12 November 2004

Although the slew of Linux commands in the following section might seem like they are a bit cumbersom, it is actually not that difficult to configure the MA521 to use ndiswrapper.

We first start with the basic install of ndiswrapper. Follow the instructions in the ndiswrapper readme. You must be superusered in order to install ndiswrapper. This can be accomplished from a user-shell by typing su and then supplying your root password. If I recall the installation instructions, you type

 ./configure
make
make install

Now we install the drivers for the MA521. I have found that the drivers provided by netgear make my distribution (Suse 9.0 pro) very unstable. I suggest downloading the driver from RealTek. I currently use these drivers and they work fine. Follow the installation instructions from ndiswrapper on how to install a driver into ndiswrapper.

Now, we load the driver into the kernel. As root:

modprobe ndiswrapper_

Now, we use iwconfig to setup the card to the access point that we wish. By typing

iwconfig

One should see the list of devices that are part of your system. wlan0 should be your MA521 wireless card. I have provided a table of some common configuration options for iwconfig below along with command structures:

Configuring to access an AP without WEP

Type the following at the root prompt:

iwconfig wlan0 mode managed
iwconfig wlan0 channel CHANNEL_NUMBER
iwconfig wlan0 essid SSID_NAME

Then bring up the interface as described below

Configuring to access a AP with WEP

Type the following at the root prompt:

iwconfig wlan0 mode managed
iwconfig wlan0 channel CHANNEL_NUMBER
iwconfig wlan0 essid SSID_NAME
iwconfig wlan0 key WEP_KEY

Then bring up the interface as described below

Bringing up the interface

Now, bring up the interface

ifconfig wlan0 up

If your network uses DHCP, I always get an error, but I do get an IP address:

dhcpcd wlan0

Otherwise, you can enter your IP Manually:

ifconfig wlan0 STATIC_IP_ADDRESS netmask NETMASK_ADDR

route add default gw GATEWAY_ADDR

If you do this frequently, I suggest you write a shell script to automate this behavior.

If you are in an area which you don’t know what the SSID of an access point is, you can use some of the other iwconfig tools. iwlist is one of them. Type iwlist --help to get a full listing of the items which are supported. iwlist scanning also provides useful information.