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Old 15th May 2009, 08:14 AM
pwca Offline
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Posts: 827
Trouble with Netgear WNDA3100 (Atheros AR9001U-2NX)

I am having some difficulty getting a Netgear WNDA3100 USB WiFi dongle working.

According to the documentation (see links below) the Open Source drivers are in the 2.6.30 kernel but Fedora won't see that kernel for some time (F11 is 2.6.29). So the first fool suggesting I upgrade to a newer release should... well, I won't say what they should do but the point is that a solution for getting this WiFi dongle working should work in F9 - F11 (perhaps even F8 as well).

My system details are: Fedora 9 using a 2.6.27.21-78.2.41 kernel on an i686 machine.

dmesg | less output shows:
Code:
usb 2-1: New USB device found, idVendor=0846, idProduct=9010
usb 2-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=16, Product=32, SerialNumber=48
usb 2-1: Product: USB2.0 WLAN
usb 2-1: Manufacturer: ATHER
usb 2-1: SerialNumber: 12345
lsusb output shows:
Code:
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 0846:9010 NetGear, Inc. WNDA3100 RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N [Atheros AR9001U-2NX]
From this output I assume that the WiFi dongle is using an Atheros AR9001U-2NX chip.

I also assume that the Linux driver for this chip is the ar9170 driver
OR
one could use the otus driver.

As I understand it there exist two possible ways to get the WiFi dongle working;
a) using open source drivers ar9170 or otus and madwifi,
or
b) using M$ drivers and ndiswrapper.
I hope I have that correct from all my reading....

I've attempted to use the madwifi route but managed to hose that up pretty good so if someone knows how to do it correctly it would be nice to know the proper execution for using this method.

After hosing the madwifi route I tried the ndiswrapper route but with no success for several reasons. I've downloaded the M$ driver from Netgear but for some reason using cabextract and unshield I cannot extract the .inf and .sys files from it. I did find links to the M$ drivers here and here, HOWEVER, these versions of the driver are ridiculously out of date (pre 1.6 and hence > 2 yrs ago) and DO NOT support most of the WiFi dongles capabilities even in M$ whether XP or Vista. It's not until driver version 1.6 and 1.7 where most of the capabilities work.

So, if someone knows how to hack the drivers from the exe file from Netgear I'd love to hear about the method used. Afterward I could then try to use the ndiswrapper method of getting the WiFi dongle to work. I'll need help in that area since there seems to be conflicting advice in other forums as to the correct procedure. Although I'm guessing the reason why this method's not working in these other forums is due to the use of extremely outdated driver files that don't support the functions of the WiFi dongles chip.

btw, I did notice this thread on the same WiFi dongle but couldn't follow it as a) I don't have the M$ drivers to use the ndiswrapper method and b) recompiling kernels on a regular basis is not an option.
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Old 19th May 2009, 11:31 PM
pwca Offline
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After doing a little bit more reading (and re-reading within the previously posted links) I have found out some more info:

In re-reading ath9k @ wireless kernel I found this statement:

"Any distribution shipping a kernel >= 2.6.27 will have ath9k present. Below is a list of the minimal distribution requirements to either use ath9k from 2.6.27 or from compat-wireless.
* Fedora Core 10
"

However, that statement clearly conflicts with the statements further down:

ath9k was... merged into Linux-2.6.27-rc3 by Linus on Tue, 12 Aug 2008 19:33:16 -0700 (PDT)"

"the minimal kernels required to use the driver are:

Kernel > = 2.6.27.22
Kernel > = 2.6.28.10
Kernel > = 2.6.29.3
"

The output from the commands below CLEARLY show the latest updated F9 kernel 2.6.27.23 (put out on on May 18 or 19) does have the ath9k driver. This leads me to wonder WHAT has Fedora done in F10 to have it working but neglected to do in F9 Could this perhaps be one of those we're going to force you to get on the upgrade hell merry-go-round you thought you escaped from when you left M$


***note: madwifi blacklisted the ath5k driver and enabled the ath_pci but... in:
/etc/sysconfig/networking
/etc/sysconfig/networking-scripts

I found no iwcfg-ath0 or any ath0. I'm left wondering if Fedora is putting them somewhere else now??? Couldn't find any information on that front. But the output from
Code:
iwlist ath0 scan
ath0      Interface doesn't support scanning.
seems to imply that it might be somewhere on the system.

After going through so many forum posts I had to use eye drops multiple times to keep going I found some rather interesting commands to locate more info about the drivers and hardware.

Code:
modinfo ath9k
filename:       /lib/modules/2.6.27.23-78.2.50.fc9.i686/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/ath9k/ath9k.ko
license:        Dual BSD/GPL
description:    Support for Atheros 802.11n wireless LAN cards.
author:         Atheros Communications
srcversion:     286773815618C8089D5B2DA
alias:          pci:v0000168Cd0000002Asv*sd*bc*sc*i*
alias:          pci:v0000168Cd00000029sv*sd*bc*sc*i*
alias:          pci:v0000168Cd00000027sv*sd*bc*sc*i*
alias:          pci:v0000168Cd00000024sv*sd*bc*sc*i*
alias:          pci:v0000168Cd00000023sv*sd*bc*sc*i*
depends:        mac80211
vermagic:       2.6.27.23-78.2.50.fc9.i686 SMP mod_unload 686 4KSTACKS
Code:
lsmod | grep ath_pci
ath_pci               163768  0 
wlan                  189492  1 ath_pci
ath_hal               249440  1 ath_pci
Code:
modinfo ath_hal
filename:       /lib/modules/2.6.27.23-78.2.50.fc9.i686/extra/madwifi/ath_hal.ko
license:        Proprietary
version:        i386-elf: 0.9.30.13
description:    Atheros Hardware Access Layer (HAL)
author:         Errno Consulting, Sam Leffler
srcversion:     50BCD94E950C8155A6ABB57
depends:        
vermagic:       2.6.27.23-78.2.50.fc9.i686 SMP mod_unload 686 4KSTACKS
Oh... before I forget....
wlan0 is currently being used by:

04:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN (rev 01)

soooo... when I opened up /etc/modprobe.d/madwifi and noticed the line: "alias wifi0 ath_pci" I thought perhaps the reason ath9k isn't working is due to needing to be wifi1. I tried it (correctly I think) but no joy.

After installing the new kernel and madwifi I attempted system-config-network but couldn't get anywhere as it wouldn't allow me to create an ath0 device nor could I find the Atheros or Netgear "card" in the drop down list.

Last edited by pwca; 19th May 2009 at 11:46 PM.
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