wmaster0 in Fedora 8 i386 Running On A Dell Latitude D420 Laptop

Robert L Cochran cochranb at speakeasy.net
Mon Nov 26 02:53:02 UTC 2007

Does anyone know what the wmaster0 interface does in terms of wireless 
networking on a Dell Latitude D420 laptop?

Here is my story:

Installed Fedora 8 i386 to an external USB hard drive which the Dell can 
boot from (yes, over USB.) I can almost immediately connect to my home 
wifi network on the wlan0 interface. All I needed to do was go to 
System-->Administration --> Network and "Edit" the wlan0 configuration:

specify my SSID, WEP key (I'm still using WEP), and channel. I think at 
some point in this process I set the type to "master" instead of "auto" 
but I later corrected it to "auto". The "Activate on boot" box was/is 
checked. The DHCP box is checked too. Presto, I can get an IP and surf 
the net wirelessly.

Then Thanksgiving came around and I stayed in a Hyatt Hotel for a few 
days. Naturally I played with Fedora 8. The Hyatt chain offers wireless 
internet through T-Mobile, so I went to System-->Administration --> 
Network and copied the wlan0 interface to a new interface wlan0 with the 
nickname wlan0tmobile. I changed the connection settings on this so they 
are appropriate to T-Mobile: no security key, and the ssid is 'tmobile'. 
Activating this interface worked wonderfully and I could connect and 
then log on to the T-mobile network. Again, I seem to recall 
accidentally specifying this as a "master" rather than "auto" connection.

I returned home from the hotel stay and couldn't connect to my home 
network any longer! I deleted the "wlan0tmobile" connection in the 
Network configuration gui and changed the WEP key while I was comparing 
it to the key in my access point. After a few tries, the machine 
connected to my access point and all was well.

Then this morning I noticed that one of my CentOS virtual machines 
wasn't getting the same hostname assigned to it as before from dhcpd, so 
I changed dhcpd.conf to assign a fixed hostname and IP address to that 
machine. That corrected the issue for that one machine, but then when I 
booted Fedora 8 on my laptop, I could no longer get any DHCPOFFERs for 
wlan0 and the wmaster0 interface began showing up as a network 
interface. This same laptop computer runs Windows XP, and I can get a 
good IP address for it wirelessly under that, so I know the radio is 
working and the software is keeping dhcpd happy.

What is 'wmaster0' and do I really need it? (I never checked 
before-the-hotel/after-the-hotel ifconfig output to see if wmaster0 was 
there consistently.) How can I get rid of the interface?


Bob Cochran
Greenbelt, Maryland, USA

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