Netgear MA401, Windows XP and WPA - Step-by-Step

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by Norman Wilson, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. I've just succeeded in getting a couple of Netgear MA401 PCMCIA
    wireless adapters to work under Windows XP using WPA (WPA-PSK in my
    case). I thought it might be helpful to others to outline the
    step-by-step procedure for doing this since the Netgear drivers and
    firmware don't support WPA at all and I searched for quite a while to
    find a solution. The usual warnings apply: don't do this if you're
    not comfortable with any part of the process and I'm not responsible
    if you accidentally turn your MA401 into a Christmas tree ornament.

    The process (in brief) is:

    - install Linksys WPC11 drivers
    - use Intersil's WinUpdate to update the card firmware
    - install the WPA hotfix for Windows XP
    - install WPA-enabled drivers

    It's common knowledge that the MA401 uses the Intersil Prism II
    chipset. Most of the information on updating the firmware I got from
    http://linux.junsun.net/intersil-prism/ (this is an excellent page and
    also outlines how to do this under Linux)

    Things you'll need:

    WinUpdate - this is Intersil's Windows utility for updating the
    firmware on Prism II-based cards. I got it from
    http://linux.junsun.net/intersil-prism/WinUpdate-0-7-0.exe but it can
    be found in a few places.

    Firmware files - there are two files you need, a primary and a station
    firmware file. I got them from
    http://linux.junsun.net/intersil-prism/firmware/1.7.4/ but Jun Sun's
    page lists several other sources. Although there are multiple firmware
    files, the ones I needed to update my cards were:

    pk010101.hex - this is primary firmware version 1.1.1
    sf010704.hex - this is station firmware version 1.7.4

    Drivers for the Linksys WPC11 v2.5 from the Linksys website. I had to
    install these drivers instead of the Netgear drivers to get WinUpdate
    to communicate with the card properly during the firmware upgrade.

    Step-by-Step:

    I'm assuming you already have the Netgear card and its drivers
    installed. You need to go to Device Manager, right-click the Netgear
    card, choose Update driver, choose "Install from a list or specific
    location", select "Don't search. I will choose the driver to install",
    click Have Disk and browse to where you extracted the WPC11 drivers.
    In the WPC driver setup files there's a WinXP directory with a
    LSWLNDS.INF file that you should select. You should see "Instant
    Wireless Network PC Card V2.5" listed as the driver to install. When
    you continue with the driver install, you may get a message saying
    that the install process is going to update the firmware on your card.
    Click Cancel when that message appears and close the Linksys firmware
    update utility if it opens. When the new driver is installed you'll
    be able to run WinUpdate and update the firmware.

    Download and install WinUpdate. Open WinUpdate from the Start menu
    under Prism Test Utilities. It should list the "Instant Wireless
    Network PC Card V2.5" under Valid Adapters and will probably have
    selected the adapter automatically. If not, highlight it and click
    Open Adapter. In the bottom part of the window, click the Add File
    button and select the primary firmware file (in this case called
    pk010101.hex) and then repeat the same process to add the station
    firmware file (called sf010704.hex). You should now see both files
    listed in the window with a small P and S icon beside each file.
    Confirm that the versions (1.1.1 and 1.7.4) show up correctly and then
    click Continue. WinUpdate will do some quick checks to make sure the
    firmware and your card match. If you get any strange errors here make
    sure you stop and resolve them before continuing. I got errors at
    this point before using the Linksys drivers, so make sure you've done
    that. If WinUpdate doesn't find any problems you'll see an Update
    Information window that lists information about your card like it's
    Platform, MAC Address and current firmware revisions. Below that will
    be the paths to the new firmware files. If it all looks okay, click
    on the Update button and the firmware will be updated. You'll see two
    windows, one after the other, that say "Flash Update in progress..."
    and when they are both gone you should see a message that says "Update
    successful". To confirm that you card has been updated, go to the
    Tools menu and select Query Firmware Version. You should see primary
    firmware at 1.1.1 and station firmware at 1.7.4.

    In order to use WPA with Windows XP you need a hotfix from Microsoft
    or you need Service Pack 2 installed. The hotfix is called "Windows
    XP Support Patch for Wi-Fi Protected Access" and I got it from here:

    http://microsoft.com/downloads/deta...25-CE2B-47A4-ABEC-274845DC9E91&displaylang=en

    Install the hotfix (it doesn't require a reboot in my experience).

    The last step is getting WPA-enabled drivers for Prism-based cards. I
    found several but the ones I'm using are for the NetGate NL-2511CD
    PLUS wireless card described here:

    http://www.netgate.com/EL2511.html

    The drivers themselves are here:

    http://www.netgate.com/support/Drivers/V[1].802.zip

    Run the DriverSetup802.exe installer from that download and it should
    install the drivers and .inf files needed. As with the Linksys
    drivers, you'll have to go through the manual installation and point
    to the driver you want to use. Instead of clicking on "Have Disk"
    simply uncheck "show compatible hardware" and scroll the manufacturer
    list to "IEEE 802.11b" and click on it. Select "IEEE 802.11b WLAN
    network adapter PC Card". After the drivers are installed, it's
    probably a good idea to restart the computer.

    After a restart you should be able to open the Windows Zero
    Configuration utility (through "View Available Wireless Networks" from
    the system tray icon for your adapter) and select WPA-PSK or WPA from
    the Network Authentication menu and TKIP from the Data encryption
    menu.

    This process has worked for me with two MA401's so far. I'm going to
    try the same process with a couple of Prism-based USB adapters next.

    Regards,

    Norm
     
    Norman Wilson, Oct 4, 2004
    #1
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  2. Norman Wilson

    reidjh Guest

    Norm,
    Thanks very much for your detailed guidance on this process. I walked
    through each step with success until I tried to flash my card with the
    firmware update using WinUpdate.

    WU told me that the firmware files were written for different
    platforms. My MA401 has the 8008 Platform. I searched around for more
    current firmware for that platform, but I couldn't find anything more
    current than the firmware I already have. I guess I'm out of luck!

    I'm currently bidding on the Linksys WPC11 version 4 card on eBay.
    This card has a firmware update from Linksys that enables WPA support
    on the card.

    Thanks again for your posting! At least I learned a lot about wi-fi
    cards in the process!!

    Best,
    Reid
     
    reidjh, Jan 2, 2005
    #2
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  3. Norman Wilson

    escrow_98 Guest

    I just tried to update my MA401 firmware and I also encountered the
    same problem you have. But I just give it a try to update the station
    file only for 8008 platform, s1010701.hex. Then follow the rest steps.
    The MA401 card works well right now with WPA support.

    You can download the file here.
    http://linux.junsun.net/intersil-prism/firmware/1.7.1/s1010701.hex,
    which is the station file for 8008 platform.

    Best,

    Escrow
     
    escrow_98, Jan 4, 2005
    #3
  4. Norm - you're a frickin' genius! I doubt anyone will
    remember this as your post was almost 6 months old. But
    using your instructions, I got my MA401 card to work
    with my WPA security. There was one change I had to
    make - I first changed to the Linksys WPC11 drivers like
    you suggested, but Winupdate reported block write errors
    (my card is 800C based). I tried changing back to the
    Netgear drivers that came with the card, and then
    Winupdate updated the firmware like it was supposed to,
    and everything else followed your step by step
    instructions, and my MA401 is now happily authenticating
    to my WPA network. In fact, it's even working more
    solid than it was with the OEM drivers.

    Thanks!

    I've just succeeded in getting a couple of Netgear MA401
    PCMCIA
    wireless adapters to work under Windows XP using WPA
    (WPA-PSK in my
    case). I thought it might be helpful to others to
    outline the
    step-by-step procedure for doing this since the Netgear
    drivers and
    firmware don't support WPA at all and I searched for
    quite a while to
    find a solution. The usual warnings apply: don't do
    this if you're
    not comfortable with any part of the process and I'm not
    responsible
    if you accidentally turn your MA401 into a Christmas
    tree ornament.

    The process (in brief) is:

    - install Linksys WPC11 drivers
    - use Intersil's WinUpdate to update the card firmware
    - install the WPA hotfix for Windows XP
    - install WPA-enabled drivers

    It's common knowledge that the MA401 uses the Intersil
    Prism II
    chipset. Most of the information on updating the
    firmware I got from
    http://linux.junsun.net/intersil-prism/ (this is an
    excellent page and
    also outlines how to do this under Linux)

    Things you'll need:

    WinUpdate - this is Intersil's Windows utility for
    updating the
    firmware on Prism II-based cards. I got it from
    http://linux.junsun.net/intersil-prism/WinUpdate-0-7-
    0.exe but it can
    be found in a few places.

    Firmware files - there are two files you need, a primary
    and a station
    firmware file. I got them from
    http://linux.junsun.net/intersil-prism/firmware/1.7.4/
    but Jun Sun's
    page lists several other sources. Although there are
    multiple firmware
    files, the ones I needed to update my cards were:

    pk010101.hex - this is primary firmware version 1.1.1
    sf010704.hex - this is station firmware version 1.7.4

    Drivers for the Linksys WPC11 v2.5 from the Linksys
    website. I had to
    install these drivers instead of the Netgear drivers to
    get WinUpdate
    to communicate with the card properly during the
    firmware upgrade.

    Step-by-Step:

    I'm assuming you already have the Netgear card and its
    drivers
    installed. You need to go to Device Manager, right-
    click the Netgear
    card, choose Update driver, choose "Install from a list
    or specific
    location", select "Don't search. I will choose the
    driver to install",
    click Have Disk and browse to where you extracted the
    WPC11 drivers.
    In the WPC driver setup files there's a WinXP directory
    with a
    LSWLNDS.INF file that you should select. You should see
    "Instant
    Wireless Network PC Card V2.5" listed as the driver to
    install. When
    you continue with the driver install, you may get a
    message saying
    that the install process is going to update the firmware
    on your card.
    Click Cancel when that message appears and close the
    Linksys firmware
    update utility if it opens. When the new driver is
    installed you'll
    be able to run WinUpdate and update the firmware.

    Download and install WinUpdate. Open WinUpdate from the
    Start menu
    under Prism Test Utilities. It should list the "Instant
    Wireless
    Network PC Card V2.5" under Valid Adapters and will
    probably have
    selected the adapter automatically. If not, highlight
    it and click
    Open Adapter. In the bottom part of the window, click
    the Add File
    button and select the primary firmware file (in this
    case called
    pk010101.hex) and then repeat the same process to add
    the station
    firmware file (called sf010704.hex). You should now see
    both files
    listed in the window with a small P and S icon beside
    each file.
    Confirm that the versions (1.1.1 and 1.7.4) show up
    correctly and then
    click Continue. WinUpdate will do some quick checks to
    make sure the
    firmware and your card match. If you get any strange
    errors here make
    sure you stop and resolve them before continuing. I got
    errors at
    this point before using the Linksys drivers, so make
    sure you've done
    that. If WinUpdate doesn't find any problems you'll see
    an Update
    Information window that lists information about your
    card like it's
    Platform, MAC Address and current firmware revisions.
    Below that will
    be the paths to the new firmware files. If it all looks
    okay, click
    on the Update button and the firmware will be updated.
    You'll see two
    windows, one after the other, that say "Flash Update in
    progress..."
    and when they are both gone you should see a message
    that says "Update
    successful". To confirm that you card has been updated,
    go to the
    Tools menu and select Query Firmware Version. You
    should see primary
    firmware at 1.1.1 and station firmware at 1.7.4.

    In order to use WPA with Windows XP you need a hotfix
    from Microsoft
    or you need Service Pack 2 installed. The hotfix is
    called "Windows
    XP Support Patch for Wi-Fi Protected Access" and I got
    it from here:

    http://microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=
    009D8425-CE2B-47A4-ABEC-274845DC9E91&displaylang=en

    Install the hotfix (it doesn't require a reboot in my
    experience).

    The last step is getting WPA-enabled drivers for Prism-
    based cards. I
    found several but the ones I'm using are for the NetGate
    NL-2511CD
    PLUS wireless card described here:

    http://www.netgate.com/EL2511.html

    The drivers themselves are here:

    http://www.netgate.com/support/Drivers/V[1].802.zip

    Run the DriverSetup802.exe installer from that download
    and it should
    install the drivers and .inf files needed. As with the
    Linksys
    drivers, you'll have to go through the manual
    installation and point
    to the driver you want to use. Instead of clicking on
    "Have Disk"
    simply uncheck "show compatible hardware" and scroll the
    manufacturer
    list to "IEEE 802.11b" and click on it. Select "IEEE
    802.11b WLAN
    network adapter PC Card". After the drivers are
    installed, it's
    probably a good idea to restart the computer.

    After a restart you should be able to open the Windows
    Zero
    Configuration utility (through "View Available Wireless
    Networks" from
    the system tray icon for your adapter) and select WPA-
    PSK or WPA from
    the Network Authentication menu and TKIP from the Data
    encryption
    menu.

    snip

    Norm
    ..
     
    Vasiliy Zaitsev, Mar 30, 2005
    #4
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