WiFi mystery

Discussion in 'Linux Networking' started by Timothy Murphy, Mar 26, 2005.

  1. I use WiFi all the time to link my laptop to my desktop,
    and it works perfectly,
    using a classic Orinoco 802.11b Gold PCMCIA card in my laptop.
    (I have a similar card in my desktop,
    in a PCMCIA=to=PCI adaptor.)

    I am running Fedora-3 with kernel-2.6.11 (which I compiled).

    Yesterday, as an exercise, I thought I would try
    another identical Orinoco card in the desktop,
    but I simply could not get it to connect.

    I'm using dhcp, and I modified /etc/dhcpd.conf in the desktop
    to associate a fixed IP address to the MAC address,
    and re-started dhcpd on the desktop.

    Whenever I replaced the original card in the laptop
    it worked perfectly,
    even with the incorrect MAC address in dhcpd.conf .
    (I got another IP address 192.168.3.254 from those allotted.)

    When I tried the same exercise (with the same machines and cards)
    under Windows-2000 on my laptop I had no problems -
    the connection was made at once whichever card I used,
    using putty to log into my Linux desktop.

    It is disappointing that WiFi is so much more complicated under Linux.
    The network wizards are really a mess,
    and should be looked over by someone else and simplified if possible.

    Incidentally, I tried the latest NetworkManager
    but this didn't work, and I was told that it could not work with my card
    as the card did not support scanning,
    (as shown by "iwlist eth0 scanning").
    Now there is nothing in the (practically non-existent) NM documentation
    to say that it will not work with certain (probably most) WiFi cards.
    Not only should the user be told to test the card,
    but the program itself must determine that scanning is not possible,
    yet does not warn the user that he is wasting his time.

    Anyway, if anyone can throw light on my conundrum -
    why the laptop will connect with the card it knows well,
    but not with another identical card -
    I shall be very grateful.
     
    Timothy Murphy, Mar 26, 2005
    #1
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  2. similar != identical

    Are you sure the chipsets in your cards are identical..?

    Are you sure the second card reports the same ID as the fist..?

    Does your PCMCIA config files reflect the correct card ID and driver
    assignments..?

    Have you checked this? Please post relevant information...!

    Bevare..: Your Wintendo drivers might have alternative ways of telling
    chipsets apart.

    [..]
    It's a bit more complicated, but IMNSHO; not as messy as with Windblows...

    Regards
    Joachim Mæland
     
    =?iso-8859-1?q?Joachim_M=E6land?=, Mar 26, 2005
    #2
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  3. Yes, the two cards I used in the laptop
    are identical apart from their MAC addresses.
    Both have worked perfectly on Linux systems, "out of the box".
    Yes, when the correct MAC setting is found in /etc/dhcpd.conf on the desktop
    both get the IP address 192.168.3.6 .
    When the correct IP address is not given,
    the cards get IP addresses from the allotted range 192.168.3.129-254 .
    Yes, in any case I don't change these files when changing cards.
    They have the same chipset, and are reported by Windows
    to be identical Lucent cards.
    I don't know what you mean by messy,
    the Windows WiFi wizards work perfectly, in my experience,
    while the Fedora ones do not.

    There are several WiFi wizards under Fedora,
    eg NetworkManager, system-config-network, etc.
    All of them in my experience are pretty bad.

    Like all such software, if they work in a particular context
    then they are fine.
    But if they don't work for any reason they are useless,
    because they do not suggest sensible alternatives that one might try.

    Basically, I would like a tool that says something like
    "Your card is transmitting perfectly,
    but the remote computer does not accept your dhcp settings.
    Check /etc/dhclient-eth0.conf or /var/lib/dhcp/dhclient-eth0.leases"
    (or wherever the program is getting its data).
     
    Timothy Murphy, Mar 26, 2005
    #3
  4. Timothy Murphy

    Unruh Guest

    If you want help you need to give more information. Exactly which Orinco
    cards are they? Remember that wireless card manufacturers have been known
    to completely change the chipsets inside the cards but give them the same
    name. Which chipsets are in your cards?
    Does teh driver load? Which driver are you using?

    How do you know it is identical?
    Did the driver load? Which driver are you using?


    Never mind dhcp. look at the card and driver first.

    Whatever that is.
    Sounds like a problem with the driver.
    How do you know it is identical?
     
    Unruh, Mar 26, 2005
    #4
  5. Timothy Murphy

    Unruh Guest

    How do you know they are identical? That the manufacturer gives them the
    same name does NOT mean they are identical.

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with the cards, and is no evidence that
    the chipsets are the same.

    That may be a mistake.

    That has nothing whatsoever to do with the cards. That is the dhcp.


    Use iwconfig, and iwlist to find out about the cards themselves.
    And look in the /var/log/messages log file.
     
    Unruh, Mar 26, 2005
    #5
  6. Timothy Murphy

    gary Guest

    Hi,

    What is the output for;
    #lspci

    and ;
    #lspci -n
    #lspci -v

    The vendor IDs' for each should show you what chip sets are used
    for each of the cards.

    You could use this too id the card.

    http://linux_wless.passys.nl/

    What about;
    #cardctl

    This info for each card should show that indeed the cards are the same.
     
    gary, Mar 26, 2005
    #6
  7. How can you tell?
    The same box?
    The same distro?
    The same install?
    What ID is reported?
    How can you tell?

    What does your configuration files say about your cards?
    QED..: Wintendo does _not_ report anything usable for us, (except the fact
    that the card is working). What if your Wintendo driver supports the
    transparent use of two, three, four or five different chipsets...? How can
    you tell?

    IMHO; WLAN on Linux is much easier and controllable than on Windblows.
    Under ideal circumstances: No it's not as beginner friendly, but when the
    going gets tough; Linux rocks...
    Sorry..! My mistake. A Windtendo VS Linux discussion is not productive,
    regardless of all my Windblows frustrations.

    [..]
    I use:
    #tail -f /var/log/messages (after setting a more functional loglevel than
    default Fedora).

    And when trying to identify new HW, also:
    #lspci
    #cardctl


    Regards
    Joachim Mæland
     
    =?iso-8859-1?q?Joachim_M=E6land?=, Mar 26, 2005
    #7
  8. They were bought at the same time in identical boxes.

    I didn't say it was.
    I was answering the question, "Do they report the same ID",
    which I took to mean IP address.
    (Obviously they do not report the same MAC address.)
    What change could I possibly make, since the cards are identical.
    I have tried with and without the MAC addresses
    listed in /etc/dhcpd.conf on the desktop.
    This doesn't make any difference.
    One card works more or less whatever I do.
    The other card does not work, more or less whatever I do.
    (I must confess it behaves slightly differently when I make changes.
    One light on the card is always one.
    The second light, which I assume shows packets are being sent or received,
    sometimes flashes slowly, and somethimes does not flash at all.
    Obviously.
    But both cards appear to be working fine, as cards,
    since they function identically under Windows.

    I have done all that.

    I've now got the cards in separate but identical laptops,
    and am trying to find where the difference begins ...
     
    Timothy Murphy, Mar 27, 2005
    #8
  9. Typical, but you're not the first...
    On my computers, the following two cards use the same driver:

    [[email protected] jm]# cardctl ident
    Socket 0:
    no product info available
    Socket 1:
    product info: "The Linksys Group, Inc.", "Instant Wireless Network PC Card", "ISL37300P", "RevA"
    manfid: 0x0274, 0x1613
    function: 6 (network)

    [[email protected] jm]# cardctl ident
    Socket 0:
    no product info available
    Socket 1:
    product info: "INTERSIL", "HFA384x/IEEE", "Version 01.02", ""
    manfid: 0x0156, 0x0002
    function: 6 (network)

    In this special case: If the wlan-ng drivers are not present, my system
    will try loading a driver, (sorry, can't remember which), but only one
    of the cards will work. After installing the wlan-ng driver, both cards
    will use the wlan-ng driver and both works 100% without config changes. I
    belive your struggle is somewhat similar.

    BTW: The selection of drivers are done by /etc/pcmcia/config (and included
    files). I suspect we'll get to them before this is solved. If you decide
    to test this by yourself: The last hit will load the designated driver.
    Make your changes in the bottom.
    Tell your config files to load the right driver for your card. We suspect
    them to be different, but we need to know for sure.
    A Windblows driver, (actually a driver set), can support several chipsets.
    This is a nice feature, when you're selling cards with different HW inside.
    You're actually saying that the second card works in the other computer?
    Can you please post make and model? What distroes are they running?
    Versions? Which relevant module drivers are installed?

    From both computers with the cards inserted, please post the result of:

    lspci
    lspci -n
    lspci -v
    cardctl info
    cardctl ident

    I'm sure, this will reveal the magic.

    Regards
    Joachim Mæland
     
    =?iso-8859-1?q?Joachim_M=E6land?=, Mar 27, 2005
    #9
  10. Timothy Murphy

    Unruh Guest

    Sorry, no go. As we have said, the manufacturers will change the chipsets
    inside without making any changes to the boxes. And the store you bought
    those two boxes from could have had one for 6 months and the other came in
    yesterday.



    No, the internal id.
    If they are pci cards, lspci maygive you the info.
    No, You do NOT know they are identical, is what we have been saying. they
    may be, but manufacturers have been known the completely change the card
    while keeping identical packaging, boxes, model numbers, etc.

    Again, you do NOT know that they operate identically. The level at which
    you are looking at their operation does not show the actual hardware used.


    lspci
    Look in /var/log/messages and syslog for the cards either being inserted or
    being brought up. Look at the various messages there.
     
    Unruh, Mar 27, 2005
    #10
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