Belkin Wireless N1 On Ubuntu

Today, Don asks:

I am running Ubuntu 7.04 on my desktop.

I have a Belkin wireless N1 router and desktop card. No problem with router as I set it up from my windows notebook. I haven’t been able to install the N1 card software.

Can you advise me if appropriate Linux drivers, etc are available or suggest a satisfactory work-around?

While many people do not realize this, wireless card vendors develop for the Windows platform – period. Any progress that has been made in the Linux wireless front has generally come from three wifi chipset vendors: Atheros, Ralink and Intel. Unfortunately, everyone else has given the snub nose to Linux users, especially the major wifi vendors as you are beginning to see.

What are your options?

  • Use a notebook NOT designed for Windows from System76.com or Dell.com/open.
  • Purchase a notebook card (PCMCIA or Mini PCI) that is known to support most Linux distributions.
  • Try NDISWrapper, therefore will likely be looking at the following:

* Chipset: Marvell Pre-N
* pciid: 11ab:2a02
* Driver: Driver for Netgear WN511T (http://firmware.netgear-forum.com/index.php?dlfile=705)

* Other: Tested with ndiswrapper 1.7 (utils) and 1.8 (drivers) for Kubuntu (Live DVD).
* Other: The lspci command says: “Ethernet Controller: Marvel Technology Group Ltd: Unknown device 2a02 (rev 03)”

Now granted, this is not a Netgear card, but this ought to work for you. As for using NDISWrapper, this ought to get you going.

Do I personally rely on NDISWrapper? Nope, I do not support hardware that does not support my OS – pure and simple. I’d use the ‘known to support’ link above and spring for a cheap compatible card instead. That or if you are sure Ubuntu is a good match for you, spring for an Ubuntu notebook.

As for WPA support, you might try some of the suggestions we have talked about in the comments in this link. But at the end of the day, it will come down to one thing and most Linux enthusiasts STILL will not admit this. If you are totally sold on Ubuntu, need WPA w/wireless working without excuses, buy a computer built for for Linux. It’s the same thing as hackintosh vs a real Mac. In my opinion, Linux on PCs designed for Windows are essentially, ‘Wintux’ boxes. On the desktop front, this is almost never an issue. But when coming into the wireless world, it takes a lot of patience. Best of luck!

Do you have an Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Simply Mepis, Linspire/Freespire or PCLinuxOS related question? Perhaps you are just burnt out on writing on the walls with crayons? Whatever the comments may be, drop me a line, and you too can “Just Ask Matt” – Linux Edition!

[tags]wireless, Linux, Dell[/tags]

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