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Connecting to a Wireless LAN with Linux, Part 1 - page 4

The Hardware Hokey-Pokey

  • January 30, 2005
  • By Carla Schroder
The odds are good that your distribution will recognize and activate your wireless card, so that all you have to do is enter the network settings. Most modern Linux distributions enable wireless support in the kernel, and include a selection of wireless drivers and utilities. Usually this is a separate package group at installation. You should also have the following utilities installed: First check your existing configuration:
$ /sbin/iwconfig
lo     no wireless extensions
eth0     no wireless extensions
eth1     IEEE 802.11 ESSID:" " Nickname:"Prism I"
       Mode:Managed Access Point: 00:00:00:00:00:00 Bit rate 11Mb/s
       Tx-Power=15 dBm Sensitivity:1/3
       Retry min limit:8 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
       Power Management:off
       Link Quality:0/92 Signal level:-68 dBm Noise level:-122 dBm
       Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
       Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

This tells us several useful things: the wireless card is at eth1, and it is configured to attach to any network--ESSID:" ". This command sets the ESSID to "any":

#iwconfig eth1 essid any
You may or may not be able to connect, depending on what access controls are configured on your wireless access point. It is a good idea to set up encryption, and multiple profiles for road warriors. This is covered in detail in Part 2 next week.
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