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Moving Closer to 802.11n - page 3

The Current State of Wi-Fi

  • August 27, 2007
  • By Carla Schroder

What about Linux 802.11n drivers? Currently the only ones available are newborn and experimental. A lot of users are reporting that they can get 802.11n wireless network interface cards running with Ndiswrapper, which is a clever wrapper script that lets you use the card's Windows drivers on Linux. A number of commercial access points are based on Linux, but so far that hasn't translated into nice drivers or utilities for Linux users.

I wasn't able to get any encouraging insights from my usual spies, so I am going to make a Bold Prediction: look to Dell to make the first big Linux 802.11n push. Lenovo already sells the Thinkpad T60 pre-loaded with SUSE Enterprise Desktop Linux, and it supports 802.11n, but it's a well-guarded secret. If I hadn't accidentally heard about it I never would have known it even existed. (Just for fun, try to find Linux laptops on Lenovo.com. Ha! Lots of luck.)

As the new Linux wireless subsystem continues to develop, we will definitely see excellent 802.11n support and good FOSS drivers. So we won't have to use nasty Windows binaries, we'll be able to build our own homegrown wireless access points, and no more hassles with closed, binary kernel modules. It's just going to take some time, so have patience; and even better, if you can contribute in some way to Linux wireless development, you will receive a warm welcome.

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This article originally appeared on Enterprise Networking Planet, a JupiterWeb site.

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