Networking - A Tale of Two Nics. 2001 RC4 HD install.

picothinker - 20.11.2006, 03:25 Uhr
Titel: A Tale of Two Nics. 2001 RC4 HD install.
I have installed several versions of Kanotix, but I am having trouble with two wifi NICS that work well in other places.

The hardware is an old IBM A21 Thinkpad, 700mhz/384 meg o' ram 20 gig HD. Kanotix runs quite well on it. Since Thinkpads are in general very well supported in Linux, on this install I have been pursuing updates more than I have before.

I have done several upgrades, but not a dist-upgrade. I have been following the H2 script thread and will use that when I do.

I have two wifi NICs, an old Lucent Orinico Silver (the original, with Hermes I chipset) and an SMC 2532 W-B (Prism2 chipset, 200mw). Both work consistently on other hardware, using several Knoppix/Debian variants.

The Lucent will not be recognized as a wifi card whether the laptop is booted to it, or inserted later. dmesg as root shows:

pccard: PCMCIA card inserted into slot 0
pccard: registering new device pcmciao.0

Yet neither ifconfig -a or iwconfig will show it. When I start netcardconfig it goes directly for the onboard eth0 with no choices for wireless extensions. This is the same whether it is booted from the CD or the HD install. Since I know orinoco_cs usually shows this card as an ethx I looked in BIOS to see if there was a choice to diable the onboard NIC. There was not, but I thought perhaps there was a conflict there.

This is an old chipset, but it has been used in many cards. I even enabled the experimental sources in /etc/apt/sources.list but I still see no choices for Orinoco or Hermes I chipset.

The SMC card is puzzling, because it is intermittent, both from the liveCD and from the HD install. When it fails, dmesg shows:
hostap_cs: setting Vcc=33 (constant)
Checking CFTABLE_ENTRY 0x01 (default 0x01)
IO window settings: cfg->io.nwin=1 dflt.io.nwin=1
io->flags = 0x0046, io.base=0x0000, len=64
CardServices(RequestIO) returned 30
0.0: RequestIO: Resource in use
0.0: GetNextTuple: No more items
prism2_config() failed
hostap_cs: probe of 0.0 failed with error 1

At this time, ifconfig -a will show it as wlan0 and potentially usable. I am wondering what the "Resource in Use" is. When it works, it will continue until I either eject it or log out. Sometimes switching PCMCIA slots will let it be detected again.

I was thinking that I had mangled it up with updates until tonight, when I compared the liveCD/HD install, and demonstrated that it worked reliable in other Knoppix/Debian variants.

Any suggestions?

edit: booting the laptop to other Knoppix variants that the NICs work on are still intermittent. It may be a problem with the laptop hardware after all.

edit again: after a quick visit on #kanotix, Kano pointed out that Debian has dropped kernel support for cards this old. I installed pcmcia-cs and that got the Orinoco Silver card working, and it seems to be reliable in the first few tries.
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