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So you want your wireless to work in linux???  Don't we all.  This can be an aggravating problem, but hopefully some of the information below can get you on the right track.

Wireless How-to:

To begin, once you've installed linux, you would probably like to have the internet.  If you have a wireless card, this can seem like a daunting task since many cards, as of yet, are not fully supported by linux.  However, nearly all wireless cards are supported fully by Windows.  This allows us a cheat angle.  It is possible to use a Windows driver with Linux via two major avenues (Ndiswrapper and Linuxant's Driver Loader).  For ndiswrapper, what you'll need is a copy of the CORRECT Windows driver for your card and instructions on how to make it work. From my personal experience, the version of ndiswrapper you use is not nearly as important as the version of the driver you use.  Be sure you have the correct driver!  However, if it says a certain driver has been tested with a specific version of ndiswrapper, I would shoot for that version to install.  Please ensure, though, that you have only ONE version of ndiswrapper installed at a time, as they tend to not get along well with multiple versions installed.  You do have the other option.  Linuxant makes a program called Driver Loader that will take care of things for you....for a fee.  You can try it free for 30 days and then you will have to pay $20 to keep it working.  For download info and help installing, click here.  However, if you wish to try ndiswrapper, just follow the next few steps and you should be surfing in no time flat.  If at any point you have a problem, feel free to consult the Ndiswrapper Problems section.

The general format looks like this:
1.  Find the correct windows driver.
2.  Install it with ndiswrapper.
3.  Use your distribution's wireless utility or the command line to configure your wireless connection.

To search for drivers:
1.  First, you'll need to locate a tested and supported driver for your card.  I would check here.  If you don't find any support for your card, I would check google.  Just search for "windows driver for 'yourcardhere'."  If the driver is in compressed format (i.e. zip, rar, etc), just uncompress it somewhere in your /home/user directory (where user is your log-in name).  A few commands you might need to navigate to it from the command line are "ls" minus the quotes will list all the files in the current folder and "cd directory" (where directory is where you wish to enter) minus the quotes will change directories.

To install the driver via ndiswrapper:
2.  Once you've located the specified driver, you can find instructions on how to get it installed here.  (Note:  There are USB drivers included in the list that have been shown to work as well.)  I've included my make distclean, make and make install screenshots for comipiling reference.  Also, here is an example of what the driver install should look like with no errors.  If at any point you get an error stating "command not found," it's because you need to be logged in as root or ndiswrapper is not installed.  See the end of the Ndiswrapper Commands section to see how to log in as root.  Also, some commonly encountered errors and their possible solutions can be found under Ndiswrapper Problems.


3.  If the driver is installed successfully, your last few commands should return no errors.  Once you've completed all of the steps in the above installation procedure, use your distribution's internet configuration tool (Suse and Mandriva users see here) to finish setting up your wireless card.  If, after you've done this, if you can open a browser and you have internet, you are probably set.  One thing to check, though, is that your wireless works again after you reboot.  (The last step of the ndiswrapper installation guide is responsible for this)  If you can't figure out where your configuration utility is, are having problems using it, or simply prefer using the command line, see the first section here.

If all has gone well, but you still can't get the internet, you might see What to do next.  If you've encountered a problem, see the Ndiswrapper Problems section.  For more overview on ndiswrapper and its' associated commands, see Ndiswrapper Commands.  For links to resources about networking, encryption, etc, see Other Resources.

NOTE: When you update your kernel in the future, you will more than likely have to redo ndiswrapper. (i.e. completely remove the driver, ndiswrapper, and start over)  However, your wireless utility should remember the settings for your card.  Once ndiswrapper has worked, though, you'll find redoing it is very simple as the process should be easy to recall.

I came across this today for those trying to set up a USB adapter.

What to do next - Ndiswrapper installation went well, but what do you do now?

Ndiswrapper Problems
- Contains a list of common problems and their possible solutions.

Ndiswrapper Commands
- A list of useful Ndiswrapper commands, how to execute them, info on logging in as root, etc.

Other Resources
- Contains links to sites that offer help with various things. (includes a nice tutorial for new Mandriva users)

If all else fails
- What to do if things STILL won't work after troubleshooting.

To report a broken link or if there is something you feel would be a helpful addition to the page, feel free to email me at

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