Saturday, March 18, 2006

Easiest way to get WiFi working under Linux

I bought this Athlon 64 3500+ socket 939+MB combo and installed Windows XP and CentOS 4.2 for AMD64 onto it. CentOS is just a build off the RedHat source code. I have an old D-Link DWL-G122 USB wireless dongle for connecting to the WiFi router downstairs. It works under Windows XP, as D-Link supplied the Windows 32 bit driver. Under Linux, it was a struggle, I tried to use the RT2500USB drivers, but found actually the USB dongle was a Prism54 chip. I also tried to use ndiswrapper, which allows you to use Windows drivers under Linux, unfortunately, with that approach, I have to use 64 bit Windows drivers under 64 bit Linux too, but there is none available. Going back to the dark, primitive, uncivilized age of IA32 computing is not an option, AMD64 is here today, and I must use it to its full potential.

I was at Frys today, and I found this AirLink101 Super G Model AP421W Wireless Access Point for $49.It was exactly what I need, as it can operate in AP Client and wireless bridge mode. To setup, I connect an ethernet cable from the Linux PC to the AP421W, point my browser to the AP's address at 192.168.1.250, set the device in AP Client mode, enter stuff like WEP key, etc, and viola, the 64 bit Linux PC is online, no drivers, no hassle, faster WiFi speed (USB dongle too small) --- I am writing this 64 bit article right now off the CentOS 4.2 box. Linux looks cooler and runs faster than Windows XP. I even run my 32 bit Windows apps under Wine.

I have tried the 64 bit version of OpenOffice, it opens much faster than under 32 bit Windows, FireFox is also a lot faster. The machine has only 512MB of RAM, but I feel no need to add more at this point. Folks who have AMD64 today will be pleasantly surprised that their PC gets free 10-40% performance boost by just upgrading to a new 64 bit OS, Intel EM64T users will actually find their PCes run slower in 64 bit. This I call the AMD64 effect.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slippery Slope says: Awesome. I can't touch my wife's new Turion 64 (Windows XP) because its her work computer, but the small research company that employs me is an AMD/Linux shop and our next replacement cycle should bring even more AMD64's in house. Likewise, when I upgrade my own two home computers they will be AMD 64/Linux (SuSE/KDE).

4:07 PM, March 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why CentOS ? What is special ? How about White Box Linux ?

9:23 AM, March 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did the exact same thing to get my WinXP64 computer online at home... :)

11:20 AM, March 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only the AP421W could connect as an AP client to a wireless gateway that isn't broadcasting an SSID. I've tried a lot of ways, with and without their tech support's help, but either it won't connect (with no SSID on) or drops the connection (if I turn SSID on, then off again). Requests for firmware update have only been met with responses like "Currently there is no timetable [for an update]."

2:36 PM, May 24, 2006  

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