Tag Archives: wireless

Tweaking the rt2500pci for Jaunty

With the release of Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) it is time to dust off the tweaks I perform with each new version.

I have a few RaLink rt2500 based wireless (wifi) pci adapters from MSI . One issue I tweak for is well known and is due to the way the driver is initialised in the kernel at 1Mb/s instead of 54Mb/s.

The other problem is related to suspend. It is nice to see that suspend and resume is working so well in Jaunty. Unfortunately the rt2500pci doesn’t seem to wake up after resuming from suspend.

It appears that there is an easy solution for the rt2500pci or the hard way. The easy solution is to install linux-backports-modules-jaunty (sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-jaunty).

Problems solved.

(August 26, 2009 – Well not always. I seem to have to use the procedure below to get my machine to return from suspend without locking up.)

The more difficult (not recommended – but works more reliably for me) methods:

1) The old solution for the network connection speed was to type the following in the terminal:

sudo gedit /etc/rc.local

and add the line:

/sbin/iwconfig wlan0 rate 54M

Make sure it is before “exit 0″ and save it. After the next restart it should be operating at full speed. To make it happen sooner than after the next restart you can run this command in your favourite terminal:

sudo /sbin/iwconfig wlan0 rate 54M

and then uncheck and recheck “wireless networking” in the Network Manager Applet.

2) The old solution for suspend/resume was to add a file to the /etc/pm/config.d directory:

sudo gedit /etc/pm/config.d/rt2500pci

and add the line:

SUSPEND_MODULES="rt2500pci"

The file name can be whatever you want it to be but go ahead and save it and then after the next restart it should wake from suspend properly.

* Updated August 26, 2009 – Second set of procedures work better for me.

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Auto Login Prompts for Keyring Password for Wireless Connection

The kitchen computer is configured to login auto magically using an unprivileged user account. It is using Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) and it has the annoying habit of asking for the password to allow access to the local keyring for the wireless key. As it turns out, the solution is to use one of the new features in Network Manager. That is to use the “System Setting” option in the “Network Connections” dialog in Network Manager. Make sure you have your wireless key handy and ready for copying and pasting. If you need a good key why not visit Gibson Research Corporation and get a perfect key. If you do, you will need to change it on all your devices that use the wireless network.

To get there you would right click the Network Manager tray icon on the upper left and then select “Edit Connections“. Then click on the “Wireless” tab. Click on the wireless network you have previously created or create a new one. At the top of the dialog make sure the “Connect automatically” and “System setting” options are checked. Click on Ok to save the settings. To make this change you will have to use an account that has the rights to make administrative changes or it will ask you to authenticate using such an account.

You may need remove the keyring entry as well “Applications->Accessories->Password and Encryption Keys“. Click on the “Passwords” tab, click on the key for your wireless connection and then click on “Edit->Delete Key” and then “Key->Quit“. Now after a restart, if everything worked out well, the system should login to your wireless network without regard for who is logged in.

I am not sure when they added this feature to Network Manager, I haven’t noticed it before. It is a feature that I would have switched to Wicd to have and still might if I was not using Gnome as my display manager. This feature also allows the machine to connect if the display manager is shutdown or if there is no one logged in which is useful if you are running some services that need to be available to the network.

For those who are interested in the background in the picture. It is among the standard Gnome backgrounds that can be installed using the following:

sudo apt-get install gnome-backgrounds

It is one of the png based backgrounds called “Flow” but with the background changed to green.

* April 14, 2009 – For Jaunty Jackalope (Ubuntu 9.04) Check the “Available to all users” check box at the bottom of the edit network connections dialog window.

Gutsy Beta Wireless Working Well

We are about a week away from the release of Ubuntu “Gutsy Gibbon” 7.10 and the release candidate should come out today. I am very happy to report that my rt2500 wireless pci cards and usb Airlink 101 (ZyDAS zd1211b) AWLL3026 are all working with network-manager and WPA. It is a pleasant change that no special futzing was required to get WPA to work.

You can make your life easier by choosing hardware that works well with Ubuntu or Linux (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/WirelessCardsSupported), bring your LiveCD with you and test before buying or make sure you can return it if it doesn’t work.

I have had good results with rt2500 and zd1211 based wireless adapters and also Intel Centrino laptops. I am eagerly awaiting the final release. In the mean time there have been refreshes from other distributions such as openSUSE 10.3, Puppy Linux 3.0 and so many more.

Feisty vs Averatec 3700

I have been working with Ubuntu 7.04 “Feisty Fawn” for a while now and love it. I ran into a bit of a snag upgrading the Averatec 3700 notebook, though. You could probably do a distribution upgrade of a properly working Ubuntu 6.10 by popping the Ubuntu 7.04 Live CD into the CDROM drive while running the old version and following the prompts. I like a nice clean new install.

When I tried to install Feisty by booting from the Ubuntu 7.04 Live CD, I discovered the Live CD now runs the network manager applet by default. As I have mentioned in the past, the rt2500 wireless network adapter and the network manager applet don’t seem to play nice unless you have the option “DisableIRQ” in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. As a result the system starts up very slowly. So slowly that it appears to be locked up.

To solve my problem I downloaded the “Alternate” Ubuntu 7.04 install CD and selected the first option “text install”. It isn’t as pretty as the graphical install but since it doesn’t use the network manager applet there is no freeze up during the initial startup of the “Live CD”.

At the end of the install it prompts you to remove the install CD and restart. This is the important part. I needed to somehow edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf and /etc/network/interfaces before the newly installed feisty starts up for the first time. I could have used the old Ubuntu 6.10 LiveCD to start the machine up and edit the needed files. Instead I used DSL (Damn Small Linux) (which boots up nice and quick) and I always keep a copy nearby.

After starting up DSL, I mounted the drive I just installed Feisty on (using the mount tool on the lower right corner) and used my favourite text editor to add option “DisableIRQ” to /mnt/hda1/etc/X11/xorg.conf:
(hda1 depends upon which drive and partition Feisty is installed on)

Section “Device”
    Identifier    ”VIA Technologies, Inc. S3 Unichrome Pro VGA Adapter”
    Driver    ”via”
    BusID    ”PCI:1:0:0″
    option    ”DisableIRQ”
EndSection

After saving the changes I then had to add the magic to /mnt/hda1/etc/network/interfaces to get the rt2500 to talk to my wireless access point:

#auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp
 
auto ra0
iface ra0 inet dhcp
pre-up iwconfig ra0 essid yourssid
pre-up iwconfig ra0 mode managed
pre-up iwpriv ra0 set Channel=11
pre-up iwpriv ra0 set AuthMode=WPAPSK
pre-up iwpriv ra0 set EncrypType=TKIP
pre-up iwpriv ra0 set WPAPSK=”your wireless key
pre-up iwpriv ra0 set TxRate=0

I commented out the auto eth0 by putting a # in front of it and added auto ra0 because most of the time I use the wireless network with my notebook. I put my real ssid, the channel my wireless access point uses and my real wireless key in the appropriate places and saved the file.

Remember it is wise to use the full 63 character WPA key since it is the best way to reasonably ensure the integrity of your wireless network (WEP is not secure). A good place to get a nice random key is from the Gibson Research Corporation (GRC) “Perfect Passwords” generator. Once you have a nice key copy it to a USB flash drive and transfer it to those machines that need it. It is really hard to write and type it with accuracy and I don’t even try anymore.

So now after shutting down properly and restarting without the DSL CD in my drive I have a fully Feisty Averatec 3700 notebook talking to my wireless network and protected by WPA encryption. There is some bad news. The network manager applet doesn’t seem to be working as I would like it to. I really like network manager and will see if I can get it to operate normally. Probably just need to futz with my /etc/network/interfaces file a bit.

I also apologize to newer linux users out there since I have glossed over some concepts that will lose them. This is harder than it should be, there is a bit of a learning curve.

** Update – I noticed a walk through several months ago on the unofficial averatec support forum (broken at the moment) and thought it too daunting to replace the memory or hard drive. Too many ways to mess up when opening the case of a laptop. http://www.larwe.com/technical/av3715-open.html

Wireless is finally working on my Averatec 3700!

Huzaa, it works!

I spent alot of time trying to get Ubuntu (both dapper and edgy) to work with the wireless adapter in my Averatec 3700 laptop/notebook. The rt2500 802.11b/g chipset is well supported in more recent linux distributions so I was depressed when I ran into this snag. It would be so slow that it appeared to be locked up. I had to leave the Ralink rt2500 module blacklisted(/etc/modprobe.d/blacklist) so that it would not load automatically and use the cat5 network connection instead.

As many now know, wireless connections should either be tunnelled through ssh or a vpn or you should be using WPA with a long key. WEP is not secure. I tried various USB 802.11g adapters, a few of the 802.11b pc card adapters I had sitting around and was prepared to tunnel my connection with ssh over an open access point since none of them supported WPA.

I recently searched again for Averatec 3700, rt2500 and Ubuntu and found users of other Averatec models suggesting adding option “DisableIRQ” to the “Device” section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Sure enough it solved the problem.

This was the one that solved the problem for me (posted Dec 2006):
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=312821

But I also noticed this one which had been posted back in July (too bad I didn’t notice it back then):
http://opalescent.ca/averatec_3700-ed1.html

So now the built-in wireless adapter in my laptop is working with WPA and Ubuntu. I have also found some PCI rt2500 based 802.11g wireless cards for my desktops for a reasonable price ($20ea) as well.