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What's the best wireless card to get?
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pentium4borg
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Joined: 29 Aug 2006
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:54 pm    Post subject: What's the best wireless card to get? Reply with quote

I did a quick search for this and didn't find anything, sorry if this has been posted before. (If so, can someone link me?)

I have been through a Broadcom wireless chipset on my laptop, and I'm currently using an Atheros PCMCIA card (using madwifi-ng). It works well, except on my university wireless (which I believe uses Cisco APs) -- the card will deassociate and reassociate with NM every few minutes. There's no predictable pattern. Once in a great while, my machine will hard lock, but only when associated to the university wireless (neither problem appears on any other network, including my own which is on a machine running hostapd).

Anyways, my main question --> What wireless chipset do you recommend I buy? I hear Intel works well, but I really don't like the idea of a binary daemon running all the time. I like my Atheros-based card, but the problems above prevent it from being practical. Ideally, is there a chipset with no binary daemon and no microcode to load? If not, what's my best alternative?

Thanks guys.
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Januszzz
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Joined: 04 Feb 2006
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Location: Opole, Poland

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only Zydas.

Bus 007 Device 004: ID 0ace:1215 ZyDAS, some sheet: http://www.bluetake.com/Manuals/bw100/8011bg%20USB%20adapter.pdf

My Zydas has BW100 sign, I guess its a model name.

While I'm responsible for radius authenticated networks at my university, I tried Intel 3945, Intel 4965, some Atheros chips (which take second place) and Broadcom.

Zydas wins in every category: link quality is always better, the card is most stable, the fastest (slightly of course). Its has full kernel support (zd1211rw module) and works with any freak wpa_supplicant.conf config. Comparing Intel to Zydas, Intel had very poor drivers (esp. first ipw3945) and now it has only littler poor drivers for both 3945 and 4965 (iwlwifi).

(If anyone has different opinion about intel, I can give a shell access to my notebook and please stay on my Freeradius network longer than one Gentoo iso download :-) no can do, see my post at https://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-578386-highlight-.html

I use Linksys and Cisco 1242 APs usually.

Find it and buy it. I got one at Sun Microsystems meeting, so now I like them too ;-)

EDIT:
Oh, btw, it also needs firmware (included in Portage) I really don't know a card which don't use it.

Code:

Bus 007 Device 004: ID 0ace:1215 ZyDAS
Device Descriptor:
  bLength                18
  bDescriptorType         1
  bcdUSB               2.00
  bDeviceClass          255 Vendor Specific Class
  bDeviceSubClass       255 Vendor Specific Subclass
  bDeviceProtocol       255 Vendor Specific Protocol
  bMaxPacketSize0        64
  idVendor           0x0ace ZyDAS
  idProduct          0x1215
  bcdDevice           48.10
  iManufacturer          16 ZyDAS
  iProduct               32 USB2.0 WLAN
  iSerial                 0
  bNumConfigurations      1
  Configuration Descriptor:
    bLength                 9
    bDescriptorType         2
    wTotalLength           46
    bNumInterfaces          1
    bConfigurationValue     1
    iConfiguration          0
    bmAttributes         0x80
    MaxPower              500mA
    Interface Descriptor:
      bLength                 9
      bDescriptorType         4
      bInterfaceNumber        0
      bAlternateSetting       0
      bNumEndpoints           4
      bInterfaceClass       255 Vendor Specific Class
      bInterfaceSubClass      0
      bInterfaceProtocol      0
      iInterface              0
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x01  EP 1 OUT
        bmAttributes            2
          Transfer Type            Bulk
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0200  1x 512 bytes
        bInterval               0
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x82  EP 2 IN
        bmAttributes            2
          Transfer Type            Bulk
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0200  1x 512 bytes
        bInterval               0
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x83  EP 3 IN
        bmAttributes            3
          Transfer Type            Interrupt
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0040  1x 64 bytes
        bInterval               1
      Endpoint Descriptor:
        bLength                 7
        bDescriptorType         5
        bEndpointAddress     0x04  EP 4 OUT
        bmAttributes            3
          Transfer Type            Interrupt
          Synch Type               None
          Usage Type               Data
        wMaxPacketSize     0x0040  1x 64 bytes
        bInterval               1
Device Qualifier (for other device speed):
  bLength                10
  bDescriptorType         6
  bcdUSB               2.00
  bDeviceClass          255 Vendor Specific Class
  bDeviceSubClass       255 Vendor Specific Subclass
  bDeviceProtocol       255 Vendor Specific Protocol
  bMaxPacketSize0        64
  bNumConfigurations      1
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richard.scott
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Joined: 19 May 2003
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Location: Oxfordshire, UK

PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a GIGABYTE GN-WP01GT pci card working very well with the madwifi-ng drivers and hostapd.

It also supports WPA2 and works as an AP perfectly!
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d2_racing
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a IPW3945 and everything is perfect.
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iarwain
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

d2_racing wrote:
I use a IPW3945 and everything is perfect.


I also have it and it works fine. But not everything is perfect for my needs. That is, it doesn't support bridge mode. This is useful for virtualization.
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Dagger
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been using Intel4956 for over 6 months now, and I really can't complain. The driver was terrible few months ago, but right now it's quite stable and working well.
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d2_racing
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dagger wrote:
I've been using Intel4956 for over 6 months now, and I really can't complain. The driver was terrible few months ago, but right now it's quite stable and working well.


Yeah, you are using the iwlwifi driver, so it's normal that you had a little trouble in the past :)
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sonaatti
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also using Intel4965 and this is yet the best wireless experience I've had, no complaints.
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Simba7
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Joined: 22 Jan 2007
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Location: Billings, MT, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used Atheros AR5212 and a Linksys WMP54G (Ralink RT2500) cards and they both run rather decent with an antenna upgrade.
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irasnyd
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been using the built-in ipw3945 on my laptop, and I haven't had any recent problems. The ipw3945 driver (the old one) gave me lots of headaches. The binary daemon just didn't work that well. I'm using the iwlwifi driver now, and I haven't had any problems related to stability or the like.

I did have a problem with the ipw3945 card connecting to a really old Linksys 802.11b-only access point. It would drop the connection constantly. I ended up getting a usb device that worked only with ndiswapper (while trying to find a zydas...). It turns out that Intel has some power saving stuff that all AP's should support, but a few really old ones don't. That AP was the only one I've ever encountered the problem with.

At my school, we only have Cisco AP's. I've never had a problem connecting or staying connected for long periods of time.

I hear zydas makes really good, cheap usb devices, but good luck finding one. I tried, and ended up with a Realtek device that only worked with ndiswrapper, and really sucked.
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Januszzz
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 6:23 pm    Post subject: yeah, sure... Reply with quote

Quote:
I use a IPW3945 and everything is perfect.


Have you ever tried radius authenticated with TLS or TTLS? If yes, please post your config and exact driver version, because I just cannot. Especially with TLS.

Quote:
I've been using Intel4956 for over 6 months now, and I really can't complain. The driver was terrible few months ago, but right now it's quite stable and working well.


Yeah... the same question about radius and tls to you... iwlwifi is not usable at all with my config, while zydas and atheros does right things. Anyway, they have something really b0rked, as options passed to these drivers by wpa_supplicant are just screwed in those drivers... short story long... etc.

I will discourage every intel wifi until they deliver at least working drivers, I do not expect them be good, I want them only working! Intel is like ati, ati works, but sometimes, for somebody, and sometime. It simply doesn't work.

Janusz
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