Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset etc?

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Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset etc?

Postby kcy29581 » Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:33 pm

Hi all,

I require straight answers to questions:
- If I want to stick to a wireless vendor for Linux (as I have been doing with Linksys products for Windows) which is the best? Linksys, Netgear, Belkin or D-Link or other? Obviously the best thing would be for a vendor to say: "I support Open Source, here are the drivers, etc, and our hardware will always work with Linux!"
The above may be wishful thinking, but seriously, which is the best vendor for Linux?
Ndiswrapper is a fine approach, but does not always work nicely. Native drivers/modules are best.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I am trying to get my laptop wireless with Linux (either PCMCIA or USB-wise), and the rest of my home network pc's.

Thanks
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RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset etc?

Postby Dave2 » Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:59 pm

I own this 802.11g PCMCIA card, which uses the rt2500 chipset. There are GPLd drivers for the rt2400 and rt2500 chipsets, based on code released by Ralink (the chipset manufacturer). As they're not (yet?) part of the kernel, they can be a bit tricky to install - especially if you don't have an existing network connection (as you need to install kernel headers to compile them) - but once they're working, they work well

As an added bonus, it comes with an (ugly) Qt-based GUI config tool, which is essentially a port of the Windows config software.

There's also a fairly comprehensive list of supported cards at http://linux-wless.passys.nl/ .
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RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset etc?

Postby Nigel » Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:23 am

I like 3Com stuff... I'm happily using a 3CRPAG175 a/b/g card (the one with the pop-out antenna) with SuSE 9.2 in my laptop.
They work well with Windows too.
Hope this helps,

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RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset etc?

Postby nelz » Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:43 am

I bought a 3com card, one supported by the prism54 drivers, only to find that 3com had changed the chipset to one that didn't work with any Linux driver. There is no way to tell which chipset a card uses unless you can look at the serial number or other markings on it.

Buying any 802.11g card is a lottery, there are plenty you can be sure will not work, but none you can be absolutely certain will until you have bought them.
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Re: RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset etc?

Postby Dave2 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:46 am

nelz wrote:Buying any 802.11g card is a lottery, there are plenty you can be sure will not work, but none you can be absolutely certain will until you have bought them.

Except the one I linked to above :p.
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RE: Re: RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset etc?

Postby nelz » Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:32 pm

The specs don't say which chipset is used, so the manufacturer could change the chipset at any time and you wouldn't know until you'd bought it.
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RE: Re: RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset etc?

Postby Dave2 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 2:58 pm

It's basically a commercially sold reference board, so I don't see them changing the chipset any time soon, given that they don't actually do anything with it themselves.
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RE: Re: RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset etc?

Postby nelz » Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:40 pm

Do they do a USB version based on the same chipset?
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RE: Re: RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset etc?

Postby Dave2 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:48 pm

Not sure; I didn't look into it. I know that there are rt2500 USB devices out there, though.
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Re: RE: Re: RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset et

Postby nelz » Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:25 pm

Dave2 wrote:Not sure; I didn't look into it. I know that there are rt2500 USB devices out there, though.


Unfortunately, there appear to be issues with the rt2570 driver on PPC. However, Edimax do a zd1211 based USB device (unless they've changed the chipset).
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Re: RE: Re: RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipset et

Postby nelz » Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:27 pm

Dave2 wrote:It's basically a commercially sold reference board, so I don't see them changing the chipset any time soon, given that they don't actually do anything with it themselves.


Even that doesn't guarantee anything. 3com didn't change to a different chipset, the Prism chipset itself changed, moving firmware code from the chip to the driver and rendering the Linux driver useless. Everything indicated that the card was compatible, but it didn't work because of the chipset change. Nothing is for sure with wireless :(
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipse

Postby Dave2 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:08 pm

Given that ralink release their own GPLd code, including a GUI config utility, and work with the 3rd party maintainers, I'd think that rt2x00-based wifi devices are pretty safe for the moment. It's possible that this situation could change, but it seems unlikely in the near future.
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipse

Postby ladi » Thu Nov 17, 2005 8:51 am

I have a DWL G122 USB adapter from D-Link which works perfectly with Windows, as you would expect. The latest Linux distros - I know about SUSE 10 - will detect it and work without any configuration if you are not using encryption. I have now got it working at 54mps with WPA-TKIP under Slackware 10.1 with a 2.6.12 kernel and ndiswrapper 1.5. I am trying to figure out how to avoid having to broadcast my ESSID.

So I say D-Link gets my vote.
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipse

Postby nelz » Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:23 am

I looked at the D-Link, but the rt2570 driver appears to be problematic with PPC (this is for my iBook). So I followed Dave2's advice and looked at the Edimax. Their USB device uses the zd1211 driver, it arrived yesterday and works perfectly. I had a slight problem at first in that it would connect to the AP but I couldn't connect to anything else. It turned out that this was because I hadn't specified the ESSID and it logged ontosomeone else's AP, presumably my neighbours.

I really must let them know that their AP is unsecured (I could even log into their AP's admin interface with the default password)... as soon as I've finished sending these Viagra e-mails :D
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Which is the best wireless vendor/chipse

Postby Nigel » Thu Nov 17, 2005 12:11 pm

nelz - does your iBook have an airport/airport extreme card built-in ? If so, does that not work with Linux ?

I'm thinking of treating myself to a 12" iBook for Christmas as I want a useable but very portable laptop with a decent battery life. The latest ones come with Airport Extreme & Bluetooth as standard. Initially I'll run OS-X on it, but I might want to move to Linux later on (depends if I can put up with Finder or not :)), and it would be good to be forewarned of any potential problems.

What do you think of the iBook, hardware-wise - is it as good as they claim ?

Many thanks,


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