Ubuntu Linux 5.04 + notebook + WiFi = Works!

by Todd Ogasawara

Related link: http://ubuntulinux.org/

I haven't had a lot of success getting WiFi to work on notebook PCs running various versions of Linux in the past few years (various makes and models of notebook PCs and WiFi cards).

I have an old Dell Lattitude L400 with a Cisco Aironet 802.11b PC Card. It only has 256MB RAM (1 DIMM slot) on a Pentium 3 running at 700MHz and has been booting and running slowly even after a complete hard disk reformating and reinstalling Windows 2000 Professional.

My recollection is that Windows 2000 Professional sunsets at the end of June. And, since the notebook was running slowly anyway (probably weighed down by anti-virus, anti-spyware, etc. etc.), I thought I'd take another try at getting WiFi on a notebook working with a Linux distro. I've been pretty happy with Ubuntu Linux on a test desktop PC for a while. So, I thought I'd give it a try on the L400.

I tried the Ubuntu LiveCD first and was very happy to get the WiFi card connected to my wireless LAN with minimal effort.

So, I took the Ubuntu install CD and installed it on the L400's hard disk, setup the WiFi config again and finally have a nice little (4 pounds or so) notebook PC with working WiFi.
Ubuntu seems to run very comfortably with only 256MB RAM and a 10GB hard drive.

What's your Linux notebook PC WiFi experience been like?


2005-04-22 04:50:13
apple extreme != Linux wifi
I've known for sometime that the extreme "g" wifi cards in the apple machines don't have an open source driver, but tried Ubuntu & Kubuntu over the last two days hoping against hope. No luck. I'm tethered to my router right now ironically enough.

Apple (Broadcomm - makers of the cards) set your wifi free!

2005-04-22 07:10:39
Is your WIFi access point uses WEP?
I cannot get my notebook with Ubunty to connect to wireless no matter what I try - card (Lucent Orinoco) seems to be recognized but failed to obtain ip address from DHCP...
2005-04-23 00:02:22
wifi and linux (xandra 3.0)
I tried to get the wireless (INPROCOMM2220 - neti2220) working using ndiswrapper but NO USE.
The card comes with teh ACER ASPIRE 1801 notebook and works perfectly in WINXP.
I tied withMandrake 10.1, Mandrake MOVE, Knoppix 3.3 and 3.4 and UBUNTU 5.04 Live CD: the results.

Any help is welcome, because ACER says: We do not support LINUX.

2005-04-23 00:27:11
Is your WIFi access point uses WEP?
Yes, WEP is turned on. If you tried to connect using wifi0, try the eth1 (eth0 is wired ethernet port).
2005-04-23 10:54:36
wireless notebook
I have a IBM A2Om laptop 700 mz 12gb hard drive I am using a wpc11 ver3 linksys card and a dlink router. i tried mempis, ubuntu, fedora core 3,knoppix, Linspire 4.5 and 5-0 .Linspire and knoppix are the only ones that my card will work with and they both work without any effort on my part. Linspre is a very good operating system!
2005-04-24 18:27:52
Is your WIFi access point uses WEP?
I had the same problem with Ubuntu and found the solution by entering the WEP key in hexidecimal in the Ubuntu wireless adapter configuration.

I have a Dell Inspiron 4100 with an Orinoco Gold card that works flawlessly with Fedora but would not work with Ubuntu at all. I always enter the WEP key in XP and Fedora in ASCII but the AP and card will accept ASCII or hexidecimal.

It finally dawned on me to try hexidecimal and it worked.

If you're not deep into binary, hexidecimal, etc., you can convert the ASCII WEP key to hexidecimal here:

Simply enter the ASCII string and click Translate. Copy the hexidecimal WEP key down and enter it into Ubuntu.

Hope this helps and good luck with Linux.


2005-04-25 13:53:14
It just works
I never used a laptop during several days before. And never used WiFi, even for a minute.

The company I work in loaned a IBM ThinkPad with a Nokia WiFi card for my presentations & sprint in PyCon 2005.

The laptop came with Win XP, :(, but I resized the partition and installed Ubuntu.

Do you know all I had to make for WiFi to work? Nothing.

Yes, nothing. When I arrived to the conference, took the WiFi card, plugged it in the PCMCIA slot, and it just worked.

Fantastic, :)

. Facundo

Bitácora De Vuelo: http://www.taniquetil.com.ar/plog
PyAr - Python Argentina: http://www.python.org/ar/

2005-07-14 16:44:13
Is your WIFi access point uses WEP?
You can enter an ASCII password instead of a HEX string (fortunately, if you're using 128bit WEP...)

Prefix the string with s: in the WEP Key field in the Wireless Settings. This doesn't seem to be officially documented anywhere at the moment, but it worked for me.


2006-01-11 01:41:47
Configuring wifi (Topcom skyr@cer 4054G) in ubuntu 5.10
located the driver

You have to use the file mrv8335.inf which can be found in the win98 folder in the driver directory of the CD shipped with the Topcom wifi card. Copy the file to your hard drive. This is the only file of all .inf en .sys files on the CD that has worked under my HW config.

Use NDISWrapper to install the driver
In het terminalvenster, ga naar de directory waar je de WiFi driver hebt gesaved, en run:

sudo ndiswrapper -i mrv8335.inf

Run ndiswrapper -m
Run modprobe ndiswrapper

Check the installation by running the following command: sudo ndiswrapper -l ,and when the installation was successfull, you should get something back like

Installed ndis drivers:
mrv8335 driver present, hardware present

Now run iwconfig. You should get a list of all available network adapters, also containing an entry "wlan0" containing details of your connection

The following section is two-fold:

Either you use the ubuntu-embedded network-adminGUI (worked perfect for me as long as I did not use 128-bit encryption, but 64-bit encryption), or use the vi editor to manually edit the interfaces file

Network-admin GUI:
open network-admin.
The wifi connection should be listed.
First click on properties.
Enter the (e)ssid of your wifi infrastructure and check the activate checkbox.
Enter your hexadecimal network key (64-bit).
Confirm this screen.
Click on the activate button.
Your card should come alive.
Open your firefox browser to check the result.

Editing network interface file manually
This file is located in /etc/network should look like this after you edited it.
# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# This is a list of hotpluggable network interfaces.
# They will be activated automatically by the hotplug subsystem.
mapping hotplug
script grep
map eth0

iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wireless_keymode open
wireless_key XXXXXXXXXenter here your 64-bit network keyXXXXXXXXXXXX
wireless_mode managed
wireless_essid XXXXXenter here your essidXXXXXX
wireless_nick XXXXXXXXXXX

auto wlan0

Good luck!

Jeroen Devroede

The most usefull link I found with excellent information on this topic is http://wiki.ubuntu.org.cn/WiFiHowto

2006-05-10 07:48:01
terrible. i can't get it to install for the life of me. its active, i've put in the information manuall - there appears to be no search for networks option. and it just doesn't connect. it doesn't appear to try. i've no idea what to do about it.

2006-05-10 08:16:14
is useless as well. its full of requests to people to write things for if the most obvious possible advice doesn't work. great.
Todd Ogasawara
2006-05-10 09:33:14
I've posted detailed information for Ubuntu 5.04 at MobileViews Q&A. Click on the WiFi category in the right sidebar. Ubuntu 5.10 sees my Cisco Aironet card in my Dell Lattitude notebook but incorrectly turns on Eth1. However, if you look at the indicator in the top status bar, it is actually Eth2. So, I manually changed the network setting to point WiFi to Eth2 and everything worked ok.