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Author Topic: Wireless network won't do anything  (Read 5487 times)
GrannyGeek
Packager
Vectorian
****
Posts: 2567


« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2007, 04:24:30 pm »

I did the comparisons between PCLinuxOS and VL and couldn't find anything to explain why I can't connect with VL. It's rather difficult to post things here because I have no Internet connection from the VL partition, so I copy and paste into text files, but transferring them from a LiveCD to my hard drive seems to have some quirks.

When my attempts at comparisons came up empty, I decided to try more LiveCDs to see if any ohers could get a wireless connection. Results: the only other Live CD that was able to connect was Mandriva One--not surprising, since it's the foundation for PCLinuxOS. They both use a very similar wizard for setting up a wireless connection. All others I tried--Puppy, DSL, Knoppix, Freespire--couldn't get a working wireless connection. Most offered only WEP, not WPA, and while I could probably install and set up wpa_supplicant, I saw no point to it. PCLOS and Mandriva include wpa and assist nicely in setting it up. I also tried Ubuntu and ZenWalk; neither one would load on this computer. By the way, PCLOS and Mandriva have a really nice GUI for setting up wireless. Maybe VL could use something from it.

Both PCLinuxOS and Mandriva had the problem of losing the wireless connection easily. I don't know why, as the signal is very strong and I've never lost the wireless connection in Windows Vista. But PCLOS and Mandriva would regularly drop it, and sometimes it was easy to reconnect, other times it just plain refused to reconnect and I would probably have had to reboot (which I didn't bother with). If it won't work right without constant fiddling, I'm not interested in babying it along.

So I've concluded that the Linux distros I've tried either can't make a connection or can't make a connection that stays up.

Without my wireless connection, I wouldn't be able to use Linux on this computer in its own partition. But even if I could get a good wireless connection, I still have the problem of no sound coming from the speakers. In every single case, from VL through ALL the LiveCDs, there is no sound coming from the speakers. Every single distro identified the card correctly and loaded the proper driver (snd-hda-intel) and they all have the same controls in the mixer (only Master and Capture). They *think* they are playing sound, but no sound comes from either the laptop's speakers or outside speakers. I was unable to find a single post on the Web that showed that anyone with the same hardware was successful in getting sound. So if ALL the distros show the same (lack of) results, I must conclude that at this time, Linux can't produce sound on this laptop. No sound is an absolute deal breaker.

Sooooo...
I'm abandoning further attempts to get wireless and sound working. I'll probably keep the partition and use it for beta testing 64-bit VectorLinux.

Fortunately, VL in my VirtualBox virtual machine under Vista is working very well. I'm writing this from VL in VirtualBox. When I run it full screen, it looks just like VL installed on a real partition and the computer has enough horse power to run the virtual machine without much of a performance penalty. Thank goodness for VirtualBox!

Thanks to everyone who tried to help. I'm sorry I have to give up, but I've spent many days on this problem and am no closer to a solution than I was on Day One. I have no more time to spend on it.
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

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
bigpaws
Vectorian
****
Posts: 1856


« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2007, 05:06:03 pm »

For all the time you have spent looking it appears that the
module for your card are not good at this point. I do believe
that the module will exist in the future.

The last time I ran into this I spent an incredible amount of
time trying to resolve the problem, as posted earlier it was at
a later time resolved. I hope this will be the case for you.

Bigpaws
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GrannyGeek
Packager
Vectorian
****
Posts: 2567


« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2007, 06:02:22 pm »

For all the time you have spent looking it appears that the
module for your card are not good at this point. I do believe
that the module will exist in the future.

The last time I ran into this I spent an incredible amount of
time trying to resolve the problem, as posted earlier it was at
a later time resolved. I hope this will be the case for you.

I'm also hoping that both wireless and sound will be solved in the future. Fortunately, thanks to the virtual machine, I am not without VectorLinux on this laptop. In fact, I spend far more time in Linux than I do in Windows, albeit the VM is running under Windows.
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

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
Tigerwolf
Vectorite
***
Posts: 152



« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2007, 09:30:10 pm »

I'm abandoning further attempts to get wireless and sound working. I'll probably keep the partition and use it for beta testing 64-bit VectorLinux.

Try this:

Turn off all encryption on your wireless router.   See what IP range it assigns to the wireless and local wired ethernet ports (Likely 192.168.0.xxx, but some may have another number instead of 0 in the third octet.)    Also note the channel number and ESSID string it's assigning for wireless access.

Do the following as root.

On the linux box, look at /var/log/messages or dmesg to see what interface name it assigns to the wireless driver.  (Likely wlan0, which is assumed in commands below.  Adjust commands accordingly.)

Do "iwconfig" by itself and make sure the wireless interface is shown.

If you have a wired ethernet interface (likely eth0), disconnect it.

Type 'route' and note what you see.    There may be some routes associated with eth0.

Type  'killall dhcpcd'  and repeat that until you see 'no process killed'.  This makes sure no lurking dhcpcd processes are trying to get IP assignments.

Type 'ifconfig eth0 down'  This will get get rid of any conflicting eth0 wired routes.

Type 'route' again.   You should see just the loopback  entry to the 'lo' interface.

Set up the wireless parameters with iwconfig (assuming wlan0 is the name):

iwconfig wlan0 channel N      (Put whatever channel number the router's using for N.)

iwconfig wlan0 essid any        (or enter the router's ESSID - put " " around name if it has
                                               spaces)  NOTE: VL wireless scripts do *not* handle ESSIDs
                                               with spaces properly!

iwconfig wlan0 mode managed            (Sets managed mode, which router should be using.)

iwconfig wlan0 rate auto       (Finds a rate to use.  I've seen auto not work
                                              on some drivers. You can try 11M or 1M also which may be                                 
                                              more stable than higher numbers. Once things work, you
                                              can play with others.)

Now type 'iwconfig' by itself and see if values match what you entered.   If not, you can try

iwconfig wlan0 commit     (some cards/drivers may need this.   mine don't.)

Once you see what's set is what you need, try bringing up the interface with ifconfig (or dhcpcd as described later).

ifconfig wlan0 192.168.0.100  up     (pick some unused IP that's within the network that the           
                                                         router assigns to the local side)

At this point, run 'iwconfig' again.   If successful, you'll see it say it's associated with the wireless router's wireless side MAC address.

If it's associated, look at 'route' again.   You should see a route line for the router's network that's using wlan0.   The network shown would be 192.168.0.0 in this case, which means all packets to 192.168.0.xxx go via wlan0.

At this point, you should be able to ping the IP the router's using for it's local side.  You will *NOT* be able to access the Internet yet, even if that works.

If you can ping the router's IP, now add a default route:

route add default gw 192.168.0.1 wlan0      (Put the router's IP for the gateway address.  This
                                                                      says all packets not explicitly routed elsewhere
                                                                      go to the gateway [router's IP] via wlan0.)

At this point, you'd be on the Internet, but you'll need to manually enter DNS server IP information into /etc/resolv.conf file in order to access sites by name rather than raw IP numbers.

If all this works, you can skip several steps above and have dhcpcd bring up the route, set the default route, and get the dns info for you.  At the point mentioned above, instead of bringing the interface up with ifconfig, just do:

dhcpcd wlan0

This may sit for some time as it tries to do its thing.    If the program finishes successfully, run  'ifconfig' to see what IP it got, and 'route' to see the routing is ok.

Hope this helps some.
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=^_^=  Tigerwolf

Running: Vector Linux 5.8 Standard   12-16-2006
GrannyGeek
Packager
Vectorian
****
Posts: 2567


« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2007, 07:45:02 pm »

Thanks for the suggestions, Tigerwolf. I think I've already tried all of that in my attempts. Believe me, I've tried a LOT. And yes, I turned off all encryption on one attempt to get this going. It didn't help.

I have a few problems with your suggestions. For one, I don't use dhcp. I use fixed IP addresses that I assign. One frustration I've had is that most of the directions I've found assume dhcp. Gee, couldn't *someone* acknowledge that not everyone uses dhcp? That's not aimed at you personally but is my general complaint.

Another point: I don't use a wireless router. My router is wired. I use an access point for wireless. The access point is a wireless router with the routing functions disabled. It works in Windows--100%, every time.

Another problem: I use WPA encryption. That makes things more difficult. I will not use anything but WPA.

Another problem: When I have had a WPA connection through the only two LiveCDs that could do it (PCLinuxOS and Mandriva One), neither could maintain the connection for more than a few minutes. It would just disappear and then I'd have to try to get it going again, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. In Windows the connection never drops.

It's just not worth the effort, especially since the sound doesn't work, either. I'm writing this in my VectorLinux installed in VirtualBox under Vista. Everything works perfectly in the virtual machine.

I'll print out your message in case I get the inspiration to try again (unlikely<g>). Thanks again.
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

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
Tigerwolf
Vectorite
***
Posts: 152



« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2007, 04:28:55 pm »

Thanks for the suggestions, Tigerwolf. I think I've already tried all of that in my attempts. Believe me, I've tried a LOT. And yes, I turned off all encryption on one attempt to get this going. It didn't help.

I have a few problems with your suggestions. For one, I don't use dhcp. I use fixed IP addresses that I assign. One frustration I've had is that most of the directions I've found assume dhcp. Gee, couldn't *someone* acknowledge that not everyone uses dhcp? That's not aimed at you personally but is my general complaint.

The first part of the info where the interface is brought up with ifconfig assumed and inserted a static ip.  That's why I put info about doing dhcp later. 

It's always best when troubleshooting to start with the most basic configuration (no encryption, static IP, etc). and once that works, you can layer on other features.   I agree that assuming dhcp is a pain, but VL's normal wired setup under vasm allows for either static or dynamic IP assignment.  I don't use the VL wireless scripts because they didn't handle needed ESSIDs properly, so can't comment on them regarding dhcp.   I know wifi-radar lets you use static IPs.

Quote
Another point: I don't use a wireless router. My router is wired. I use an access point for wireless. The access point is a wireless router with the routing functions disabled. It works in Windows--100%, every time.

A wireless router is just an access point and router in one box.   If the access point is just a bridge into the router, then it's functioning the same, by just passing packets back and forth to the router.   Some access points can do functions like assigning IPs, but mostly they are just another, but wireless, port into the router.

Quote
Another problem: I use WPA encryption. That makes things more difficult. I will not use anything but WPA.

Again, turning off WPA was just until you get a basic link going.  Otherwise, you're not sure if your fighting connection or encryption issues.

Quote
Another problem: When I have had a WPA connection through the only two LiveCDs that could do it (PCLinuxOS and Mandriva One), neither could maintain the connection for more than a few minutes. It would just disappear and then I'd have to try to get it going again, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. In Windows the connection never drops.

This could be because the linux driver picks (or forces) a data rate too high for what's reliable.   Often if you examine the actual data rate being used, it's far less than the 54Mbps(g) or 11Mbps(b) maximums.  That's why I suggesed manually setting the rate quite low rather than 'auto' while troubleshooting.   

Quote
It's just not worth the effort, especially since the sound doesn't work, either. I'm writing this in my VectorLinux installed in VirtualBox under Vista. Everything works perfectly in the virtual machine.

I know how you feel.   I fought with one wireless card for months before stumbling onto the right firmware to make it work.

It's been one of my rants for a long time that Linux will not gain truly wide user acceptance until the basic issues of getting wireless, sound, and other basics that 'just work'.   I know a lot of vendors don't help much, but even those that do are constantly chasing a moving target  with all the distributions and fast kernal changes that obsolete modules quickly.  Hopefully, a simplified and more stable ABI will be developed to let vendors supply drivers that will work across all the myriad versions.
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=^_^=  Tigerwolf

Running: Vector Linux 5.8 Standard   12-16-2006
saulgoode
Vectorite
***
Posts: 340



« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2007, 05:03:06 pm »

It's been one of my rants for a long time that Linux will not gain truly wide user acceptance until the basic issues of getting wireless, sound, and other basics that 'just work'.   I know a lot of vendors don't help much, but even those that do are constantly chasing a moving target  with all the distributions and fast kernal changes that obsolete modules quickly.  Hopefully, a simplified and more stable ABI will be developed to let vendors supply drivers that will work across all the myriad versions.

That is not very likely
.

Though the rest of your post is very sound advice with which I heartily agree.
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A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.
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