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Old 06-25-2010, 05:07 PM
Albert Wagner
 
Default wi-fi suggestions

I have never been wireless before, but am exploring wireless routers.
So far,

Cisco-Linksys WRT54GL Wireless-G Broadband Router (Compatible with Linux)

seems OK for me. Does anyone know just what "Compatible with Linux"
means for this product? Is there anything else you would recommend,
knowing, as you must, just what software Ubuntu offers in support of wi-fi?


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Old 06-25-2010, 05:41 PM
Billie Walsh
 
Default wi-fi suggestions

On 06/25/2010 12:07 PM, Albert Wagner wrote:
> I have never been wireless before, but am exploring wireless routers.
> So far,
>
> Cisco-Linksys WRT54GL Wireless-G Broadband Router (Compatible with Linux)
>
> seems OK for me. Does anyone know just what "Compatible with Linux"
> means for this product? Is there anything else you would recommend,
> knowing, as you must, just what software Ubuntu offers in support of wi-fi?
>
>
>

That's a great choice. We have three or four around here. Inexpensive
and nearly bullet proof. If you want to pump it up a bit you can
download and install the DDWRT firmware upgrade. That's what we've done
to all of ours.

--
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:30 PM
Gilles Gravier
 
Default wi-fi suggestions

Hi, Albert!

On 25/06/2010 19:07, Albert Wagner wrote:
> I have never been wireless before, but am exploring wireless routers.
> So far,
>
> Cisco-Linksys WRT54GL Wireless-G Broadband Router (Compatible with Linux)
>
> seems OK for me. Does anyone know just what "Compatible with Linux"
> means for this product? Is there anything else you would recommend,
> knowing, as you must, just what software Ubuntu offers in support of wi-fi

"Compatible with Linux". Historically, the Linksys WRT54xx routers (G,
and then GS) were made with Linux as the operating system. Then somebody
figured out that because Linux is GPL, the whole embedded stack of the
WRT54xx was GPL (GPL is a "viral" license) and asked for source code.
After some time, Linksys made the source code available.

Once that code was available, it was an easy trick to make custom
firmwares. These routers became the most popular on the planet and
became VERY cheap. Then people started hacking them... in particular
with drivers for the WiFi stack that could be configured to go beyond
the 42mW that most countries accept as the maximum for WiFi. They can
easily be driven to 100mW (and 200mW if you aren't afraid of burning the
power transistors of the beast). This got Linksys in trouble with local
telecom authorities for making a device too easy to hack to something of
unacceptable caracteristics.

So Linksys decided to make cheap WRT54G and GS routers now using
VxWorks, which is proprietary and, happily, has a smaller memory
footprint. Cheaper routers, with cheaper components, and proprietary
firmware for which they didn't need to publish the source... so not
hackable (ahem, not EASILY hackable).

This got some OEM integrators which used the Linksys routers to put
their own firmware inside and sell them (the first FON routers were
"Linksys inside") very upset.

So Linksys decided to make a new WRT54 router, back again with Linux
inside, but more expensive. So normal people buy the cheap ones... no
problems. Integrators and hobbyists buy the more expensive one, the
WRT54GL which has Linux inside, and for which source code (and hacked
firmwares) are available. My favorite hacked firmware for WRT54GL is
called Tomato and you can get it at : http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato/

So this router is "Linux" compatible because it runs Linux. Actually,
ANY WiFi router is Linux compatible because they all have available pure
web-based administration interfaces and none require a Windows utility
to get them to work (none that I know of, that is).

You can safely take any Belkin, Linksys, D-Link, ZyXel WiFi and it will
be compatible with Linux machines.

There you have it. Your WRT54GL is a very nice box. It's even nicer with
Tomato firmware on it.

From a Ubuntu perspective, WiFi support is integrated in the OS. If your
WiFi chipset is standard, it's supported OUT OF THE BOX with Ubuntu. If
it isn't... You can either add one of the madwifi (depending on the
chipset) drivers, or, to be simple, you can instal the "ndiswrapper".
This is a package that lets you use the Windows XP drivers that came
with your WiFi card, and directly run them under Linux as if they were
Linux drivers. If nothing else works, just install "ndisgtk" from the
Synaptic Package Manager. This will bring in all the required packages
for the NDISwrappers, and will install a nice UI that you can launch
from System->Administration->Windows Wireless Drivers.

Launch that tool, and add a driver by pointing to the ".inf* file of the
WindowsXP drivers and you are all set.

Once the WiFi driver is in place, the network manager applet will
identify and list the available WiFi networks for you to chose from...
you should be in familiar territory then.

Cheers,
Gilles.


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Old 06-25-2010, 06:30 PM
Nils Kassube
 
Default wi-fi suggestions

Albert Wagner wrote:
> I have never been wireless before, but am exploring wireless routers.
> So far,
>
> Cisco-Linksys WRT54GL Wireless-G Broadband Router (Compatible with
> Linux)
>
> seems OK for me. Does anyone know just what "Compatible with Linux"
> means for this product?

It means that you can install your own Linux based firmware on it, like
openwrt, dd-wrt, etc.

However you may also have a look at other newer devices like the TP-link
TL-WR1043ND which is also Linux compatible, i.e. there is an openwrt
firmware available. But that one can operate with the faster 802.11n
standard (300 MBit/s). It also has a USB port where you can connect an
external harddisk to share files over your LAN.


Nils

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Old 06-25-2010, 07:13 PM
Billie Walsh
 
Default wi-fi suggestions

On 06/25/2010 01:30 PM, Gilles Gravier wrote:
> Then people started hacking them... in particular
> with drivers for the WiFi stack that could be configured to go beyond
> the 42mW that most countries accept as the maximum for WiFi. They can
> easily be driven to 100mW (and 200mW if you aren't afraid of burning the
> power transistors of the beast).

I've seen some run full power, 250mW, for months on end with no problems.

--
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:09 PM
sdavmor
 
Default wi-fi suggestions

On 06/25/2010 11:30 AM, Gilles Gravier wrote:
> Hi, Albert!
>
> On 25/06/2010 19:07, Albert Wagner wrote:
>> I have never been wireless before, but am exploring wireless routers.
>> So far,
>>
>> Cisco-Linksys WRT54GL Wireless-G Broadband Router (Compatible with Linux)
>>
>> seems OK for me. Does anyone know just what "Compatible with Linux"
>> means for this product? Is there anything else you would recommend,
>> knowing, as you must, just what software Ubuntu offers in support of wi-fi
>
> "Compatible with Linux". Historically, the Linksys WRT54xx routers (G,
> and then GS) were made with Linux as the operating system. Then somebody
> figured out that because Linux is GPL, the whole embedded stack of the
> WRT54xx was GPL (GPL is a "viral" license) and asked for source code.
> After some time, Linksys made the source code available.
>
> Once that code was available, it was an easy trick to make custom
> firmwares. These routers became the most popular on the planet and
> became VERY cheap. Then people started hacking them... in particular
> with drivers for the WiFi stack that could be configured to go beyond
> the 42mW that most countries accept as the maximum for WiFi. They can
> easily be driven to 100mW (and 200mW if you aren't afraid of burning the
> power transistors of the beast). This got Linksys in trouble with local
> telecom authorities for making a device too easy to hack to something of
> unacceptable caracteristics.
>
> So Linksys decided to make cheap WRT54G and GS routers now using
> VxWorks, which is proprietary and, happily, has a smaller memory
> footprint. Cheaper routers, with cheaper components, and proprietary
> firmware for which they didn't need to publish the source... so not
> hackable (ahem, not EASILY hackable).
>
> This got some OEM integrators which used the Linksys routers to put
> their own firmware inside and sell them (the first FON routers were
> "Linksys inside") very upset.
>
> So Linksys decided to make a new WRT54 router, back again with Linux
> inside, but more expensive. So normal people buy the cheap ones... no
> problems. Integrators and hobbyists buy the more expensive one, the
> WRT54GL which has Linux inside, and for which source code (and hacked
> firmwares) are available. My favorite hacked firmware for WRT54GL is
> called Tomato and you can get it at : http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato/
>
> So this router is "Linux" compatible because it runs Linux. Actually,
> ANY WiFi router is Linux compatible because they all have available pure
> web-based administration interfaces and none require a Windows utility
> to get them to work (none that I know of, that is).
>
> You can safely take any Belkin, Linksys, D-Link, ZyXel WiFi and it will
> be compatible with Linux machines.
>
> There you have it. Your WRT54GL is a very nice box. It's even nicer with
> Tomato firmware on it.
>
>> From a Ubuntu perspective, WiFi support is integrated in the OS. If your
> WiFi chipset is standard, it's supported OUT OF THE BOX with Ubuntu. If
> it isn't... You can either add one of the madwifi (depending on the
> chipset) drivers, or, to be simple, you can instal the "ndiswrapper".
> This is a package that lets you use the Windows XP drivers that came
> with your WiFi card, and directly run them under Linux as if they were
> Linux drivers. If nothing else works, just install "ndisgtk" from the
> Synaptic Package Manager. This will bring in all the required packages
> for the NDISwrappers, and will install a nice UI that you can launch
> from System->Administration->Windows Wireless Drivers.
>
> Launch that tool, and add a driver by pointing to the ".inf* file of the
> WindowsXP drivers and you are all set.
>
> Once the WiFi driver is in place, the network manager applet will
> identify and list the available WiFi networks for you to chose from...
> you should be in familiar territory then.
>
> Cheers,
> Gilles.

That's a very informative and useful post! Thanks.
--
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find us on MySpace, GarageBand, Reverb Nation, Last FM, CDBaby
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:31 PM
Frank
 
Default wi-fi suggestions

On Fri, 2010-06-25 at 20:30 +0200, Gilles Gravier wrote:

> "Compatible with Linux". Historically....

Wow! Thanks for your very interesting post! What a great contribution!

:-)






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Old 06-25-2010, 11:54 PM
"Edwin McGuire"
 
Default wi-fi suggestions

----- Original Message -----
From: "Frank" <mailinglists@lavabit.com>
To: "Ubuntu user technical support,not for general discussions"
<ubuntu-users@lists.ubuntu.com>
Sent: Friday, June 25, 2010 3:31 PM
Subject: Re: wi-fi suggestions


> On Fri, 2010-06-25 at 20:30 +0200, Gilles Gravier wrote:
>
>> "Compatible with Linux". Historically....
>
> Wow! Thanks for your very interesting post! What a great contribution!
>
> :-)
>
> Yes, I Enjoyed it ,and learned from it, can't have that very often. : )
> Thanks
Ed
>
>
>
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> ubuntu-users@lists.ubuntu.com
> Modify settings or unsubscribe at:
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-users


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Old 06-26-2010, 12:03 PM
Gilles Gravier
 
Default wi-fi suggestions

Hi!

On 25/06/2010 21:13, Billie Walsh wrote:
> On 06/25/2010 01:30 PM, Gilles Gravier wrote:
>> Then people started hacking them... in particular
>> with drivers for the WiFi stack that could be configured to go beyond
>> the 42mW that most countries accept as the maximum for WiFi. They can
>> easily be driven to 100mW (and 200mW if you aren't afraid of burning the
>> power transistors of the beast).
> I've seen some run full power, 250mW, for months on end with no problems.

Sure. And usually it will work. Unless for some reason the machine isn't
well ventilated or it is hit by direct sunlight.

Mine run at 100mW, but I have 7dB antenas which help a lot too.

Every 3dB means 2x the power. 7dB is over 4x the transmission power, so
equivalent to over 400mW... but also improves the reception gain by the
same factor. And last-stage transistors never risk overheating.

Gilles.

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Old 06-26-2010, 12:16 PM
Kipton Moravec
 
Default wi-fi suggestions

On Fri, 2010-06-25 at 14:13 -0500, Billie Walsh wrote:
> On 06/25/2010 01:30 PM, Gilles Gravier wrote:
> > Then people started hacking them... in particular
> > with drivers for the WiFi stack that could be configured to go beyond
> > the 42mW that most countries accept as the maximum for WiFi. They can
> > easily be driven to 100mW (and 200mW if you aren't afraid of burning the
> > power transistors of the beast).
>
> I've seen some run full power, 250mW, for months on end with no problems.
>
> --

I do not believe that one.

The WRT54GL was not designed to go that high power.

While the DD-WRT SW may allow any number between 1 and 255 (mW) it is
illegal to run more power than the unit was designed for. It is
considered a part 15 device, and modifications like changing the power
or adding a high gain antenna make it no longer a part 15 device.

Part of the problem is that most people do not understand RF. If you
push the power beyond the design limits the signal becomes distorted at
some point. It causes unwanted RF noise at other frequencies, and may
interfere with RF signals in other areas of the RF spectrum.

I think the default power is around 28 mW. I have seen it operated at 70
mW. But beyond that you risk interference and overheating the RF chips
and damaging the WRT54GL. The DD-WRT website also recommends not going
above 70 mW also or you may damage the unit from over heating. It does
not say anything about distorting the signal.

If you have an Amateur Radio license you can make it an amateur radio
but then you have to follow the amateur radio rules. They include
identifying yourself every 10 minutes, no business traffic, and using
channel 6 or lower (that is where the Amateur Radio band overlaps the
ISM allocation). Amateur radio operators can use any power (I do not
remember if the limit is 200W or 1500 W for this band, but it does not
matter because equipment for over 10W is almost impossible to find or
make.)

Kip
--
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"Always do right; this will gratify some people and astonish the rest."
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