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Author Topic: Wireless Networking with RT61 chipset card  (Read 5481 times)
mithion
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Posts: 53



« on: July 04, 2007, 07:30:44 am »

I have several problems with configuring this card.  First off, I would like to say that I have been successful in making my linksys RT61 based card with the linux drivers provided by Ralink.  In the process though, other features of the wireless configuration tools in vector linux do not work. 

My first problem is that the interface doesn't work at boot.  Using the lsmod command, I see that the rt61 module is loaded, but it is either bogus or non functional since I can't get the interface to work.  Secondly, the wifi-radar tool no longer works to scan for network access points.  It crashes immediately after being executed.  An error message is quickly flashed in the terminal, but it disappears too quickly for me to see anything. 

Third, when I use the command "ifconfig ra0 down" to shutdown the wireless interface, nothing happens.  The interface remains "alive".  Now I believe this is caused by the ifplugd subroutine.  Because this subroutine is running in the background, it either blocks the ifconfig command from turning down the interface or possibly ifplugd automatically re initiates it immediately.

Now when I want to use "ifplugd stop", I get an error message saying one of the interfaces is still running.  The only workaround I've figured out so far is toll manually kill the two ifplugd process running both network interfaces.  After I've killed ifplugd, after I've shutdown the interfaces, I can then remove the bogus rt61 module.

To reload the module, I run "/sbin/insmod" on the file I compiled from the Ralink drivers and then turn the interface up with "ifconfig ra0 up".  I then proceed to use vwifi-connect (in manual mode) and enter the necessary information for the access point I wish to connect to.  Only then does my network and internet work.  I would like to add that the network configuration tool in VASM did not work either to configure the network information.

I would like to know how to configure my system correctly to load the right module automatically and connect to the right access point without doing all theses steps manually each time. 
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gamfa
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2007, 12:50:18 pm »

Quote
An error message is quickly flashed in the terminal, but it disappears too quickly for me to see anything.

Check the logs in /var/log to see what they say about this. It would probably show in /var/log/messages
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rbistolfi
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Posts: 2290


« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2007, 12:54:24 pm »

Quote
I would like to know how to configure my system correctly to load the right module automatically and connect to the right access point without doing all theses steps manually each time.

You can add all the commands needed to connect at the end of your /etc/rc.d/rc.local file with the text editor of your choice.
You need to be root to do that.
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
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mithion
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Posts: 53



« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2007, 01:50:49 pm »

Ok, I figured out something.  Apparently, and update related to python and gtk broke the wifi-radar program.  The way I was able to fix it was to install two additional packages that were somehow leftout in the update.  This thread discusses the problem.

http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3299.0

The next thing I figured out was that the module rt61 that was loaded at boot was indeed the good module I needed.  Once Wifi-radar was repaired, I was able to use it to connect to the appropriate network without reloading the module.  I would like to add that the wireless configuration tools in VASM do not appear to work for me.  But as long as Wifi-radar works, I'm good.

The last thing I would like to know is how to configure my computer to use wifi-radar and connect to the correct network automatically from boot. 
Quote
You can add all the commands needed to connect at the end of your /etc/rc.d/rc.local file with the text editor of your choice.

I'm not sure how to configure my rc.local file.  How is this done?
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rbistolfi
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2007, 06:31:55 am »

That file is executed at each boot. You just add the command you want to run at the end of the file with a text editor, as root. For example "modprobe xx" will insert the xx module.

Quote
The last thing I would like to know is how to configure my computer to use wifi-radar and connect to the correct network automatically from boot.

I dont know if this can be done, I am not a wireless expert. But you can have several settings on wifi-radar, once for each access point you regular use, and use the one you need to connect just with a few clicks.
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
Jorge Luis Borges, Avatars of the Tortoise.

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Jumalauta!!
mithion
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Posts: 53



« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2007, 10:39:37 am »

Ok, after working with XFCE for a while, I wanted to give KDE a shot to see if it was better.  So I pop the VL 5.8 SOHO cd and load the whole thing.  I recompiled the drivers and loaded the appropriate module rt61.  Now I have a various configuration problems.  Wifi-radar works in the sense that the program loads up and everything, but it fails to connect to the access point. 

I also tried to use the configuration stuff in VASM.  I give it all the necessary information and try to connect.  It eventually tells me I connected to the network, but the internet still doesn't work.  I also tried using the How-to

http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum2/index.php?topic=1282.0

and manually enter the information using iwconfig.  Well, I get a very weird result with this method.  If I use the command
Code:
iwconfig ra0 essid <my essid>
and then use
Code:
iwconfig ra0
to get the information from that interface, it's as if it didn't record the information I just gave it.  I have been plagued by network/internet problems with this distro and I really don't know why.  Even when I type
Code:
ifconfig  ra0 down
, the interface remains up. 

I guess my question is, how do I configure my network once the drivers are installed?  Am I missing packages that need to be loaded for the whole thing to work?
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easuter
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2007, 11:01:55 am »

What drivers are you using? The ones from Ralink's site are crap (I'm assuming you are using those because of the ra0 interface).

Pleas check this thread (closer to the end) there is info about using improved RT61 drivers from serialmonkey:

http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3311.0

The driver tarball mentioned in that thread is a handpicked CVS release that is very stable.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2007, 11:03:31 am by easuter » Logged

mithion
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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2007, 02:31:54 pm »

Sorry about the long delay.  I have several things to report on my findings.  First of all, I wish to second this statement.
Quote
The ones from Ralink's site are crap
The last few days, I have been working intensively on trying to make the stupid Ralink drivers work.  I changed the modprobe.conf, I changed the ifplugd.conf, I tried to learn how wifi-radar works with profiles, I tried to learn how VL works with profiles through VASM (btw, I found a strange bug with VASM in the wireless profile configuration on which I wish to elaborate a little bit later), I tried manually loading the access point information needed to connect to it using the old school method of iwconfig (another weird bug occurred here which I will discuss later), I tried looking into the rc.inet1 and rc.wireless scripts to see if I couldn't change a few things to make it work... etc.  In the end, I failed miserably.  Although the ralink module was loaded, and the ra0 interface was up, I could not consistently connect to the access point.  I say "consistently" because on 2 or 3 occasions, it worked.  But I never figured out what I did to connect.  I wasn't able to reproduce the feat every time.  So I will conclude that either the drivers were somehow faulty and worked randomly (if this is the case, Ralink is sadistic towards their customers), or the entire networking scheme in VL was corrupted and unable to correctly use the rt61 module as it was suppose to.  The latter is unlikely so I'm leaning towards the former. 

Now on to the two weird bugs I encountered.  Let me begin with the VASM profile bug.  My particular access point is configured with a WEP security encryption.  Now when a profile is edited in VASM, as expected, it let's you choose the type of encryption the particular connection will be facing.  And since WEP is very common, this choice is offered.  Now here's the strange part.  Every time I would want to look at the profile configuration I created, the security scheme would magically change to WPA.  So I would change it back to WEP and save and then load it again.... and BAM, back to WPA again.  Now I tried to go in the text file in the /etc/wireless/ folder and edit the "myessid".essid.conf file and manually change the encryption to WEP, it didn't matter.  VASM would change it back to WPA automatically.  I don't know if it's suppose to do that, or if this consists of a bug, but it really was a personal annoyance.

The second bug I wish to discuss is the functionality of iwconfig.  From the brilliant wireless card HOWTO written by easuter, I learned that you're suppose to be able to manually enter the connection information using this command.  Since I was having a hard time with the "James Bond" gui tools, I figured I'd give the good old tried and true command line method a try.  Well, I was surprised to find out that entering commands such as
Code:
iwconfig ra0 essid "myessid"
or
Code:
iwconfig ra0 key XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXblablabla
seemed to have no effect whatsoever.  I would type in iwconfig ra0, and the fields all remained blank (except for the "Nick" field which contained the essid of my access point).  The "essid", "key" etc, all remained blank.  I was truly puzzled.  So I pop the manual for iwconfig, and eventually learn that iwconfig can be configured to operate in two ways.  One way is some type of ESSID promiscuous mode that's designed to connect to any access point available.  This is probably useful for laptops which are constantly on the go.  The second mode is one where you specify an access point, and you computer will be configured to connect to only that particular one.  So I figure that if iwconfig is currently configured in promiscuous mode, that might be the reason it's not saving the essid information I'm feeding it.  So I use the following command to enable the ESSID checking.
Code:
iwconfig ra0 essid on
Then after pressing "enter", the unthinkable occurred.  A massive crash of the system which reboots my computer immediately.  We are talking about a complete bypass of the init 6 run level, directly to the bios diagnostics screen.  I thought I'd mention this as a pretty significant bug.

All in all, I continued to work on the problem a little bit more until I got completely fed up, and decided to reinstall the system.  I then followed the advice of easuter using the serialmonkey drivers and boy is that a different game.  We are talking about 2-3 minutes from download to having the module loaded on the kernel.  Then I crossed my fingers and popped wifi-radar up to connect to a the access point.  After entering all the appropriate information, I clicked on connect, and then I nearly cried.  It was so beautiful.  A working connection on the first try.  No gimmicks, no problems... zip... none.  Well, I must congratulate the guys at serialmonkey.  They did a magnificent job with the driver.  It just works.  Here, let me say it again.  It just works.  So for all you people who are using the rt61 chipset, there is hope, and it's called the rt2x00 project.  Don't bother with Ralink drivers.  They are coded even more poorly than Winblows.  I wish to thank easuter for directing me towards those drivers.  I love you man.... ok not really, but you still rock.  Awesome job with VL, you've made me a believer!
« Last Edit: July 28, 2007, 02:35:09 pm by mithion » Logged
rbistolfi
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2007, 04:04:56 pm »

I guess that is another point to open source  Smiley
I am glad you got it working
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
Jorge Luis Borges, Avatars of the Tortoise.

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Jumalauta!!
easuter
Global Moderator
Vectorian
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Posts: 2160



« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2007, 01:19:15 am »

Quote from: mithion
I then followed the advice of easuter using the serialmonkey drivers and boy is that a different game. We are talking about 2-3 minutes from download to having the module loaded on the kernel.  Then I crossed my fingers and popped wifi-radar up to connect to a the access point.  After entering all the appropriate information, I clicked on connect, and then I nearly cried.  It was so beautiful.  A working connection on the first try.  No gimmicks, no problems... zip... none.  Well, I must congratulate the guys at serialmonkey.  They did a magnificent job with the driver.  It just works.  Here, let me say it again.  It just works.  So for all you people who are using the rt61 chipset, there is hope, and it's called the rt2x00 project.

Hehe, yeah, the serialmonkey team really do clean up those drivers very well.
However, even though Ralink's original drivers were crap, they were fundamental in making the serialmokey team's work possible in this space of time, by being open source. Had the drivers been closed source, the RT61 chip would have had to be reverse engineered in order to create an open source driver.
So this is actually a classic case of a corporation (and its users!) benefiting from releasing open source drivers.  Wink

Glad its working for you Smiley

BTW, the howto needs some updating to include this information.
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mithion
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Posts: 53



« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2007, 08:51:54 am »

Does anybody know why the iwconfig command didn't record the information I was feeding it?

PS:  I wish to apologize to Ralink.  I came down kinda hard on their case.  I was just angry for the time I wasted trying to make it work.  I really appreciate them having linux drivers even if they don't work well.  They just need to work on improving the implementation.
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uelsk8s
Administrator
Vectorian
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Posts: 2504



« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2007, 07:59:10 am »

Does anybody know why the iwconfig command didn't record the information I was feeding it?

PS:  I wish to apologize to Ralink.  I came down kinda hard on their case.  I was just angry for the time I wasted trying to make it work.  I really appreciate them having linux drivers even if they don't work well.  They just need to work on improving the implementation.
I have ben trying to figure this out for you, and I think i have it traced back to an old libiw file.
can you try this package http://vectorlinux.osuosl.org/veclinux-5.8/testing/net/wireless_tools-28-i586-5vl58.tlz
download it and use "upgradepkg wireless_tools-28-i586-5vl58.tlz" to install it
then let us know if it fixed the problem for you
Thanks,
Uelsk8s
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Cohan
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Posts: 4


« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2007, 11:59:09 am »

I'm thinking of changing to VL on my laptop. I tired the Live CD, but my RT61-based wlan did not work out-of-the-box. I know this was a serious pain to get working in SuSE almost a year ago, so I wonder how hard it is to get it to work in VL today.
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lagagnon
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WWW
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2007, 03:32:11 pm »

Nothing like trying it out to see how it goes....If it is not normally detected with a VL Standard or SOHO install then there are lots of resources and we are here to help you. I also found this method for that chipset:
http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/linux-install-and-configure-dlink-dwl-g-520-wireless-lan-pci-card.html
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GrannyGeek
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Posts: 2567


« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2007, 05:01:35 pm »

If it is not normally detected with a VL Standard or SOHO install then there are lots of resources and we are here to help you.

Alas, those resources haven't helped me with the Realtek 8185 Extensible Wireless Device. Sometimes you just hit a dead end.
--GrannyGeek
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Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
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