Wireless LAN cards for Fedora?

Nifty Fedora Mitch niftyfedora at niftyegg.com
Sat Jul 26 19:43:29 UTC 2008

On Sat, Jul 26, 2008 at 06:23:10AM +0100, Colin Paul Adams wrote:
> I want to connect an AMD64 machine (currently running 32-bit Fedora
> Core 6, although I might upgrade to Fedora 9 64-bit or 32-bit) to a
> wireless LAN. Can I just buy any cheap wireless LAN card, or are there
> gotchas to be aware of?

Wireless is a tangle.

Not all work and not all parts have the same devices on the inside
despite having nearly the same make and model on the outside.

Is your machine a laptop? 
What wireless bands, frequencies, types etc are important.
You are in the UK so my US centric history may miss the mark
so here are some general thoughts.

Have you done a net search and found:


you will find four types of card and some 32bit .vs. 64 bit issues
to double the problem space.
	unsupported and unsupportable
	reverse engineered
	ndiswrapper over windows driver
	fully disclosed public driver.

Shop for hardware in the fully disclosed public driver class that maps to your wireless
needs.  Look at vendor sites and write letters and email asking for
Linux support if you cannot find it.   Linux users do need some 
help from the wireless vendors....  some are stepping up so do look
and do fill out the "was this helpful" survey....  Do it from
each new DHCP address you get and from each 'hotspot' you visit...
and all the throw away email addresses you have ;-)

If you can find a supported/works USB wireless device you will find that
to be the quickest to test.  About 20% of the USB devices just work.
A USB device can be very handy on the 'next' laptop.  I have some that 
don't but were only $9.

"lspci" tells me that this laptop has a:

  03:02.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4318 [AirForce One 54g] 802.11g Wireless LAN Controller (rev 02)

The driver is the b43 driver.
  "A Linux driver for the Broadcom b43 wireless chips. Broadcom never released details about these chips 
  so this driver is based upon reverse engineered ..." 

Wireless is the primary reason I have a 32 bit version of fedora
on this laptop and not a 64 bit version....

	T o m  M i t c h e l l 
	Looking for a place to hang my hat.

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