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Connecting to a Wireless LAN with Linux, Part 2 - page 5

Getting Online

  • February 7, 2005
  • By Carla Schroder

Because wireless adapter manufacturers like to use different chipsets in the exact same model line and never tell you, you may be forced to figure it out for yourself, like when you replace a Windows installation with Linux. Or you might want to haul your trusty Knoppix CD to the store and find out what's installed before purchasing a new PC. Or you just need to see the card information to use in configuration.

Use the pcmcia-cs package to discover the radio chipset in PCMCIA cards, and ordinary old lscpi for PCI adapters. This pcmcia-cs command reads the hardware information for all plugged-in PCMCIA wireless adapters, even if the drivers are not installed:

# cardctl ident
Socket 0:
         no product info available
Socket 1:
         product info: "Lucent Technologies", "WaveLAN/IEEE", "Version 01.01", ""
         manfid: 0x0156, 0x0002
         function: 6 (network)

Sometimes this does not tell you what you need to know, so as a last resort pop the card out and copy the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) ID number. Take this to the FCC search page; this will tell you everything about the device. Look for the "Operational Description" to find the chipset.

Before using lspci, run the update-pciids command as root to update the /usr/share/misc/pci.ids list. Then use lspci:

$ /sbin/lspci
...
02:07.0 Network controller: Intersil Corporation Prism 2.5 Wavelan Chipset (rev 01)
...
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