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  1. #1

    [SOLVED] Wireless USB devices

    I am a newbie, will always be to Linux. I've been using Ubuntu 8.04 now for a couple of years.
    I use a Belkin 5FD7050 v 4000 USB device zd1211rw is the driver.

    I want a reference that gives me the howto's and why's of all those commands related to wireless.
    Most of the howto's say do this and do that. I want to know why. Kind of a ground up approach. Can anyone refer me to such a reference?

    Most of the time when I boot Ubuntu I get my wireless connection. After my computer is shutdown for a while, and I boot to 8.04, I have difficulty getting a connection. I also have 9.04 and 9.10 installed on my harddrive and they are pretty good about giving me an automatic connection on bootup. If I then go from 9.04 or 9.10 and boot to 8.04, I can get a connection. So a cold boot into 8.04 results about 50% of the time in no connection.

    I suspect my usb device is a little sleepy when it comes to 8.04, and I am just trying to perfect it. The zd1211rw is apparently a native driver I wonder if there is another device installed that sometimes conflicts with my zd1211rw "driver".

    I use lsusb, lshw -C network, iwconfig etc. Just learning about modprobe, blacklisting, and lsmod, and a few others.

    The gnome-network-manager has never worked for me from 8.10 back to Dapper Drake. The system freezes when I use it. On 9.10 the network manager works flawlessly for me.

    I know wireless connections can be a problem with Linux, or at least Ubuntu and there are many variables.

    Just want a reference to understand it better, from the ground up

    An inquiring mind wants to know.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    I can be found either 40 miles west of Chicago, in Chicago, or in a galaxy far, far away.
    As you have seen, 9.04 and later handle these devices better than 8.04 did. I never tried them on 8.04, but I've used similar ones on 9.04 without any problems. My best guess is that 8.04 is leaving the device in some bogus state which persists between booting, and/or the power to the device via the USB port is not automatically activated on 8.04 when you cold boot. Sorry, but other than suggesting that you make sure your 8.04 system is fully up-to-date kernel/driver wise, I am mostly clueless.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  3. #3
    Thanks. Judging from lack of response on Ubuntu forums to many wireless problems, a lot of "wireless science", must be just black magic and getting a connection sometimes is a matter of luck. One user can get get it work with the same setup I have. Another user is totally unable to connect.

    I am very impressed with 9.10 and hope the next LTS learns from 9.10.

    Looking for a primary (elementary) reference on these things. One item, it seems to me using ndiswrapper, modprobe, and then blacklisting, you're adding a driver and then blacklisting it?

    Those are the kind of things that confuse me.

    I learn from my mistakes. I found out what modprobe -r did when I deleted my wireless driver. Got it back using a modprobe ignore command. Just think there should be an easier way: something like NDISWRAPPER or MODPROBE for Complete IDIOTS.
    Thanks again.

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    I can be found either 40 miles west of Chicago, in Chicago, or in a galaxy far, far away.
    I agree that there is a lot of black magic in dealing with wireless in the Linux environment, and a definitive tome "for dummies" on the subject would be useful. I spend an inordinate amount of time helping people get their wireless cruft to work with various versions of linux, and what you need to do is very much predicated upon what device you are trying to use. Sort of like that old saw, "The nice thing about standards, is that there are so many!"...
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  6. #5
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Boston, MA
    Ah, a definitive tome would be nice. Mostly for some of the obscure workarounds. The basics aren't too mysterious.

    For me, I've just spend time reading the man pages on various commands, especially wireless, to try and get a grasp on them. And if there are terms I don't get, I google until I have at least some understanding. The Ubuntu Community Documentation site and the Arch Wiki are two of my best friends.

    Ultimately, I think the best way to learn is by doing. December is my 2 year anniversary switching to linux. I'm pretty happy with the amount that I've learned, though there are definitely areas I wish I knew more. (Especially shell scripting. I look at the grml distro's zshrc file and it's like a work of art to me. I use it, but I don't utilize a hundreth of what it can do, I'm sure. )

    My problem is, I can do everything I need to do with my computer pretty simply. I really don't use it for much. Average user, mostly web surfing, play videos and music. So I gotta push myself to find new challenges or things to learn, but I'm no good at making myself do something I don't actually have a use for. So helping people here is good for finding out how to do things.

  7. #6
    I too suggest that you read the Linux man pages for specific commands. To do this, run the command in a terminal but precede it with the term "man".
    man modprobe
    Use the up/down arrow keys to navigate, and the "q" key to exit (quit).
    Please do not send Private Messages to me with requests for help. I will not reply.

  8. #7
    I found the man modprobe to be pretty good. Many of the man pages were pretty cryptic for me.

    I occasionally read launchpad, and sometimes it helps me understand issues better. Most of the time, it is over my head.

    Mostly, I learn from my mistakes, and attempting to correct them.

    Thanks Rubberman, reed9, and waterhead for your input. reed9 you give this "forever a newb." encouragement and hope.
    11:21AM CDT

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