Linux Wireless

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If you are new to Linux, this article is not for you

Wireless Utilities


First you'll need to download linux-acu-driver-v21.tar.gz from the Cisco website and put it in /usr/portage/distfiles/ Now you can get the client-utils

emerge cisco-aironet-client-utils

Launch the aironet-client-utiltiy with:


Now this user interface has to be taken with a grain of salt. It is infact, so salty that I don't even use it.

Kernel Configuration

First step is to figure out what kind of Wireless Card you have.

#lspci | grep Wireless

The output of the previous command should look similar to this:

02:02.0 Network controller: AIRONET Wireless Communications Cisco Aironet Wireless...

Compile in the Cisco/Aironet 34X/35X/4500/4800 ISA and PCI cards under Device Drivers > Network device support > Wireless LAN (non-hamradio) Select whichever you have (PCMCIA or ISA/PCI) After you have compiled in or as a module you should now see another ethernet device (eth1 in my case)

Cisco / LEAP Authenication by Command Line Interface

If the computer recognizes the Cisco card, you can just try using the leapset command line program which will ask for a username and password. Then you can use dhcpcd on the interface to obtain an IP address.

To reduce typing make a script

/opt/cisco/bin/leapscript UANETID PASSWORD
dhcpcd eth1

Intel PROSet

Intel did not write a Linux driver, however, there is an open source solution. A utility called "ipw2200"

Kernel Configuration

Networking --->
   [*] Generic IEEE 802.11 Networking Stack

Device Drivers --->
   Generic Driver Options --->
      [*] Hotplug firmware loading support
   Network Device support --->
      Wireless LAN (non-hamradio) --->
        [*] Wireless LAN drivers (non-hamradio) & Wireless Extensions

Cryptographic options --->
   [*] Cryptographic API
     <*> AES cipher algorithms (i586)
     <*> ARC4 cipher algorithm
     <*> Michael MIC keyed digest algorithm
     <*> CRC32c CRC algorithm (this wasn't prompted in the emerge of ipw2200)

Getting and installing the Intel utilities

Once you have the proper driver installed. Load the appropriate modules ex:

#modprobe ipw2200

You should now have a wireless interface (most likely eth1), so bring it up:

#ifconfig eth1 up

WPA Supplicant

Be sure your distribution has the wireless-tools package. Gentoo users emerge wireless-tools You'll need to get the wpa_supplicant utility from here: Source Code. Gentoo users emerge wpa_supplicant. If you are unfamiliar with how to compile software, please take your laptop to room 52c in Bierce Library. After you have your wpa_supplicant installed, create the wap_supplicant.conf file to contain the following:


        identity="UANET ID"

Now that you have the wpasupplicant installed, launch it with:

#wpa_supplicant -i eth1 -D ipw -c /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Note: you might have to change the location of your configuration file. Note: if using the ipw driver doesn't work, try "-D wext"

Get an IP with the following command:

#dhcpcd eth1

Note: you might have to replace dhcpcd with the appropriate dhcp client your ditro uses.

Profile Utilities

There aren't too many programs available for wireless profile management. But here is a small list to try

  • gtkwifi
  • gwifiapplet
  • kwifimanager
  • NetworkManager
  • wifi-radar

See Also

Wireless Setup