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F12 Internet Access Wireless

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Associate Professor Gregory R. Kriehn
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F12 Wireless with WPA/WPA2 Encryption

Well, well, well. It seems like the NetworkManager application as of Fedora 11 seems to have matured to the point that connecting to an Encrypted Wireless network "just works".  And the latest versions of the wireless drivers supplied by Fedora seem to now be recognizing my Dell's cheap internal WiFi card. I cannot describe how pleased that I am with these developments.

However, if you come across an issue where your wireless card is not supported, you have two options. You can use ndiswrapper to get the card working (see my Fedora 9 Wireless page), but I find ndiswrapper to be extremely temperamental, so I would suggest purchasing a PCMCIA Wireless card instead.


Using RPM Fusion (if possible)

If you can avoid using ndiswrapper, if at all possible, I highly encourage it. This is primarily because ndiswrapper tends to conflict with the kmod-ntfspackage on an interrupt level (you can therefore use one or the other, but not both at the same time). In addition, the Windows-based wireless cards tend to be kind of cruddy. So, if your wireless card does not work, I suggest purchasing something like a Netgear WG511T 108 Mbps Wireless PC Card that can plug into your PCMCIA slot, which is supported by the MadWiFi driver:

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/showthread.php?t=437253
http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?p=511700#post511700
http://madwifi.org/

RPM Fusion supports a kernel module for the card via madwifi. Getting the card up and running amounts to the following steps:

1. Install the current kernel-devel package
Use yum to install the current kernel-devel package:

~> sudo yum install kernel-devel
Press 'y' when prompted to install the program.

2. Use RPM Fusion to install madwifi and kmod-madwifi
Assuming that you have the RPM Fusion repository setup (if not, see the Repository page),
yum can easily be used to install the driver and kernel mod:
~> sudo yum install madwifi kmod-madwifi
Press 'y' when prompted to install the programs and any dependencies.

3. Reboot the Computer
Reboot the computer, and make sure the wireless card is in the PCMCIA slot. The kernel module will be loaded during the boot process, and after logging into Gnome, NetworkManager will automatically detect any Wireless networks that are available. If the network is encrypted, it will prompt you for the password, and will store the password automatically for future use. Once you type it in, an encrypted connection should automatically be established.

If you do not want to use NetworkManager, I suggest heading over to my Fedora 9 Wireless page and reading about wpa_supplicant.


References

Most of the information regarding madwifi and wpa_supplicant and was drawn from the following web pages:

http://madwifi.org/wiki/UserDocs/802.11i
http://madwifi.org/wiki/UserDocs/WPA_PSK_on_Both_Ends#TheStationclientSide
http://www.ces.clemson.edu/linux/auto_connect.shtml