Getting Started with Wireless Network Technology
Part III: Adding Wireless to a Linux-Based Laptop or Notebook PC
Mike Angelo -- 28 January 2002 (c) -- Page 3
The Proxim Skyline 802.11b PC Card for Notebooks uses the Intersil (previously Harris Semiconductor) Prism2 chip. Thus, it's likely you could follow the same procedures described in this article to get most Prism2-based wireless PC Cards to run with Red Hat Linux 7.2 and perhaps other newer Linux distributions too.
The only other Linux distribution that we tried with the Skyline 11b PC Card wireless network adapter is Caldera OpenLinux 3.1. So far we have been unable to get the Skyline 11b PC Card to run under OpenLinux 3.1. Red Hat 7.2 has a newer kernel (2.4.7-10) than does OpenLinux 3.1 (2.4.2). That could be the problem -- kernel and driver incompatibility.
Tania Cantrell is a Public Relations Manager at Caldera. She told MozillaQuest Magazine that the older kernel in Caldera OpenLinux 3.1 (2.4.2) does not behave as well with wireless LAN devices as later [revisions] do. We are aware, however, that these cards do work with the 2.4.9 kernel on Caldera . . . in the next short while, Caldera will have another version of our OpenLinux product coming out . . . We can assure you that with the newer kernel the difficulty is overcome.
If you are having trouble running any wireless network PC Card with any Linux distribution, check the boot messages to see if PCMCIA services are being started after the boot process tries to load the Ethernet stuff. If so, you might wish to try reordering the boot sequence as we did above.
There are some links in the Resources section below that point to wireless PC Card drivers and tutorials for Linux.
In like manner, you might not be able to plug your laptop or notebook computer into a modem for Internet access every place in your home, office, or school environment where you might like to use your laptop or notebook computer. Or, you might have to disconnect and then re-connect to the Internet every time you drag your laptop or notebook from one place to another.
Of course you know this but the problem is that you prefer to use Linux on your laptop or notebook computer and you do not have a wireless-capable, Linux-based laptop or notebook computer.
Fortunately, some Linux distributions, such as Red Hat Linux 7.2 for example, support wireless PC Card network adapters whose vendors do not support Linux. Moreover third-party Linux drivers for some wireless PC Card network adapters are available. Even so, you still might have to do some tweaking such as modifying startup-scripts to get a wireless PC Card network adapter working on your Linux-based laptop or notebook computer.
In Part IV, we will look at installing a PCI wireless network adapter in a desktop computer. Stay tuned.
Proxim's suggested retail price for the Skyline 802.11b PC Card for Notebooks is $149.
Linux Wireless Lan Info and Drivers
AbsoluteValue Systems (Linux drivers)
Here are some books to help you with Linux and with networking. They cover different user levels, take different approaches, and discuss different Linux or networking features. Pick the book or books that suit your needs best.
For Wireless Networking:
Chapters 14-16 in Upgrading and Repairing Networks 3rd Edition, Que Books, ISBN 0-7897-2557-6. $60.
Chapters 13-15 in How Wireless Works, Que Books, ISBN 0-7897-2487-6. $30.
Red Hat Linux 7.2 Unleashed, SAMS, 0-672-32282-X. $50
UNIX Unleashed, 4th Ed., SAMS, 0-672-32251-X. $50
For Networking in General:
Complete Idiot's Guide to Networking Your Home, Que Books, ISBN 0-7897-1963-0. $17
Networking by Example, Que Books, 0-7897-2356-5. $38
Networking For Dummies, IDG Books, 0-7645-0772-9. $22.
Peter Norton's Complete Guide To Networking, Sams, ISBN 0-672-31593-9. $30
Samba Primer Plus, Sams, ISBN 0-672-21932-2. $35. (Use Samba to share Windows and Linux files on the same network.)
Sams Teach Yourself Windows Networking in 24 Hours, Sams, ISBN: 0-672-31475-4. $20
This Wired Home: The Microsoft Guide to Home Networking, 2nd Ed, Microsoft Press, ISBN 0-7356-1158-0. $30
Understanding the Network, A Practical Guide to Internetworking, New Riders, ISBN 0735709777. $40
Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, IDG Books, 0-7645-0347-2. $30.
The graphic above the article index is adapted from artwork on Proxim Skyline Web pages cited in the Resources section of this article
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