Fry’s are doing a pretty good offer on the DLink DWL-G510. This wireless-G PCI card works using the atheros linux driver. I bought mine for $37.99, but there’s an additional $20 rebate which drops the price to under $20 ;-)
I just did an ‘emerge –sync’ from Gentoo, which is a pretty good network test, and it showed 145 Kbytes/sec download speed, so I’m pretty happy with the card.
Some notes on Installation
The following are kernel config requirements for building the atheros driver :
These enable support for wireless in the kernel, and also enable linking a few crypto calls for WEP support in the driver. You should build, install and reboot with your new kernel at this point !!! If you don’t you may see errors when you build the atheros driver.
To download and build the driver, on Gentoo, you simply type ‘emerge -a madwifi-driver’. When I did this, the package was masked by ~x86, implying it is still considered unstable. However, it seems to work good for me in a 2.6.9 kernel, so if you want to install it, use :
ACCEPT_KEYWORDS=”~x86″ emerge -a madwifi-driver wireless-tools
The second package on the command-line above builds the wireless tools you’ll need to configure the card.
Once these packages have downloaded and been built, do an lsmod to see if they loaded. You may see a listing from lsmod that looks like :
Module Size Used by
wlan_wep 5440 1
ath_pci 49824 0
ath_rate_onoe 6696 1 ath_pci
wlan 100028 4 wlan_wep,ath_pci,ath_rate_onoe
ath_hal 146576 2 ath_pci
nvidia 3458748 12
If you don’t, then the following worked for me to load the drivers :
# modprobe ath_hal
# modprobe ath_pci
Both commands should complete silently. If you get errors, try typing :
# dmesg | less
This will display a list of messages including kernel, driver and module messages. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and look for why the modules failed to load. If the modules built cleanly, then this *should* work.
Note that you can use the lspci command to list the devices found by GNU/Linux :
0000:00:00.0 Host bridge: nVidia Corporation nForce3 250Gb Host Bridge (rev a1)
0000:00:01.0 ISA bridge: nVidia Corporation: Unknown device 00e0 (rev a2)
0000:00:01.1 SMBus: nVidia Corporation nForce 250Gb PCI System Management (rev a1)
0000:00:02.0 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation CK8S USB Controller (rev a1)
0000:00:02.1 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation CK8S USB Controller (rev a1)
0000:00:02.2 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation CK8S USB Controller (rev a2)
0000:00:05.0 Bridge: nVidia Corporation CK8S Ethernet Controller (rev a2)
0000:00:06.0 Multimedia audio controller: nVidia Corporation nForce3 250Gb AC’97 Audio Controller (rev a1)
0000:00:08.0 IDE interface: nVidia Corporation CK8S Parallel ATA Controller (v2.5) (rev a2)
0000:00:0a.0 IDE interface: nVidia Corporation CK8S Serial ATA Controller (v2.5) (rev a2)
0000:00:0b.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation nForce3 250Gb AGP Host to PCI Bridge (rev a2)
0000:00:0e.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation nForce3 250Gb PCI-to-PCI Bridge (rev a2)
0000:00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] HyperTransport Technology Configuration
0000:00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Address Map
0000:00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] DRAM Controller
0000:00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Miscellaneous Control
0000:01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV34 [GeForce FX 5200] (rev a1)
0000:02:08.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications, Inc.: Unknown device 001a (rev 01)
0000:02:0a.0 Multimedia video controller: Conexant Winfast TV2000 XP (rev 05)
0000:02:0a.2 Multimedia controller: Conexant: Unknown device 8802 (rev 05)
If you still have errors getting the modules to load, check the following :
- did you configure and build your kernel correctly ?
- did you reboot ?
- did you build the madwifi drivers ?
Skimping on any of these steps may cause problems.
Configuring the Card
It’s not too hard to configure these cards. I use WEP for privacy on my network, and have retained the default ESSID of NETGEAR. I use a NETGEAR WGR614v4 wireless router.
First verify that you get something from running iwconfig :
eth0 no wireless extensions.
ath0 IEEE 802.11g ESSID:”NETGEAR”
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.462 GHz Access Point: xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
Bit Rate:54 Mb/s Tx-Power:50 dBm Sensitivity=0/3
Retry:off RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
Encryption key:xxxx-xxxx-xx Security mode:restricted
Link Quality=26/94 Signal level=-69 dBm Noise level=-95 dBm
Rx invalid nwid:295361 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:84 Invalid misc:84 Missed beacon:0
If you don’t get something for ath0, which is the atheros driver, then you need to go back a stage.
If you got something similar, here’s a minimal set of commands to get you up and running :
# iwconfig ath0 mode Managed
# iwconfig ath0 ESSID NETGEAR
# iwconfig ath0 key 00112233