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  1. #1

    Debian Network Adapter Support

    Hey guys,

    I had a couple of questions regarding whether Debian offers support for my particular network adapters. I have previous experience using Slackware and FreeBSD, and it was a hassle getting my wireless adapter to work on my desktop back then. I now have a Sony Vaio VGN-FZ190 laptop with an Intel (R) Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN adapter and a Marvell Yukon 88E8036 PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller. I use both as I alternate quite often between wireless and ethernet connection and was wondering whether these were supported by the kernel used by Debian. I have done some research and it does appear that the Intel adapter is supported (linux kernel 2.6.23 or later - would mean I would need to install testing lenny version I believe) although some have reported problems (most of the forum posts I have found are older though). I have not found much information regarding the Marvell Yukon adapter. Does anyone have any experience with either one of these adapters. I would like to know a little more before I choose to partition this hard drive and install Debian. Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
    To check on wireless support for many wireless devices, check this site:
    Drivers - Linux Wireless

    There is support for your Intel wireless, using the iwl4965 driver. It needs firmware installed for it to work. Many Linux distributions include the firmware, but I don't know about Debian. There are also several versions of the firmware. The output of this command should tell you if it is looking for a specific version.
    dmesg  grep firmware
    Firmware can be downloaded from here (you want the microcode image):
    Intel® Wireless WiFi Link drivers for Linux*

    There is a driver for the Marvell wireless, but I don't know if it supports your wireless chip. There are actually two, the libertas and the libertas_tf.

    You can always add the latest versions of the open source drivers by following the instruction here:
    Download - Linux Wireless

    I specified "open source", because there may be drivers that are not open source. In the case of your Marvell wireless, you may need to install the driver that is available from the Marvell web site.

    Marvell: Download Drivers

    When installing drivers manually, there are some programs and files needed first.

    kernel source
    kernel headers
    gcc (the Linux C compiler)

    These should be installable using the apt-get command.
    Please do not send Private Messages to me with requests for help. I will not reply.

  3. #3
    Alright, so I'm now in the process of trying to install Debian lenny.
    I did however run into some trouble when trying to set up the wireless connection. Once I started the installation I got to a point where it told me the following:
    Detect Network Hardware
    Some of your hardware needs non-free firmware files to operate.  The firmware can be loaded from removable media, such as a USB stick or floopy.  The missing firmware files are: iwlwifi-4965-1.ucode
    If you have such media available now, insert it, and continue.
    Load missing firmware from removable media?

    I found this website: Intel® Wireless WiFi Link drivers for Linux* where I am able to download the file "iwlwifi-4965-ucode-" I put it on a usb drive and pressed Yes without
    receiving any confirmation or message. The next step was to set up the network and it for some reason was not able to
    automatically detect the DHCP settings and I chose to manually configure it at which point it asks for the DHCP hostname.
    I am not quite sure how to locate this information and I wasn't able to find the answer from google. Does anyone know what I should do?


  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    You didn't have to search the internet for the firmware, it was my second link in my last post.

    The firmware that you downloaded is the -2 version, and it is looking for the -1 version. You can get the -1 version from the same site, or by using this link:

    Untar it and put it in the /lib/firmware folder (as root).
    Please do not send Private Messages to me with requests for help. I will not reply.

  6. #5
    Yeah sorry about that. Your link is how I got that file. I posted this question on a couple of different forums though and just made one generic post and forgot to adapt it for my response to this thread.

    Anyways, how would I place the file in the /lib/firmware folder while running the installation (I am doing a graphical installation). Is that where it is automatically placed when if I load it on a usb drive and press OK like it stated? And if this is the case, can I leave it in the .tar format or do I first need to untar it (if so, how - again I have not run across any area where I am able to use the command line)? Thanks for your help.

  7. #6
    You can put the file in the /lib/firmware folder after the installation is finished, and you reboot. If you don't have a wired connection and need to use the copy from the CD, then you first need to find where it is mounting the CD. I have two DVD drives, named cdrom0 and cdrom1. The main one is cdrom0, and is mounted under the /mnt folder. So, in a terminal I would first copy the file to my home folder.

    First go to the mounted CD and make sure it is the correct one.
    cd /mnt/cdrom0
    Now list the contents of the folder.
    ls -l
    That is a lower case "L", not the number one. Now copy it to your home folder.
    cp iwlwifi-4965-ucode- ~/
    This will copy it to your home folder. Now move to your home folder, and unpack it.
    cd ~/
    tar xvfz iwlwifi-4965-ucode-
    This will create a folder with the firmware in it. Move to that folder:
    cd iwlwifi-4965-ucode-
    You now need to gain root privileges using the su command. When you enter the root password, it will be hidden.
    Password:<enter root password>
    Now copy the firmware to the /lib/firmware folder.
    cp iwlwifi-4965-1.ucode /lib/firmware
    It looks more complicted than it actually is. I used commands and methods that are very common in Linux, and used quite often.
    Please do not send Private Messages to me with requests for help. I will not reply.

  8. #7
    Thanks for all your help waterhead.

    So I have now successfully installed Debian and it boots fine. I decided to hold off on configuring the wireless network during the actual installation process. After installing it, I followed all the commands and placed the file "iwlwifi-4965-1.ucode" in /lib/firmware (It is now the only file in this directory). I am now not certain how to configure the network (wlan0). I've tried doing a bit of research but I am not still not quite sure how to do it. I need to connect to a router using a WEP key.


  9. #8
    You can look again for any firmware messages or errors, using this command.
    dmesg | grep firmware
    You are best off using NetworkManager to handle all network connections, as this is the best way to connect to wireless networks. I don't really know how to get this to work in Debian. When NetworkManager is running, there is an icon in the system tray (taskbar), near where the time is shown. Click on the icons to see if one of them is for network connections.

    If it is not running, you can start it with this command.
    This will only start the applet that runs in the system tray. Try it to see if it will work.

    Maybe I'm getting a little ahead of things. If NetworkManager isn't installed, then you can install it with this command. First use su to gain root privileges.
    apt-get install network-manager
    That will install the NetworkManager backend. To install the frontend, use this command for the Gnome desktop.
    apt-get install network-manager-gnome
    Or for the KDE desktop.
    apt-get install network-manager-kde
    You should probably reboot to allow the new service to load at boot. You then should be able to use NetworkManager for all network connections. Right click the NM icon for setup, and left click for available networks.
    Please do not send Private Messages to me with requests for help. I will not reply.

  10. #9
    For more information on NetworkManager on Debian, read these documents.


    Yes, I guess that I'm saying RTFM.
    Please do not send Private Messages to me with requests for help. I will not reply.

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