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Wireless Networking Software Hardware Linux

Jean Tourrilhes On Linux Wireless LAN 143

Posted by simoniker
from the spelling-101 dept.
mcleodnine writes "Jean Tourrilhes of the Linux Wireless LAN Howto project took some time to answer a few questions from members at LinuxQuestions.org. Among some of the more interesting commments was his pick of best and worst Open Source friendly vendors ('Some of those TI engineers even sent me e-mails criticising some features of the Wireless Extensions'), an opinion or two about the Next Big Thing in wireless (MIMO), and a poke in the eye for OS zealots of any religion."
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Jean Tourrilhes On Linux Wireless LAN

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  • wireless viop (Score:3, Interesting)

    by earlytime (15364) on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:17PM (#9485961) Homepage
    what i want to knwo is when can we turn these hotspots into voip transmission towers for wireless viop phones?
  • On zealotry (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mattgreen (701203) on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:23PM (#9486042)
    Seems to me that the most fervent zealots of a particular OS are simply just narrow-minded or don't know much beyond their own little world. You see countless developers (y'know, people who do things) decrying zealots, while the zealots themselves just kinda sit there, making everyone else look bad with their banter, and don't really contribute anything other than fanboyism.

    Kill em all I say.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:27PM (#9486082)


    Our company was considering going with Ti's TX100 802.11b chipset about a year ago, to build our product around. Then we did our homework.

    Seems a bunch of people signed onto a petition to get Ti to release the specs for their TX100 chipset, so they could develop the drivers Ti was refusing to release. When Ti ignored it, they called the BBB on their ass, citing false advertisement (they claim the chipset is supported in Linux)...And they STILL ignored it.

    With that being said, put your money where your mouth is. Buh-bye Ti, Helloooooo, Intersil. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:34PM (#9486153)
    Unless your time is not of the essence!

    Now if only Linksys/Netgear/D-Link could (and I don't see why they can't) make an affordable wireless bridge+hub/gateway that costs in the same ballpark as a wireless router. (A Netgear bridge costs almost 2x as much a wireless router/gateway)

    And while at it, they shoult also put out some clear specs so the CompUsa/BB salespeople know the difference between a bridge and an access point.
  • by dbc001 (541033) on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:37PM (#9486184)
    I've been using Linux for a while now, and have been interested in moving to wireless for quite some time. I'm hesitant though because of all the problems that can come with cutting edge hardware in Linux. It would really help if a few Linux users who have tried a lot of wireless gear could make some hardware recommendations for the rest of us.

    What are some no-headache brands of wireless gear for Linux? What brands should be avoided? Are some distros better for wireless than others?
    (I realize that some of this may be in the linked article, but the article appears to contain a complete list that requires a lot of time and effort to sort through).

    thanks in advance,
    dbc
  • by bbowers (596225) on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:40PM (#9486220) Journal
    Seems thats somewhat the case with Realtek. They had a huge showing with the RTL8139 series chip released to the Open Source Community, however their chip RTL8180L for wireless is falling through the floor. It's a part binary part source module, that wont run on a kernel greater than 2.4.21, and uses the private extentions(iwpriv) instear of the regular ones (iwconfig). Numerous e-mails have been sent from the lq.org community and no response at all. Theres a large thread about this, and when I say large, I mean large.... 816 replies, and 100947 views large... [linuxquestions.org] Seems as if Realtek doesn't want to release the source... if they did... they might make big bucks with it. Thats ok, not our loss.
    I got my card working with slackware... though I think I am gonna ditch it, works like crap anyways..
  • In General (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SolidiusRock (729169) on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:45PM (#9486259)
    I find it interesting that Linux has "issues" with wireless technology (or any technology for that matter), but yet Linux has all the more interesting tools for wireless whereas other OSes seem to be lacking in them.
  • Re:On zealotry (Score:4, Interesting)

    by happyfrogcow (708359) on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:52PM (#9486328)
    OS zealotry is just (hopefully) a stage in the growth of a user. it's when they realize the OS is great for their use, they imagine how many other great uses it could have for them, and then think everyone must use this because it is so great for me. hopefully they realize eventually that other people use things that are great for themselves, and changing would be detrimental to what they want to accomplish. Eventually the zealot will come to terms with diversity and no longer be a zealot. the problem is there will always be zealots, but the people who are zealots may change.

    there was once a long list comedically stepping through the progression of a linux user from newbie to guru. i tried finding it, but failed. i must be using the wrong keywords. google has failed me, and I have failed it.
  • Re:In General (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:56PM (#9486352)
    Part of the reason that some of the hardware specs for these cards can be hard to get is because they are too hacker prone. Some of them are simply radios with software controllers and as such you can reprogram them to broadcast on reserved police frequencies etc.
  • by Outland Traveller (12138) on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:57PM (#9486366)
    I read the article. I've browsed the FAQ and HOWTO and other assorted documentation many times in the past.

    The one question most people want to know is what manufacturer/models are compatible, where to buy them, and what drivers to use. When you go to your retail store of choice they often will not list what chipsets they use in their wireless cards. Knowing which chipsets are compatible isn't that helpful if you can't match it definitively with a product.

    I ended up going the safe route and ordering some aeronets because I didn't want to play roulette, and I couldn't find a new orinocco-based card for sale anywhere quickly.

    Has someone out there discovered this business opportunity and created a web store specifically geared to linux-friendly hardware? Buy their card,download some linked drivers, and you're good to go. That would be easy. Last time I looked the regular linux suppliers let me down.
  • IPSec (Score:3, Interesting)

    by augustz (18082) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:06PM (#9486463) Homepage
    He mentions (rightly I think) that it would be nice to have worked out ipsec better rather than drive it's basic functionality down to the link layer of all the different things that would need security.

    Why hasn't IPSec taken off more (or some other similar setup)? I don't know enough to know what the tough bits might be.

  • WLAN limited? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mahdi13 (660205) <icarus.lnx@gmail.com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:13PM (#9486535) Journal
    With 802.11, you'd better check the map before traveling to see if it's worth bringing your laptop.
    I wouldn't say that anymore, a couple weeks ago I went to South Dakota to see family and decided to scan for WLANs through town...In less then a mile on one residental street I found a dozen APs, 4 of which had WEP enabled.

    If you don't have problems 'stealing' other peoples bandwidth, there is an open AP on almost every residental street corner.

    I can get to 4 open networks from my house in Aurora!
    People are buying WAP enabled routers for their DSL/Cable modems and I'd say about 70% (if not more) run with the defaults, maybe changing the admin password...maybe.

    The problem is people are not educated on wireless security, and why bother? They refuse to believe that someone is going to hijack their network and release a virus, break into another network or some other criminal task...it's like AIDS, it won't happen to ME.
  • Re:On zealotry (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:41PM (#9486845)
    Zealotry isn't confined to Linux users. Macintosh users can still hold their own and yes dear there is such a thing as a Windows zealot. The Windows zealots are pretty entertaining. They claim to be oppressed on Slashdot then look for pro-Linux comments to mod down. Pathetic really. The especially tasty ones think that use of Windows confirms all that is of capitalism, America, Mom, and Apple Pie....well maybe not the APPLE pie. Those same people will also speak vaguely of the "best tool for job" as though they were objective or something. I'm pretty sure some astroturfer started this whole thing of calling anybody who doesn't use Windows a zealot. Methinks, some of the hardcore MS users have something to feel defensive about.

    I think I know where excessive zeal about a choice like this comes from. Everyone here wants to be thought of as intelligent and discerning. The choice of OS/editor/IDE/browser/whatever confirms and announces these qualities to others. When someone criticizes his choice or praises another, his intelligence is being insulted. Not only is the user of something else stupid, he is boorish and ignorant as well.

    The Windows zealot has something else to offend him as well. The Windows market is saturated. Anything else that grows in mind or marketshare is an economic threat to him if his job or business relies on Windows' marketability. I think a lot of the commie trolls against FOSS come from this economic defensiveness.
  • Re:WLAN limited? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dozer (30790) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:08PM (#9487219)
    If you drive down my street, you'll find a number of open access points, including mine. Please come on by and use them. That's what they're there for.

    You know, you can get your own cable modem for $25/mo and hack into all the systems you possibly can from the comfort of your own couch. Anonyminity is easy enough. If you really do want to hide behind a wireless AP, you're going to drive to the local universtiy and get many mbit/sec. I highly doubt you're going to park outside my house and use my tiny stream.

    But if you do, I'll be watching you. I look forward to learning new tricks. Come on by!
  • Re:In General (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:08PM (#9487224)
    Look, I know the manufacturers claim the FCC is lording over them, and I know Alan Cox has said the manufacturers have said this, and I fully believe that the manufacturers told Alan that story. But there's no getting around the physics of the situation. Every one of these 802.11b and 802.11a wireless networking cards that I've pried the case from includes a hardware bandpass filter. This is true even for the manufacturers who refused (at first) to repease drivers or specs.

    I don't care if you can program the Frob Industries Mk. III wireless radio to broadcast on the KA satellite bands. It's going to be driving a 2.4GHz bandpass filter and a seriously detuned antenna, meaning its emissions will amount to jack shit.

    Now, having said all that, there was a chipset, the Atheros "madwifi" chipset, which allowed its power level (in-band) to be increased in excess of the level allowed by any regulator agency on this planet, and also allowed its center frequence to be set out of the ISM band. Naughty. The combination of power level and frequence control allows you to radiate serious power near the ISM band. In my view this is a defective piece of hardware which the FCC should simply have banned. Radios without hardware filters and slew rate control should not be approved.

    But, this situation does not apply to all the other manufacturers for which this FCC story is generally pitched (which is to say, any manufacturer who doesn't support Linux). Note this was initially an argument for why Intel couldn't support Linux with their Centrino radio, but lo and behold eventually they did support it. Did Congress pass a law? Was an official bribed? Did they rev the hardware? No, none of these things. The real answer is the story was fiction to begin with. Don't spread it and don't allow manufacturers to hide behind it.

  • by curator_thew (778098) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:49PM (#9487749)

    The TI ACX100 802.11b+ chipset is my favourite example when non-technical people claim that reverse engineering is impossible, because the project has shown that it is indeed possible:

    http://acx100.sourceforge.net/ -- for Linux

    http://wlan.kewl.org/ -- for FreeBSD

    But had I known before I made the purchase, I would have bought another manufacturers product - unfortunately I was stuck between a hard place: 802.11b itself (11mbps) too slow, 802.11b+ (22mbps & 44mbps under TI "x4" mode) just right, 802.11g (54mbps & 108mbps) perfect, but was too expensive, and it also has drive problems (ath binary driver).

    If manufacturers are reading this: let me tell you that in the future, I now do my research properly, and I won't buy your product if you are not open source friendly.

  • by SebNukem (188921) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:56PM (#9487820)
    No, he is not. French "comics" are a significant part of french litterature and art. They are not limited stories about super heroes with super powers against super vilains. The fact that you have no idea about what Jean is talking about doesn't make him arrogant.
  • by stecoop (759508) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:58PM (#9487846) Journal
    All this talk about closed hardware and non-vendor support reminds me of Diamond Video cards from 1997. Diamond was a video card company based on S3 chips and wouldn't give details on the hardware; therefore, to setup a Linux machine you had to guess at the settings or use someone else's trial and error data. Now does anyone today know whom Diamond manufacturing is? Very people know unless you happened to own one of those cards that were good on windows machine.

    Thus to the point, I wonder if there is a Mathematical Function that can be plotted about a company's success, not quite directly related to Linux support but some hardware layer support, owing to its success?
  • by Tonytheloony (462274) on Monday June 21, 2004 @04:03PM (#9487893)
    He also said french-speaking... not french. Many of those comics actually come from belgium.
  • Re:On zealotry (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @04:29PM (#9488246)
    "OS zealotry" is a big hypocrisy by MS fanboys who think that running *anything else* than their OS is necessarly a zealotry, while having 90% of the population running _only_ Microsoft would not be one.

    Don't talk about "OS zealotry" while what you exactly mean is "not wanting to run Microsoft Windows"

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