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Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

HWP54G FC4 Linux Install Success!

How I got my Hawking HWP54G Wireless-G PCI card working with Fedora Core 4 Linux, and links to drivers, instructions, a chipset forum and a Fedora forum, so that you can do it too. The drivers and chipset forum should help even if you are using a different version of Linux.

Ok, so I just recently announced that I would be using the above blurb as an intro to any post covering this topic, but I might not be needing it much longer, because I got it working! I’m going to try and cover in this post the important points that I learned along the way.

First off, my Hawking HWP54G Wireless-G PCI network interface card uses the Ralink RT2500 chipset. (All the links in my opening blurb are for the RT2500.) The chipset, not the manufacturer or model of your card, is the important factor in finding and installing the right drivers for your NIC with Linux. I’ve seen reports that this model card may use the Prism54 or TI acx111 chipsets. If you don’t know your card’s chipset, try the following:

If it turns out you have the Prism54 chipset, go to the Prism54 Project for Linux drivers. For the acx111, I found an excellent howto at House of Craig, and drivers are at the ACX100 SourceForge Project.

On to my experience with the RT2500. Right away I should say that the rt2x00 drivers are NOT compatible with the smp kernel. Now, I’m a Linux noob, so I found the Unofficial Fedora FAQ a great place to get help on the basics. I also made a significant mistake when I installed Fedora Core 4 – I didn’t include the Kernel Sources and the Development Tools packages. I couldn’t even make the driver. There’s a forum string that covers this topic at the rt2x00 project, but take my word for it – it’s easier to reinstall Fedora than to try loading the missing rpm’s and building the symbolic links required. I found a good guide to FC4 installation and package selection by Mauriat Miranda that I’m going to use to start over myself (more later.)

All right. We’ve made sure we have all the packages installed with Fedora that we need, and we’ve downloaded and uncompressed the rt2500 driver. Go to the /Module directory and open up Readme with a text editor. If you’re working in command line, then “gedit readme“. Ignore everything and go down to the end where it says “INFORMATION FOR FEDORA CORE 3 USERS (USE AT YOUR OWN RISK !!!)”. It says FC3, but it works with FC4 as well. With Fedora, we’re not going to build the configuration utility (so you don’t need qt or qmake) and we’re most definitely not going to put in the configuration file RT2500STA.dat – doing so can mess everything up. There. I just saved you a bunch of time and headaches, so feel free to buy me a beer. As for other distros, you’re going to have to follow the readme. If you need qt, let me save you some time hunting around the Trolltech site and give you the link to the qt open source edition download, because they do their best to hide it.

To summarize my linked sources, in a terminal window:

I left out all the fancy $ and # prompt stuff that confused me before. If you get an error during the make or make install-fedora, well I’m sorry, but it’s off to the forums with you. I’ve already given instructions on how to avoid all the stuff that tripped me up, and avoiding is way better than troubleshooting.

Now we use the system-config-network utility, which you find by going to Desktop > System Settings > Network, or typing “system-config-network” as root. If your make and make install-fedora worked, you should see an entry for wlan0 that includes “Ralink rt2500” in the description on the Hardware tab. Double-click on the wlan0 line to open up the properties for that device.

Fedora system-config-network utility

Here is where you enter in all the details for connecting to your wireless network. You need to know your ESSID, the channel you use, whether you use DHCP or your ip address and your access point and dns server ip’s if you don’t; your WEP key if you use it (I do) and your WPA info (which I don’t know anything about because not all of my NICs are WPA capable yet- but I’m working on it.) If you don’t know this basic information about your wireless network, you need to learn all about it, because chances are you’re not taking the steps you need to secure your wireless network from interlopers and eavesdroppers. If you know what I’m talking about, just don’t have the details, then use Windows or your router configuration to get the information. And be sure – here’s what tripped me up until this morning – to put “0x” in front of your WEP key to identify the string as hexadecimal.

That last one had me really stumped. I was not only using the Fedora system-config-network tool, I went to the commandline and used iwconfig to manually enter the parameters and ifconfig to try to get the device “up” (both of which require you to be logged on as root to use.) I did notice than whenever I tried to activate the device using the GUI tool, iwconfig reported that the WEP key had been changed, and that the changed key was always the same, and it didn’t have any letters in it, but I didn’t put two and two together. I also noticed that iwconfig reported my access point’s MAC address correctly and a signal strength, so I figured I was talking to my WAP (I keep a cheat sheet next to my computer of all my network MACs, ip addresses and other goodies.) After I got it all straight, I activated the wlan0 device, opened Firefox, typed in the ip of my access point, and presto! I was in the configuration menu, and I was online!

At this point, I have to give a shout out to Mark Wallace (serialmonkey) and Ivo van Doorn (IvD) of the rt2x00 SourceForge project and to bitrain at fedoraforum.org for their most useful information, especially Mark, with whom I corresponded, and who gave me encouragement.

If you found this information useful, please add a comment to this post; and if you know something else – information or a good link that I can add, contact me. I’ll make up a more complete howto later.

P.S. I think I made such a mess of my FC4 installation that I’m going to reinstall it and start over. The thing that is pushing me to this is that I tried updating over the internet and it froze during the rpm install. At least it will give me an oppurtunity to follow my own advice, and possibly spot any errors!

Posted by Greg in Hardware & Drivers, Networking, OS

7 Comments »

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 29th, 2005 at 05:47 PST and is filed under Hardware & Drivers, Networking, OS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

7 Responses to “HWP54G FC4 Linux Install Success!”

  1. Jason Holland says:

    Thanks for pointing me to the right direction, lspci -v shows my hawking hwp54g uses the ACX111 chipset

  2. Ramblings » Blog Archive » Setting Up Multiple Linux Installs says:

    […] I got my wireless card working with Fedora Core 4, but, as I wrote in the last post about it, I thought I had made a mess of something during my failed attempts, and wanted to do a clean install. […]

  3. Ramblings » Blog Archive » The HWP54G/FC4 Saga - One Last Thing says:

    […] I wrote that I had additional problems installing the Hawking HWP54G Wireless-G PCI card after a clean Fedora Core 4 install that were not covered in my detailed description of how I got the wireless card working. I promised a write-up, and it’s time to wrap things up. […]

  4. Craig says:

    Greetings,

    I’m certainly flattered to find my howto listed here. However, I would like to warn Fedora Core 4 users that as soon as they upgrade to the latest kernel (2.6.14-something) my howto will *no longer apply* and nothing will compile or install on that kernel version, everyone, please be advised.

    I am working on a new document at this time, but it’s not yet complete, until then, please tread lightly.

    craig

  5. Greg says:

    Please note: Craig hosts the excellent acx100/111 howto. After finding his site, I was bummed to find out I had a rt2500 chip, because his instructions were so complete. It was from the information on his site that I found out what chipset I had.

    The rt2X00 driver works perfectly fine with kernel 2.6.14. That’s the version I run at home. However, you should expect to have to make it again after you upgrade your kernel.

  6. Douglas Blanco says:

    Hola that such.

    I am a student of Telecommunications.

    I need to be able the detailed information of the chipset RT-2500 for my work of degree and this way graduate, which happens is that in Ralink’s page they do not liberate this information.

    Here they might indicate me where I can find her.

  7. Greg says:

    I’d suggest going to the drivers and chipset forums, at the links I gave above.