there is a 16 bit card that worked out of the box for me till I got my internal wireless working. found out I didnt actually need the card that my internal wireless also worked out of the box  ;D. The Netgear 802.11b pcmcia model number MA401 sells on ebay for about 10 to 15 bucks.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Netgear-MA401-802-11b-Wireless-PC-Card-16-bit-NR_W0QQitemZ170107937898QQihZ007QQcategoryZ42196QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


I have found this card to work with most distros of linux. works best with Damn small linux with absolutely no config it starts up on boot. you may want to consider damn small linux as its really small 100 meg install and is made for older laptops. I used to run it fulltime on an old panasonic toughbook p166 with 92 megs of ram and it flew!
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: big_anemone on May 08, 2007, 05:49:36 am
Thanks for the great recommendations -- I'll see if I can track down one of them.  I had no idea that DSL could configure wireless out of the box, so I'll need to investigate it more thoroughly.  Thanks for the help!

big_anemone
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: raymac46 on May 10, 2007, 08:58:12 am
I have a Compaq Armada 1700 of about the same vintage. It has a Cardbus slot and I use a D-Link DWL-G650 PCMCIA card with the Atheros chipset. It runs fine on VL 5.8 since i maxed out the RAM at 160 Mb.
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: easuter on May 10, 2007, 11:46:53 am
All I can say is keep away from any cards that have Ralink wireless chips.
Ralink Tech Corp.'s drivers are flaky at best, and the improved community versions still lack stable SMP support and general reliability.

At least for now, cards with Ralink chips are not a very good buy.
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: gwt on May 17, 2007, 05:12:25 pm
What about a Linksys Wireless-G 2.4GHz  - -  WPC54G ver. 1.2

Any distros work with those?
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: bigpaws on May 17, 2007, 05:23:18 pm
That one could be a challenge due to the version #

There are some posts of problems and some that say the
card runs fine. So 50/50.

Bigpaws
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: gwt on May 18, 2007, 05:51:30 am
That one could be a challenge due to the version #

There are some posts of problems and some that say the
card runs fine. So 50/50.

Bigpaws

Any Linksys PCMCIA card recommendations? 

All my wireless and router gear is Linksys, so changing the card to something that's Linux-friendly or Vector-friendly would be most welcome.     :)
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: bigpaws on May 18, 2007, 10:45:03 am
The problem is that linksys as well as everyone else changes the
chipset even on the same model.

Short story install a distro on a laptop with a Broadcom
chipset real trouble. So I every linksys that I have used
had an easy install and no problems. Well then I picked
up a pcmcia card and the chip was changed the Atheros chipset.

There is no guaranteed card.

The card I currently use is a WPC54g rev4 (different chipset then ver 1.2)
and have had no problems with it.

HTH

Bigpaws
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: LLL on May 18, 2007, 04:06:23 pm
D-Link AirPlus DWL-G650 worked out of the box for me. Not a problem to speak of.

LLL
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: gwt on May 19, 2007, 03:31:05 pm
The problem is that linksys as well as everyone else changes the
chipset even on the same model.

Short story install a distro on a laptop with a Broadcom
chipset real trouble. So I every linksys that I have used
had an easy install and no problems. Well then I picked
up a pcmcia card and the chip was changed the Atheros chipset.

There is no guaranteed card.

The card I currently use is a WPC54g rev4 (different chipset then ver 1.2)
and have had no problems with it.

HTH

Bigpaws

Interesting.  The ver 1.2 card I got in mid-2004 and it still works!    :D

I think I got my money's worth, so I'm not adverse to spending $50.00 or so on a new Linux-friendly Linksys PCMCIA card.  I tried using Xubuntu with the WPC54G ver 1.2 and couldn't get it to work, so I'm using an ethernet connection at the moment.  Haven't tried it with Vector.

So I should look for one with an Atheros chipset?  Is that what your WPC54g rev4 uses?

-
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: caitlyn on August 01, 2007, 08:13:09 pm
Avoid the DLink cards.  Some of the latest do NOT have an Atheros or Prism chipset.  The firmware is expected to reside on the PC, not the card.  Think Winmodem here.  It is possible to get these to run with NDISwrapper and the firmware and there are some websites that detail that (the Damn Small Linux forum has details somewhere) but it is a royal pain in the a--. 

Atheros chipset (using the Madwifi drivers) work very well indeed.  My Airlink 101 AWLC4030 worked out of the box with VL, both 5.1 and 5.8.
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: bobbear43 on September 17, 2007, 12:51:37 pm
Working on getting a Belkin card with Atheros chip set to work. May just give up and look for another solution.........

WHAT *READILY AVAILABLE* WIRELESS PCMCIA NICS WILL WORK "OUT OF THE BOX?" - Which assumes running VASM not expecting magic, but expecting VASM to configure, and then wireless simply works with no further intervention.  <-- If we don't get to that level of functionality, all Linuxes are out of reach for the ordinary user.

System:
ThinkPad 600E Pentium II 400 Mhz 288 MB
32-bit CardBus PCMCIA
VL 5.8 Standard and "Vanilla" (i.e. "out of the box" with no user modifications)
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: newt on September 17, 2007, 01:08:00 pm
I use a Linksys WPC54GS (v1, I think) and, on an unprotected network, it works out-of-the-box - just click 'Connect' in wifi-radar.  However, since I use WPA it takes a bit more configuration (wpa_supplicant) but does not require me to load/compile alternate or special modules and I don't use ndiswrapper.  I simply use the bcm43xx module that's automatically loaded by VL and it works really slick.

HTH!
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: bobbear43 on October 04, 2007, 11:36:45 am
"D-Link AirPlus DWL-G650 worked out of the box for me. Not a problem to speak of."

I obtained this card, but it seems to have an Atheros chipset. lspci shows:
02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications, Inc. AR5212 802.11abg NIC (rev 01)

How does it work "out of the box?" VASM detected it but set it as eth0 instead of ath0. Fixed that.

Tried wifi-radar. Card communicates with router but doesn't get IP address. No encryption on the network.
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: AndK on October 20, 2008, 01:35:19 pm
Today I installed Vector Light 5.9 on my newly aquired second hand Thinkpad T23. After some struggling I managed to get my D-Link DWL-G650 rev. C2 (Atheros) cardbus Wifi adapter to work. The card had been used on my Toshiba Tecra 8000 prior to that. It worked with VL 5.1 and 5.8 (and windows 98) but it didn't run right out of the box. The 5.8 was pretty easy to get it to cooperate, the main sumbling point was the driver change by madwifi people from 'madwifi' to 'wext'. Once I learned that I was able get connected quickly.

Now though, after a repeated VL 5.9 Light installation (with PC card out) and relatively short fiddling with VASM I am able to connect to my WPA access point but every once in a while the PC freezes, the adapter loses wifi connection despite the close proximity to the AP (~1m). Removing  the card instantly 'unfreezes' the system.

I am going to try my luck with 5.9 regular and maybe SOHO and hopefully I will be report back on my 'out of the box' success.

Cheers

Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: newt on October 20, 2008, 02:07:29 pm
~5 years ago my wife and I bought a new amd HP laptops, and at the same time bought a complete wireless setup (d-link airplus xtreme router with matching pcmcia cards; likely they were g650's).  Began using the wireless hardware and we started experiencing freezing; both computers were having the same problem - random freezing within a few minutes of using the wireless connection, however you could remove the pcmcia card and the system would come back to life (although it required a reboot to get the card working again and then the same circular situation would happen).  I tried everything I could to resolve the issue using the knowledge I had at the time and available windows tools/drivers.  As it turns out, nothing worked.  I remember searching for people having similar problems and determined that this was a common occurance on _some_ hardware.  Of everything I read, no one had developed a solution.  Luckily this was all within a few days of purchasing the hardware so we returned everything and bought a linksys setup; everything since then has been great.  The stock linksys firmware is a bit lacking but some third-party firmwares add plenty of features without much fuss.

My inclination is to think that you're running into this random hardware incompatibility with the d-link wireless card.  I hope that you are not because I don't believe there exists a solution to the problem, however be aware that this is a possibility.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: AndK on October 21, 2008, 02:21:27 pm
Thank you,

I am giving my Tecra to my wife. It will hopefully work with the g650 as it has been for those years. Sorted (sort of ;-))!

The task of chosing the right card for the T23 remains, though. I'll use the pointers given here and try my luck with some other Atheros based card.

Edit 27-10-08: I have unpacked a TP-Link brand PC card (lspci gives: Atheros AR5005G) and installed it. So far I experienced one several minutes log system freeze :-(. Perhaps I will give it another try in a fresh VL install.

Cheers
Andrzej
Title: Re: Best/easiest PCMCIA wireless adapter?
Post by: roxburd on March 18, 2009, 01:53:33 pm
I used the a EDUP/Atheros PCMCIA card with WPA/PSK. No problems.