BT broadband won't connect with 3945abg drivers

Q I have recently switched to BT broadband and I'm trying to connect to the BT Home Hub using Wi-Fi. I have installed the Intel/PRO 3945abg drivers and iwconfig shows the network interface as up, but KNetworkManager won't connect to the hub. I've set the encryption system to Open System and entered 40/104-bit hex key. The network manager hangs at 28% and then re- prompts for the WEP key. The BT Home Hub docs say that the encryption is 128 -bit. Any pointers as to how to connect to the hub would be greatly appreciated. Here's the output from iwconfig:

eth2 IEEE 802.11g ESSID:c
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.412 GHz
Access Point: 00:14:7F:BE:0D:9D
Bit Rate:54 Mb/s Tx-Power:15 dBm
Retry limit:15 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:
off
Encryption key:xxxx-xxxx-xx Security
mode:open
Power Management:off
Link Quality=77/100 Signal level=-57 dBm
Noise level=-58 dBm
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:65 Rx
invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:126
Missed beacon:0

A The iwconfig output looks good except for the encryption key, which is too long for 64-bit and too short for 128-bit, so this is probably an encryption problem. The first thing to do is turn on encryption on both the Home Hub and your computer. Wireless encryption is good generally, but it gets in the way when you're trying to configure your connection. It's easiest to configure an unencrypted connection first and then apply encryption when the connection is working. You turn off encryption for the Home Hub in its web administration page. The manual will tell you the address to type into your browser, and the default password, to access this.

While you're there it's a good chance to change the password if you haven't already. Your iwconfig output indicates that this should work with no problem. Once you've verified it works by connecting to an external web page (try www.linuxformat.co.uk because Mike likes to see the hit count go up) you can turn WEP encryption back on. WEP uses so-called 64-bit or 128-bit encryption. 'So called' because 24-bits aren't available to you to change, which is where the 40-bit and 104-bit figures come from. The 128-bit key should be entered as a 16-character hexadecimal string, usually broken up with dashes to make it more readable, as in XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX. If you can't get this to work with KNetworkManager, try running iwconfig directly from a terminal, as root. This may provide you with some useful error messages. The commands that you need are:

ifconfig eth2 up
iwconfig eth2 key open XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX
iwconfig eth2 essid "BTHomeHub-8AF2"
dhcpcd eth2

Once you have it working through the terminal, you can plug the details into KNetworkManager, or turn off NetworkManager in Yast and use the standard Yast network configuration instead. Searching the internet for information on this brought up far more problems than success stories. The consensus seems to be that this isn't a particularly good wireless hub (even though it's styled to look like a smart Apple accessory), and that a wireless access point/router from one of the standard networking companies would actually be a much better bet. But given that this unit comes free with your connection, it's probably worth spending at least some time trying to get it working acceptably.

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