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Configuring Wireless LAN of Dell XPS 1530 in Fedora 8

Dell XPS 1530 comes with an Intel Pro Wireless 3945ABG Hardware.

In fedora 8, by default the device is detected and an appropriate driver (iwl3945) is loaded as well. If the wireless network is not secured, the interface works without any modification.

I had configured by ADSL router to have WPA-PSK encryption based security. To make my laptop work with this secured network, the default network configuration dialog does not suffice. But still, we need to setup something in that dialog as well.

  1. Open system-config-network dialog, choose to edit the wlan0 interface.
  2. Select the “Wireless Settings” tab.
  3. Set Mode as “Managed”
  4. Set Network name (SSID) as “XYZ”, where “XYZ” is the SSID you had
    configured in the router. You may also leave it in “Auto” as well.
  5. Leave the other inputs as it is.

From the command line, run “iwconfig” to see the status of your interface. You may see something like the following:

wlan0 IEEE 802.11g ESSID:”NETGEAR”
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.462 GHz Access Point: Not-Associated
Tx-Power=27 dBm
Retry min limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr=2352 B
Encryption key:off
Link Quality=0 Signal level=0 Noise level=0
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

Note, I have configured my SSID to be “NETGEAR”.

Since we have not enabled the security “thing”, we are not able to reach the Wireless Access Point. To enable that we need to have the “wpa_supplicant” tool. Using wpa_supplicant, we can bridge the connectivity and security.

First create the wpa configuration file using “wpa_passphrase” command.

wpa_passphrase
Ex: wpa_passphrase NETGEAR alphabeta

This command would generate a file like the following:

network={
ssid=”NETGEAR”
#psk=”alphabeta”
psk=d0392dff9de884a7163058cebb41592bf7872decda1c8b79b072359bc5e93cac
}
 

Dump this output to /etc/wpa.conf

Now, you have to run wpa_supplicant as:

bash# /usr/sbin/wpa_supplicant -Dwext -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa.conf &  

Note,
I have used the “wireless generic extension (wext)” for the driver configuration. You may get some log message like the following:

Trying to associate with 00:1b:2f:a3:54:f8 (SSID=’NETGEAR’ freq=2462 MHz)
Associated with 00:1b:2f:a3:54:f8
WPA: Key negotiation completed with 00:1b:2f:a3:54:f8 [PTK=TKIP GTK=TKIP]
CTRL-EVENT-CONNECTED – Connection to 00:1b:2f:a3:54:f8 completed (auth) [id=0 id_str=]

At this point you are probably connected to the Wireless Access Point. Try running “iwconfig” command. The correct output should be like:

wlan0 IEEE 802.11g ESSID:”NETGEAR”
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.462 GHz Access Point: 00:1B:2F:A3:54:F8
Bit Rate=54 Mb/s Tx-Power=27 dBm
Retry min limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr=2352 B
Encryption key:5A83-9BBE-BA9F-5C2B-46D1-0FEC-CE66-475F-A44A-DD05-4B16-63F3-3474-0C46-464A-6CF0 [3]
Link Quality=97/100 Signal level=-29 dBm Noise level=-64 dBm
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0
 

try running “/sbin/ifconfig” to see whether you have the device up with an IP address. If IP address is not assigned, run

/sbin/service network restart
or
/sbin/dhclient wlan0
or
/sbin/ifup wlan0

You may probably see a “wmaster0” interface as well, which may be ignored.

Most likely you are done by now.
Happy wireless networking.

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