Linux + Wireless

Wow does the state of Wireless Networking on Linux suck. First off, 90% of cards require some sort of proprietary driver that don't work "out of the box." Wired ethernet on Linux is pretty much rock solid, but wireless is a whole different story. Once you get your wireless card enabled at the kernel level the matter of joining networks comes up. Maybe I'm spoiled by Windows XP but it's pretty simple on XP. NetworkManager seems to work ok if you run Gnome (which I don't). Generic tools aren't real friendly to join a WPA network. Open/WEP enabled networks aren't too bad, but WPA is all the range and it's not easy to set one up. KNetworkManager looks like it has promise, but it's not ready yet, and it's not part of KDE yet. Don't even get me started on the sad state of kwifimanager ugh!

Assuming you have an "Open" network you can join the wireless network:

iwconfig eth1 essid NodeName iwconfig eth1 key off
Assuming you want to join a "WEP" network:

iwconfig eth1 essid NodeName iwconfig eth1 key abc123def4
Once you have associated with the access point you can see how good the connection is by looking at Link Quality:

iwconfig eth1 If you want to join a WPA network (all the kids are doing it) you'll need the wpa_supplicant utility to setup the connection. First run wpa_passphrase to establish the config you'll use with the wpa_supplicant daemon. Once you've done that start the wpa_supplicant daemon: wpa_passphrase NodeName password > /tmp/wpa.config wpa_supplicant -i eth1 -D wext -c /tmp/wpa.config -d
You can change the -d to a -B to send the daemon to the background once you're sure it's working. All these above examples simply establish a connection to the access point. You'll still need to establish IP connectivity. Just start dhclient:

dhclient -i eth1 Eventually I'm sure driver support will be better and things will "just work" but right now you have some work to do. Once NetworkManager and KNetworkManager are a little more refined and included as part of every distribution things will be much easier. Right now you'll need a good understanding of how things work before you start. Hopefully this will point you in the right direction. One last thing is showing all Access Points with in reach: iwlist eth1 scanning
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