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SUSE 10 Linux--96% 64-Bit Notebook Bliss - page 3

Reviewing 64-bit SUSE 10

  • January 17, 2006
  • By Rob Reilly

While you are getting the Broadcom WiFi chip working just connect to the Internet using the on-board NIC card.

The Broadcom 802.11b/g WiFi chip in the laptop is not supported directly under SUSE Linux 10. The workaround is to use a Windows driver with ndiswrapper. Don't worry, it works great. Setup isn't hard, although there are quite a number of steps. The setup can all be carried out as root.

Download the 64-bit Broadcom driver file from the www.linuxant.com driver page to a safe place under one of your regular user directories. I'll use my directories as an example. You can extract the .SYS and INF files using unzip.

 root> cd /home/rreilly/software/broadcom
 root> unzip 64-bit_Broadcom_54g_Drivers.zip

The bundled ndiswrapper hasn't worked under 9.2, 9.3, or 10. The trick is to download and install from source. It may have something to do with the 64-bit binaries.

Download ndiswrapper-1.5.tar.gz from SourceForge to the parent of your /broadcom directory, untar it, and compile the program.

 root> cd /home/rreilly/software
 root> tar -xzvf  ndiswrapper-1.5.tar.gz
 root> cd ndiswrapper-1.5
 root> make all
 root> make install

I had no trouble compiling the new ndiswrapper, having loaded everything under the software selection in YAST (including all the development packages). You may need to go back and do that if you get errors.

You should add 'ndiswrapper' to the 'MODULES_LOADED_ON_BOOT' line (between the double quotes) in the /etc/sysconfig/kernel file. Then run depmod and modprobe.

 root> depmod -a
 root> modprobe ndiswrapper
 root> lsmod | grep ndiswrapper

This should make the kernel aware of ndiswrapper. Look for an ndiswrapper line in the lsmod listing to verify.

Next, start up ndiswrapper with the Broadcom driver using the following commands:

 root>  cd /home/rreilly/software/broadcom
 root> ndiswrapper -i netbc564.inf
 root> ndiswrapper -l

The '-l' option should give a "netbc564���driver present, hardware present" response, if everything is OK. You can double check to see that ndiswrapper and the Broadcom driver were loaded correctly, at the bottom of /var/log/messages file.

Finalize the ndiswrapper setup by writing a configuration for modprobe. This will let ndiswrapper and the Broadcom chip start together at boot time.

  root> ndiswrapper -m

We'll also need to create a network configuration file for the Broadcom chip.

Since the on-board NIC file was created during installation, I used it as a starting point for the Broadcom network file.

 root> cd /etc/sysconfig/network
 root> cp ifcfg-eth-id-[your 10/100 NIC MAC address] ifcfg-wlan0

Go to the KDE start icon and click System -> YaST -> Network Devices -> Network Card to configure the networking for the Broadcom chip (wlan0).

  1. On the Network Card configuration screen click the Change button.
  2. Select the Wireless Network card and then click the Edit button.
  3. Under the Host Name & Name Server button, fill in the machine name (my machine is CURLYAMD) and your DNS server addresses. I also filled in the domain search names.
  4. On the Wireless Network Card Configuration screen fill in the Operating Mode line with "Managed." Fill in the Network Name (ESSID) with "any."
  5. Click Next and Finish to get out of YaST.

Finish up by adding the following lines to the /etc/sysconfig/network/ifcfg-wlan0 file.

DHCLIENT_MODIFY_RESOLVE_CONF='yes'
DHCLIENT_SET_DEFAULT_ROUTE='yes'

You can then restart the network processes.

 root> rcnetwork restart

Check /var/log/messages to verify everything worked. You can to see that your access point/firewall/DHCP address was assigned correctly with ifconfig.

 root> ifconfig

You might need to use these commands if you have more than one access point in the area. Use these commands to get the Broadcom chip talking to your access point:

  root> iwlist wlan0 scan
  root> iwconfig wlan0 essid "[insert your AP essid here]"
  root> ifconfig wlan0 up

Wait about 10 seconds and you should be able to ping machines on both your LAN and the Internet.

  root> ifconfig

You should see the wlan0 entry with a valid IP address. If it looks good, you can log out of root.

Congratulations, you should now be able to ping network nodes, transfer files, browse pages and send/receive emails, over the Broadcom WiFi link.

The next time you boot the machine, the Broadcom link ought to come up automatically.

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