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  1. #1

    Please help with Atheros wifi connection

    Folks, I've done a ton of research on my own on this problem, and lots of troubleshooting, with some progress, but still stuck.

    Laptop is MSI GX710 with Atheros AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI adapter built in.

    Access Point is Netgear WG102 connected (wired) to Netgear Router FVS318. Any Windows/Mac machine with a working wifi adapter connects to it successfully.

    The laptop came preloaded with Windows Vista, and connected successfully with the AP.

    I removed Vista and installed Ubuntu 8.10. Wired connection works perfectly well. WIFI connection fails.

    Based on recommendations in official Ubuntu wireless troubleshooting guide, I installed ndiswrapper, downloaded the windows driver, and installed it via the utility provided by ndiswrapper (System->Administration>Windows Wireless Drivers). This tool reports "Hardware present: Yes"

    lsmod shows a long list of modules, not sure what I should look for, but it doesn't list anything that looks like wlan or wifi (it does list ndiswrapper though).

    sudo lshw -C network shows that the wifi is "UNCLAIMED" which according to ubuntu means there is no driver loaded. That conflicts with the above.

    Please, any help would be appreciated. I don't want to resort to buying a USB wifi adapter when there already is one built in.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Boston, MA
    I believe the ath5k driver works with your wireless card. Look here for installation in 8.10.

    You'll need to make sure ndiswrapper is not loading, or it will likely conflict.

    I think this card might work out of the box in the 9.04 release, if you decide to upgrade. You might burn a live cd and test it out.

  3. #3
    As reed9 already pointed out, that wireless should work with the ath5k driver. But Ubuntu didn't include that driver in 8.10, you had to install and use the Madwifi driver from the Ubuntu repository instead.

    I hear that 9.04 includes the ath5k driver, but that their version isn't working too good, and needs to be upgraded from the repository.

    I am using Fedora 10, and the AR242x wireless does work out-of-the-box.
    Please do not send Private Messages to me with requests for help. I will not reply.

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  5. #4
    Thank you both very much for your suggestions. I followed all the steps in the linked document, to no avail. I will try a live CD of Jaunty as suggested, see if that makes a difference, and will post results.

  6. #5
    Well, re-reading the documents, I found out that I didn't even have the backports package installed (which includes the ath5k driver). Even after installing that, disabling the ndiswrapper, undoing the blacklisting referred to in the document, it still failed to connect.

    So - tried a live-cd of Jaunty, the live session connected to my secure WIFI network just fine - prompted me for the key, and allowed me to create a password.

    The system also popped up a suggestion for an "alternate" Atheros driver, tested by the Ubuntu team and approved. If either of you know anything about this, I'll be grateful for your info, and if not, I might as well leave well enough alone for a while.

    Thanks again both, and have a great weekend.

  7. #6
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Boston, MA
    I don't know what the "alternate" driver is. Perhaps the ath9k? If it's working well, seems like there's no reason to mess with it.

  8. #7
    It depends on which driver you are currently using. There are two drivers that work:

    ath_pci (Madwifi)

    To find out which one you are actually using, run this command and look for either of the above.
    The ath5k is somewhat new, and is 100% open source. The Madwifi driver has been around for a while, and uses a proprietary binary program called HAL, which is not open source. Since the preference in Linux is for open-source, the Madwifi driver will eventually be completely replaced by the ath5k/ath9k family of drivers. There is very little new development on the Madwifi driver, as all developement is shifting to the ath5k/ath9k drivers.
    Please do not send Private Messages to me with requests for help. I will not reply.

  9. #8
    Thanks again both of you, great info. lsmod reports ath5k, and modules mac80211, cfg80211, and led_class in use by ath5k.

    And sorry I didn't take a better look earlier, but the restricted drivers tool describes the alternate wifi driver as "alternate madwifi for Atheros wireless LAN cards." Since it sounds from your description that madwifi is a dead-end anyway, I won't touch it.

    Thanks again guys, I had almost lost hope after all the troubleshooting led to no results. I've run Debian/Ubuntu/Mandriva before, on 4 other computers, this is my very first laptop ever, so I was excited about getting wifi to work.

    Best regards and enjoy the weekend

  10. #9
    The Madwifi driver is a working driver. If you have an older kernel it is your only choice. If I use Red Hat 5 or CentOS 5, I have to use the Madwifi driver.
    Please do not send Private Messages to me with requests for help. I will not reply.

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