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  1. #1

    Another newbie with wireless problems!

    Hi All,

    I've read through the forum for a lot of today (great help and tips by the way!), but unfortunately I've not been able to resolve my problem by looking at the steps others have taken.

    I have recently installed Slack 10.2 on a Toshiba Portege 3440CT laptop (yep, that's probably the only laptop in the world without a CD OR Floppy drive, however, I have managed to get one of my pendrives working, so data transfer is no longer an issue!). I have some experience with Linux - I've been using UNIX and Linux occasionally at work for the past 18 months or so, and I've had slack on another PC (albeit one with a wired network adaptor) and I'm really happy with it.

    The laptop has an SMC Wireless cardbus adaptor. Model number SMC2835W (I think version 2.0) and is described as an "EZ Connect G". The PCMCIA/CardBus slots work fine, and the card is definitely being detected by Slack.

    If I run iwconfig (either immediately after logging in, or though Konsole in KDE) I get the following:

    NOT READY! ESSID:off/any Nickmane:"laptop"
    Mode: Managed  Channel:0 Access Point: 00:00:00:00:00:00
    Tx-Power=31dBm  Sensitivity=0/200
    Retry min limit:0 RTS thr=0 B  Fragment thr=0 B
    Encryption key:off
    Link Quality:0 Signal level:0 Noise level=0
    Rx invalid nwid:0 RX invalid crype:0 Rx invalid frag:0
    Tx excessive retries:0 Incalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0
    I took that as meaning "your card is working fine, but you can't connect to a wireless network". I've tried to force it to connect to my SSID ( - would the format of the name of it affect the ability to connect as wireless capability in Linux seems relatively limited at the moment), but to no avail. Oh, and I've tried using the Wireless configuration in KDE Control Center, but that's not overly helpful either.

    So, I though "I'll try using the NDISWrapper". Slight problem - I don't appear to have the source files installed (despite selecting FULL INSTALL when I set slack up on here) and therefore "make" fails when creating the ndis program.

    As a FYI (it may or may not help in assisting me), I ran lspci and got:

    Network controller: Intersil Corporation Intersil ISL3890
     [Prism GT/Prism Duete] (rev 01)
    Thanks for reading this, and let me know if you need any more info!

  2. #2

    Talking Ahoy.

    As I said in our phone conversation (in a seemingly shrinking world) , double check that your router isnt blocking it for any strange reason, and to be on the safe side, create a rule to always allow that Laptops ip address through the firewall.. perchance not brilliantly secure, but it should be fine. If not, im stumped for now.. you made sure the Wnic is configured all fine?


    " Access Point: 00:00:00:00:00:00 " have you tried changing that to the Mac of the router?

    probably a useless suggestion, but more than likely worth a try.

  3. #3

    The world does seem to be getting worryingly smaller

    I'll give it a go when I get home (Which may not be tonight because of obvious reasons ) and I'll let you know!

    Would iwconfig eth0 essid <wirelessname> not pick up the Router's MAC address anyway?

    Looking at "man iwconfig" (albeit on a Fedora box) it says you can enter "iwconfig eth0 ap ma:ca:dd:re:ss:et:c0" so I will let you know how i get on

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4


    Idve hoped it would pick up the routers mac address, but, then again, Lin* does do some strange things, Win* being no better either way, yeah, let me know how you get on, as i had problems with Linspire and wireless networks.. sorted now, but twas bad.

    oh, by the way, is eth0 definatly the wireless card? because i had a 10/100 nic in mine, and a wireless card, and trying to configure a none wireless nic to be wireless doesnt work.. xD

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Rynth
    oh, by the way, is eth0 definatly the wireless card? because i had a 10/100 nic in mine, and a wireless card, and trying to configure a none wireless nic to be wireless doesnt work.. xD

    Yup, eth0 is definitely wireless. It's a really slimline laptop, so luxuries like cd, fdd and even lan ports have been removed
    Oh, it has got a built in "winmodem" but I'm relatively certain i'll never need to use that, so I'll just pretend it doesn't exist (From what I read winmodem + Linux = think again!)

  7. #6


    most definatly, you cant mix anything beginning with Win and linux together, you just get a rather large explosion of non-workingness, eitherhoo im sure we should both have work to be doing

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Rynth
    eitherhoo im sure we should both have work to be doing

    Erm, good point. What are we paying you for again?

  9. #8
    Tried forcing the laptop to use the default MAC address of the router, but doesn't connect at all (nothing showing at all in the Routers logs). I've turned authentication off on the Router too, but this makes no difference.

    The status lights on the W/NIC seem quite dim. I can't remember for sure exactly how bright they were in Windows XP, but I'm sure they were brighter, which is making think this could be a driver issue?

  10. #9
    Woke up today and thought "Right, I will get this sorted today!!".

    So, I've looked into it a bit more and it appears I was using a bundled Prism54 driver. I've now changed to another Prism54 firmware and appear to be getting somewhere.

    When the card is hotplugged now, or I run dhcp -n eth0 the activity light flickers for approx one minute, then stops. While this is running, iwconfig changes the line "NOT READY!" to "IEEE 802.11b/g", which I'm guessing is a good thing. Also, the values for frequency and TX Power change as it appears to be scanning.

    But, the DHCP scan eventually fails. No attempt to pick up a DHCP address is registered on my router either. Any ideas, anyone?

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