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A Writer's View of the Linux Wireless Dream, Part 1 - page 3

Wireless Dream, Picture the Scene...

  • June 2, 2003
  • By Rob Reilly

The first order of business was to get the stock card working, before I did any hardware hacking or modifications. Hardware hacking of the card will be described in the next story in this series. Since the SMC 2632 card was a Prism2 chip from Intersil, it was a given I was going to use the wlan-ng drivers. There were a few files that needed to be changed in order to get the card recognized and working properly under the Linux 2.4.18-4GB kernel.

The first file that had to be changed was /etc/modules.config. I added an entry for the wireless card.

alias wlan0 prism2_cs

 

And, I almost forgot to run depmod, as root.

depmod -a

I also created a file in /etc/sysconfig/network called ifcfg-wlan0. The card was set with DHCP, although you could easily use static IPs too. It looked like this:

DEVICE=wlan0
ONBOOT=no
BOOTPROTO=dhcp
USERCTL=yes
DHCLIENT_SET_DOWN_LINK=yes
STARTMODE=hotplug
MODE="Managed"
UNIQUE=""

 

Next was the config file in /etc/pcmcia directory. I had to make sure that the SMC2632 entry was bound to the prism2 card. It looked like:

card "SMC2632W"
manfid 0x0156, 0x0002
bind "prism2_cs"

The last file that needed editing was the wlan-ng.opts file in the /etc/pcmcia directory. I had to make sure the IS_ADHOC line said "no," like this.

IS_ADHOC=no
# y|n, y - adhoc, n - infrastructure

I also had to set the variables for Auth Type and DesiredSSID. I left the DesiredSSID empty so that it could just pick up the first access point it found. They looked like this:

AuthType="opensystem"     
# opensystem | sharedkey (requires WEP)
DesiredSSID=""

I didn't bother with WEP initially because my location was fairly isolated and I could accept the risk of a neighborhood hacker. This is something you will need to determine on your own, however. If you are in a corporate setting, then you will definitely need to read the wlan-ng documentation to set this security measure up.

WEP isn't all that great anyway, since programs like Airsnort can figure out the encryption keys. VPN sounds like a good start to securing a wireless link, but, I haven't started working with that yet. Perhaps in a later article.

With all the files edited, it was time to start up the stock PCMCIA card, grab an IP and see how it worked.

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