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Going Wireless in SUSE Linux 10.0
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Get Involved > Posted: 19 Mar 2006
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SUSE Linux 10.0

Introduction

Quite an interest been expressed about working wirelessly on Linux. People want to be mobile. They like using their laptops on
the couch while watching the latest CSI episode. Several readers have requested more information on knowing which wireless
NICs to buy for their laptops and how to get them working. So, what I'd like to do is take a look at these issues from several
angles. I'll describe my own hardware, some sound methodology for selecting a NIC card, how the installation of the card went,
and how to implement security. Let's jump right in and take a look at the hardware.

What I Started With

I will be working with a laptop, specs as follows:

Compaq Armada m700

Intel Pentium III (Coppermine) 996 Mhz
575 Mb RAM
ATI Rage Mobility P/M AGP 2x
18G Hitachi HDD
SUSE 10.0 Eval

Full 'hwinfo' output here.

Initial Research

I had heard that wireless networking was still somewhat of a handful to do on Linux. Because of this, my first course of action
was large amounts of research. Were there any wireless NICs that other people had gotten to work on SUSE without any
problems? It's nice when one can just plug the card in, have YAST automatically configure it, and just work with minimal
headache. Finding such a card was my goal. I wanted to provide this information for anyone interested in setting up Wireless
networking in SUSE who hadn't yet purchased hardware.

After some digging, I was able to find three excellent resources, as follows:

http://linux-wless.passys.nl/
http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl/index.php/cat/10
http://en.opensuse.org/HCL/Network_Adapters_(Wireless)

Another excellent resource that a reader brought to my attention is Jean Tourrilhes' Wireless LAN resources for Linux page. If
you would like to do some deeper research on setting up wireless in Linux, this is an excellent page that I recommend checking
into.

It was very helpful to find these resources, as I could use them to cross-reference one another. I carefully compared the
information available on each of these resources. I also contacted the developers in Germany about which card to get. They
were gracious enough to let me know that the Atheros based cards were the recommended ones.

Eventually, I saw that the Netgear WG511T was an Atheros based card, and had a great review from a SUSE user on
amazon.com. I then sought a router that would work seamlessly with that NIC. From the page on amazon.com, I saw a
recommendation for the Netgear WGT624 108 Mbps Wireless Router to work with the WG511T PCMCIA card. This hardware
also supports 802.11a/b/g, WEP keys, and WPA-PSK signal encryption. I wanted to learn more about switching between
networks, as well. With that end in mind, I bought the Netgear WG511T wireless NIC and two of the WGT624 routers; one for
home and one for work. The total for all of this was about $180.

Setting up the Netgear Wireless Router

First, I decided to get the router set up. As wireless is initially disabled, I had to connect in with a desktop using a plain old
CAT5 cable. Then, I had to refresh my IP with the following command:

After doing this, I tried surfing the Internet. The router, detecting that it wasn't set up yet, took me straight to a setup wizard. I
went through each step mostly accepting the defaults. I eventually came to a screen that was asking me for an SSID.

I'll take a few moments here to explain a little about what I learned regarding SSIDs when researching setting up wireless
connections on SUSE. First, an SSID is in some ways similar to a workgroup in Windows networking. It's just a name for a

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At this point. The router setup wizard took me to another screen. So. In a few seconds. since at first. I then clicked NEXT: The setup wizard took me to a screen asking me if I wanted to enable security measures. Initially.html wireless router and its network of connected computers. I just plugged the Netgear WG511T card into a free PCMCIA slot in the side of the laptop. it's easier without the security. they could connect into the router and wreak all kinds of havoc. Unsecured wireless networks are a very common way for people to use a connection without authorization. I clicked YES. and asked me if I wanted to configure it: Obviously. it's generally a good idea to change the default SSID. so that's what I clicked on. which I will explain a little later in this article. I decided that this was a good idea.com/coolsolutions/feature/17037.novell. I decided that I would add it later once I knew the connection was working. Please note: It is very important to set up security measures on a wireless connection. It was nice to see that they had given me the ability to print out that information had I needed to. the initial setup of the router is complete. where I was taken to a screen where I was able to change the password. I selected the new card from the list. I would have absolutely no security on my network. We are now going to set up the wireless NIC on the laptop. This in mind. SUSE recognized that a card had been plugged in. and then clicked on the EDIT button: 2 of 9 21/11/2010 11:19 AM . However. Since I didn't. However. I was then taken to the NETWORK CARD CONFIGURATION OVERVIEW screen. Having entered a new password.Cool Solutions: Going Wireless in SUSE Linux 10. To do this. I just continued through and finished the setup of the router. I was prompted for my root password. we will come back and implement security measures to protect the connection. I changed the default 'NETGEAR' SSID to something a little more creative: C0RND0G. I was then taken to a summary screen with all of the settings I had chosen thus far. whatsoever. it is easier to set up without security. So. Setting up the Netgear Wireless NIC Our next task becomes setting up the wireless NIC in the laptop itself. I continued with the router setup wizard. This makes it a little harder for someone to find your network. the answer was YES. I did not enable security at this phase of the set-up. this is only true if you turn off SSID broadcasting. After making sure the connection is working. If someone connected to my wireless network and knew my router's default username and password. Second. which I entered. on initial installation. asking me if I wanted to change the default password.0 http://www.

html I was taken to the NETWORK ADDRESS SETUP screen. That's good. I don't need to change anything.com/coolsolutions/feature/17037. the WIRELESS NETWORK CARD CONFIGURATION screen.Cool Solutions: Going Wireless in SUSE Linux 10. This is to tell the system that we're using wireless and we want to get an IP address from a DHCP server. If you need to change anything here. you'll know what to set it to. because that's what we want to do: configure our wireless card: 3 of 9 21/11/2010 11:19 AM .0 http://www.novell. so I'll just click NEXT: Another screen appeared.

The NETWORK NAME (ESSID) will be C0RND0G. here. click NEXT. Just for now. This basically means that we are not authenticating users. as I set the router to. We'll be sure and come back to implement some security for our wireless network. we do want to make sure we got an IP address for the card.Cool Solutions: Going Wireless in SUSE Linux 10. Great. where we can just click NEXT. which we don't need to go into. Good old SUSE tells us that not using any encryption is a security risk. so I unplugged it from my laptop and router. we definitely do not need the CAT5 cable anymore.novell.0 http://www. To test our connection.html We'll leave the operating mode set to MANAGED. I had to manually restart the network (done as root): This gave me a lot of output. Just for now. At this point. I have an IP address. it's ok to click YES. the AUTHENTICATION MODE will be OPEN. asking if we really want to continue. For the moment. above. YAST saves settings and exits. This ensures that any network traffic we send or receive uses the wireless connection. In my case. let's ping an outside server like google. and that anyone can connect. We come back to the NETWORK CARD CONFIGURATION OVERVIEW screen. We'll do this with the following command: If we look.com/coolsolutions/feature/17037.com: 4 of 9 21/11/2010 11:19 AM . the number highlighted in green is the IP address of my new wireless card. However.

Once logged into the router. Open a browser and go to your favorite page: Everything appears to be in order. Generally. by itself. you just browse to http://192.0. is not a very strong security measure.0 http://www. Better than nothing. To do this. just to make sure. we'll disable the broadcasting of our SSID and enable some encryption in our router. however. This. I needed to put my passphrase into my wireless NIC's configuration.1 or http://192. I'm going to go in and enable it. Very difficult to crack. The encryption of choice if available. On most routers. Low-key networks are less likely to become a target. I headed into the Wireless Settings to enable encryption.com/coolsolutions/feature/17037. Looks like our connection is up and working. and then NETWORK CARD from the right: 5 of 9 21/11/2010 11:19 AM . went to disable SSID broadcasting. somewhere in your router's documentation it will tell you how to connect to the administration panel for the router. so I enabled that one in the router. I recommend doing this. Next. Our wireless connection is working. Let's try and browse the Internet. Can be cracked within a few minutes by a skilled cracker. I then went back over to the laptop. WPA . So. I then go down and put in a passphrase.Cool Solutions: Going Wireless in SUSE Linux 10. let's make sure we secure the connection. press CTRL+C. I also searched for something that would support the WPA encryption. indeed. My NIC supports WPA-PSK. The two most common types of encryption are as follows: WEP Key . It makes your wireless network less visible. This particular router supports several types of WPA encryption. While I was looking for a wireless card to use with SUSE.1/ . and loaded up the wireless nic configuration once again.html Note: to discontinue pinging. support this.1.novell.168. Securing the Wireless Connection Before we do anything else. I will put this same passphrase into my laptop's configuration. we'll open YAST. to connect in. To do this. The one I finally bought does. select NETWORK DEVICES from the left.Newer technology.168.Older technology. So. however.

We just click NEXT here: 6 of 9 21/11/2010 11:19 AM . We just select the wireless card from the list.com/coolsolutions/feature/17037.novell.Cool Solutions: Going Wireless in SUSE Linux 10.0 http://www. and click on EDIT: The NETWORK ADDRESS SETUP window appears.html The NETWORK CARD CONFIGURATION OVERVIEW window comes up.

html On the next page. Again. where we just click NEXT.Cool Solutions: Going Wireless in SUSE Linux 10. When this is done. let's restart the network (as root): check for an IP address: 7 of 9 21/11/2010 11:19 AM .novell. YAST saves the configuration and exits.com/coolsolutions/feature/17037. click NEXT: We go back to the NETWORK CARD CONFIGURATION OVERVIEW. we need to change the authentication mode to WPA-PSK and then input the WPA passphrase.0 http://www.

you should be surfing away. As a result. too. This is useful if you are starting from scratch. My wireless card in built in. Might also suggest your wireless card or router may need a firmware update to be able to use WPA.I have this set up on my laptop at home using a Linksys PCMCIA wireless NIC ." "Purchasing LAN hardware for linux is difficult. we went through enabling the encryption. and doesn't support 802. WEP is better than nothing. Maybe note in the article that some windows card 8 of 9 21/11/2010 11:19 AM . Reader Comments I did such a job as well. Disabling SSID broadcast adds exactly 0 to wireless security (the SSID is broadcast anyway . since few NIC technical descriptions specify the chipset used. and is very similar to the WPA setup. hopefully. it became obvious that I may just have to ask the SUSE project managers. Thank you for this report. Until then. also. I will discuss methods of transporting the laptop between two different wireless networks. we've looked at how to select a good wireless card and router. If everything goes according to plan. Shouldn't the device be set to start on hotplug. The article was very well written and understandable. do they? After discovering this phenomenon. If your router does not offer WPA. I noticed this. This will be useful for people who have one network at home. Netgear may have switched from Atheros to something else. Conclusion So far. this will help get started with integrating wireless with the SUSE Linux 10. by the time someone buys the specific NIC mentioned in your article.11a. Then. rather than at boot? Don't disable SSID broadcasting until you've got all devices connected to your wireless network. Thanks again for the comments. One small error .works great. and one at work. In a future article. just to be safe." Thanks for the heads-up. UPDATE (2006-03-28): A reader. Gary.0 as the client(s). but with use of this report this job would be more easy than it has been.html and ping google. Even a card that's had a good review by a linux user can be a total failure for another user. We've discussed how to set them both up without encryption just to make sure they're working. one at school.the WGT624 is 892. so this article is useless to me.just less often). which is what I ended up doing. The hardware vendors sure don't make it easy. since the same card might come in 2 or even 3 hardware revisions. This should demonstrate how painless it is to set up a wireless connection using SUSE Linux 10.0 platform.11b/g.0 http://www.Cool Solutions: Going Wireless in SUSE Linux 10.com/coolsolutions/feature/17037. wrote in to point out the following: "I read your article about setting up a wireless LAN connection." "I think that you left out one detail which I've found to be the primary problem with getting wireless NICs to work with linux: All of the NIC manufacturers change chipsets on their NICs without changing the NIC model number.novell. Need a follow-up article that shows how to configure a "closed" device using ndiswrapper .com: Open a browser and hit a website to make that last check.

com Novell Making IT Work As One™ ® Careers Contact Us Feedback Legal Print © 2010 Novell 9 of 9 21/11/2010 11:19 AM .html drivers have trouble if the SSID is not broadcast.novell.webwiseone. The draw back is that even though my card shows up in the driver list it still does not work correctly when conncecting to my network. I go back to configure the network card and the wireless card is apprarently there and configured. I use a Netgear WG511 802. Learn more. Like what you see? Want to contribute? Like Wikis? Interested? Sign up for our weekly It could earn you a nano! Join the Cool Solutions Request a sales newsletter. Essentially.11g card and I have to manually connect everytime I use it. THANK YOU! I've been trying for hours to configure my Linksys WPC54G on my laptop running SUSE 10 and Linuxant Driverloader without success. www. Advice on what I'm doing wrong would be great. I just had to delete all previous configurations and then follow your advice (with driverloader already installed).com/coolsolutions/feature/17037. And even then it is still hit and miss. call Novell Cool Solutions (corporate web communities) are produced by WebWise Solutions. I believe the information was useful and validated what techniques I was using to set up my card. Wiki.Cool Solutions: Going Wireless in SUSE Linux 10. -mike I'm sorry but I followed your instructions to the letter but when I type /sbin/ifconfig only the eth0 and lo are displayed. Ten min after reading your page I was up and running.0 http://www.