M. Edward (Ed) Borasky znmeb at cesmail.net
Sat Oct 4 12:43:28 PDT 2008

On Sat, 2008-10-04 at 12:26 -0700, Rich Shepard wrote:
> Has anyone practical experience with USB WiFi 'thumbs'? I see that newegg
> has one available, but all the reviews are by Winduhs users.
>    Do these have more powerful radios than the PCMCIA card adapters? Might
> they work when the pcmcia card sees access points, but dhcpcd doesn't return
> an IP address? What linux drivers are needed?

1. I don't know about the radio power ... this should all be documented,
at least nominally, in the FCC documentation for the unit.

2. I have a Belkin F5D7050B that I got at an Office Depot or some
similar place. It uses the rt73 drivers, but there are a bunch of other
USB wireless gizmos that use other drivers. There are web sites that
list Linux-friendly USB wireless adapters, so you should be able to
research the NewEgg unit.

3. openSUSE 11 configured mine out of the box! I ran openSUSE with this
successfully at pdx.edu during the Linux Plumbers Conference, and it
also worked at the Coffee Brake in Aloha. After the LPC, I rebuilt the
laptop with Gentoo (for non-wireless reasons). It took me close to a
week to get the thing configured, and it still doesn't work at the
Coffee Brake.

4. There are "steps" in the configuration and connection of a wireless
device. I don't think there's any difference between a PCMCIA wireless
adapter, a USB wireless adapter, or one that's built in to the laptop.
First, it has to see the access point. Then, you have to get your
authentication stuff straightened out. *Then* you have to get your IP
address, usually with DHCP. If your PCMCIA card is getting steps one and
two but not three, your radio is fine. Try using the debug options on
dhcpcd, running it as root from the command line, looking
in /var/log/messages, etc., if everything is working except the IP
address part.
> Rich
M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

"A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems." --
Alfréd Rényi via Paul Erdős

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