by January 5, 2004 0 comments



WiFi cards and their drivers have been available for the Linux kernel for quite some time now. Most earlier cards were based on Prism 2, 2.5, 3 or Orinoco (formerly Lucent) and had support built into the kernel 2.4.x series. But, now most new cards use the TI (Texas Instruments) based chipsets called acx100. The irony is that TI doesn’t offer any driver support for Linux users of these cards. But, as we say, “Linux means adaptation”. So, with the help of some people at www.acx100.sourceforge.net, Linux has adapted itself to this chipset. 

Here we will see how you can install and configure your acx100 chipset-based card in Linux with the help of the driver developed by the above mentioned source forge project. This process is completely version independent and will work on any Linux distro. We tested it out on a Linux machine with kernel 2.4.20 running on it and used the DWL-520+ PCI WiFi card from D-Link. But, remember most of the cards that use the acx100 chipset work with this driver.

To begin with insert the WiFi card into your machine, and then download the acx100 driver from http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/acx100/acx100-0.2.0pre6.tar.bz2. One more thing that you will need is the firmware image file of the card. You can get this from the Windows driver CD, which is mostly shipped with the card. Just search for ‘RADIO11.BIN’, ‘RADIO0d.BIN’ and ‘WLANGEN.BIN’. If you don’t find them on your CD you can download them from D-Link’s ftp site.

ftp://ftp.dlink.com/Wireless/dwl520+/ Driver/dwl520+_driver_302.zip. 

Now, compile the driver with the proper firmware that you downloaded. To do so, first unzip and untar the acx100-0.2.0pre6.tar.bz2 file as below.


# tar —jxvf acx100-0.2.0pre6.tar.bz2

Now copy the three above mentioned files to the ‘acx100-0.2.0pre6/firmware’ directory, but remember to follow the exact case which is used above. 



Now compile the source as below.

#./Configure
#make all


Now you will find a file called acx100_pci.o in the acx100-0.2.0pre6/src directory. Copy the file as shown below. 

#cp src/acx100_pci.o /lib/modules/2.4.20/kernel/drivers/net


Now open the /etc/modules.conf file in a text editor and enter the following lines in it.

alias wlan0 acx100_pci
options wlan0 firmware_dir=/ acx100-0.2.0pre6/firmware


Now restart your machine and then load the driver module. To do so, run insmod as follows.

#insmod acx100_pci firmware_dir=/acx100-0.2.0pre6/firmware 


It will show you some messages and load the module. To check if everything has worked, run the lsmod command as follows.

#lsmod | grep acx100_pci


If it gives any output then you are done. Now configure your device by allocating IP addresses and other details to it as below.

#ifconfig wlan0 192.168.1.10 netmask 255.255.255.0 up
#iwconfig wlan0 essid your_essid_goes_here mode managed channel 6

Now, to finally check that everything is working, just ping to any of your network’s machine and you should get the proper reply.

Anindya Roy

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