Inteo PRO/Wireless 3945ABG network not working in Linux

Q I previously used Linux in 1996/1997 to run a Unix application on a laptop, as Linux was free and a Sparcbook cost £10K. I recently thought it would be great to use it again and so installed it on my home Dell XPS m1210. I looked around the web and it looked like Slackware 10 was the best for my machine. I have now successfully installed it and use Lilo to dual boot between Windows Vista and Linux. Except I cannot get the wireless to work, or more precisely: I have no idea how to get the wireless to work! I look on the web and there are solutions out there, but it all seems like a foreign language; I have forgotten so much over the last 10 years, I feel like a complete novice. My wireless card is: Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection

A There is a driver for this wireless card, available from This is an official driver project created by Intel, but it requires a fairly recent kernel to run, 2.6.13 at least. Slackware 10 is more than three years old - much older than this driver - and uses a 2.4 kernel. In order to use modern hardware reliably, you need a distro, and particularly a kernel, that is at least as new as the hardware. If you want to stick with Slackware, use the newly-released 12.0, which is the first Slackware released to default to a 2.6 series kernel, something your wireless card needs. The packages you need to use this card with Slackware 12.0 are available from

Alternatively, you could install any distro that carries ipw3945 packages in its software repositories. Ubuntu would be a good choice because the ipw3945 drivers are included in the default installation, so it should "just work". Newer Fedoras also have ipw3945 available, but in this case you need to add the ATrpms repository to the package manager before you can install the packages. Details on how to add the repository are at The ATrpms site contains a lot more than wireless drivers, there are plenty of packages of all descriptions, so it is well worth adding to the list of repositories.

Follow us on or Twitter

Username:   Password: