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LT-01: PCMCIA wireless access for your Laptop

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LT-01: PCMCIA wireless access for your Laptop


Having Wireless access for your laptop is really easy to set up. Here's what you'll need:

  • Wireless PCMCIA adapter
  • Wireless access point or Router

I went with the Siemens Speedstream PCMCIA 802.11b adapter. You can get any you would like, but I went with this particular adapter because it said on the box that it worked with Linux. I also picked up a Netgear ME102 Wireless Access Point. Thinking back on it, I should have bought a router, or a different access point. The only way to set up this particular access point is through a USB connection with Windows. This only has to be done once, though, so if you don't have Windows yourself; find another computer you can use to configure the access point. It only takes a few minutes and the only things you need to change are

  • The ESSID (This is the "name" of your access point)
  • The Key password and type (only if you want to encrypt your access point so you're not sharing it with your neighbors)

Then we can set up the PCMCIA card. Open up a console and as root type

/sbin/cardctl ident

This will produce results like this:

[ liquidzoo ]# /sbin/cardctl ident

Socket 0:

 no product info available

Socket 1:

 product info: "Siemens", "SpeedStream Wireless PCMCIA", "", ""

 manfid: 0x02ac, 0x3021

 function: 6 (network)

[ liquidzoo ]#

What we're looking for is the product info and the manfid. Write them down, or leave the console window open so you have them. Next, we need to edit some config files, you can use whatever editor you want. Since I'm already in X when I'm doing this, I use kwrite. As root, in your console type

# kwrite /etc/pcmcia/config

Somewhere in this file, near the end where cards are defined, you will want to put in the following info:

  • card (This is just so you know what card it is for)
  • manfid (this is what came from the output of /sbin/cardctl ident)
  • bind "orinoco_cs" (This tells the kernel which module and driver to use)

Use the existing entries in this file as a guide for formatting.


Save and exit that file.


Next, you have to reboot (I know, but it has to be done). Once you have rebooted, it should recognize your card, but it might give you an error because it is not configured yet. Once you have brought up X, go into the MCC. Go into the Hardware section and choose HardDrake. After it detects your hardware, you should see an entry under Ethernetcard for eth1. Select that and click on run config tool. This will bring up drakconnect. Set this up just as you would normally set up your network, choosing autodetect and expert mode. You will get to the eth1 config tool, where you can set the mode of the wireless card. I choose Auto for WIRELESS_MODE and Any for WIRELESS_ESSID. This will let you connect to any available wireless network. If you encrypted your Wireless Access Point, you will need to enter the Key in WIRELESS_ENC_KEY. Once you have that set up, you are all set. Say yes when it asks to restart the network. Once that is done, check your internet connection by firing up your favorite browser and heading to this board!



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  • 3 months later...

Thanks to a link from Steve Scrimpshire, there is a page to find out which driver your wireless card uses. That page is here: http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Jean_Tourri...ss.drivers.html


You can use this to find out exactly what driver to put in the bind statement in your /etc/pcmcia/config file so that your card will work correctly for you.


I would like to thank Steve for posting that link for all of us. I put it here so that it would be an easy reference for anyone looking to add wireless to their laptop.

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Another link I came across. Here is a list of wireless cards that work with Linux. These are both PCMCIA and PCI




One more. This isn't for a native driver, though; more of a 'compatibility-wrapper' for existing Windows drivers. Might be useful for some cards, though



Edited by LiquidZoo
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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 months later...



Installing atmel device/drivers


Steps for installing Atmel Wireless PCMCIA card in MDK 10.0 CE


1) Download drivers from http://atmelwlandriver.sourceforge.net

2) Install Kernel source (if not installed already)


3) Extract drivers and run make config


4) After answer questions updated PCMCIA SRC to point to Correct directory

To: PCMCIA_SRC = /usr/src/linux-2.6.3-4mdk


5) Install Following Components from www.wxwindows.org (this is not necessary if you answered no to the winter application in make config)





6) Run make all, then make install


7) Add the following lines to /etc/pcmcia/atmel.conf

This info came from running cardctl info 0 once the card was inserted


# ugly ident of my card

card "OEM 11Mbps Wireless PCMCIA card"

version "OEM", "11Mbps Wireless LAN PC Card V-3"

manfid 0x0000, 0x000

bind "pcmf502r"


8) Install wireless extensions support using Install Software


9) Create a configuration for the atml device, atml0

atml0 came from running ifconfig -a and seeing atml0 as the device created for my wireless card


Create this file in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-atml0











10) Things should be working at this point!



This information contributed by pipplo

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