Cardbus wireless on old laptop (Gateway Solo 9100)
I decided to take on the project of trying to achieve wireless internet connectivity on an old laptop. I decided that a cheap cardbus card would be the only reasonable choice since this computer has USB 1.0 ports and no ethernet connector.
There are 256 MB of memory installed and the specs of the machine are at support.gateway.com/s/Mobile/Solo_Series/P91tvd/P91tvd02.shtml (it won't let me post URL's because I haven't made enough posts here).
I decided to go the Linux route since so many wifi cards do not have drivers for Windows 98 which is what was installed on this machine (some start at Windows 98se others at Windows XP). In particular, I decided I needed to go with a "lightweight" distribution.
I found that they are a bunch out there that claim to fit the bill (though not all actually do --namely, any newer Ubuntu derivative seems to have trouble with very low memory configurations).
I got a Trendnet TEW-421PC card which is based on a Realtek chipset. It seemed to work on Puppy Wary 5.2 (and later other distros such as Slitaz) but only very, very inconsistently. Sometimes it would not even allow Puppy to boot. Most often when I tried to set it up it would seem to freeze the OS. I later found out that the OS was not truly frozen and the responsiveness would be restored by pulling out the card.
The same sort of behavior repeated in other lightweight distros.
I figured that there was simply something wrong with the card and got a different card. This time it was a D-Link DWA-642 which should be able to run with the ath9k driver. Again, it worked extremely inconsistently (depending on the distro) and though it did not behave exactly the same way I was also able to reproduce the behavior where the OS seems to have totally crashed but will go back to normal as soon as the card is removed.
Seeing that this is happening with two very different cards I no longer feel that I can blame it on the cards. I will also note that I have tried them both on a different computer (a Dell Latitude D630) and they both seem to work there.
I would love to know what is going on here.
I would also love to know if there is some setting (maybe relating to PCMCIA or IRQ handling or whatever) which one might be able to tweak to stop this behavior.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.