Get Belkin WiFi card working with rt2500 driver
Q I was wondering if you could help with a Wi-Fi/NdisWrapper problem. I'm trying to get a Belkin card to work under NdisWrapper using the rt2500 Windows XP driver. The online instructions are great and I detected the card, worked out what driver I needed and so on. I've installed NdisWrapper, installed the XP driver and when I type ndiswrapper-l it shows the driver installed and hardware present. I then did modprobe to load NdisWrapper into the kernel, configured the wireless LAN settings and it all worked fine. When I rebooted, of course, it forgot everything and I now can't get it work. NdisWrapper still shows the driver installed and hardware present, but the lights are off on the card and when I try to configure it and get an IP using DHCP it says 'no link present check cable'. I've rerun modprobe ndiswrapper, and had the card out and back in again, but the card still doesn't light up.
A This sort of problem is not uncommon with NdisWrapper, but it should not affect you. There is no need to use NdisWrapper with an rt2500 wireless card, because it should only be used when there is no Linux driver for the card (running Windows code as root is not something you should do if you can avoid it). Linux kernel drivers for the rt2500 chipset are available from http://rt2x00.serialmonkey.com and http://sourceforge.net/projects/rt2400. Don't worry about the 2400 in the name - the same project produces drivers for the rt2400 (802.11b) and rt2500 (802.11g) chipsets. These are semi-official drivers in that they are based on the original closed source drivers from Ralink, which it was subsequently encouraged to release under the GPL. As well as the drivers themselves, the project includes a GUI for wireless scanning and configuration.
Some distros, such as Debian, include the drivers in their repositories, while with others you need to build from source. Without knowing your distro it is hard to give specific installation advice, but if you want to install from source, you will need the kernel sources installed. These are usually in a package called something like kernel-sources, linux-sources or kernel-devel. Make sure you install the package with the same version as your running kernel. As with all external kernel modules, if you ever upgrade your kernel you will need to reinstall the module. Because you may not have internet access until you do, I'd advise you to keep a copy of the source tarball or installation package somewhere safe. If you insist on using NdisWrapper, it looks like you need to run ndiswrapper -m to set up an alias for wlan0 in the NdisWrapper configuration. This forces NdisWrapper to load the module and driver
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