Linux

The Wi-Fire is the perfect WiFi adapter for Linux users, allowing you to connect to your WiFi networks from up to three times as far away as most other adapters can.

Regardless of your computing needs, staying connected wirelessly is critical. Unfortunately for most WiFi users, dropped connections and slow speeds are a fact of life. The situation is even worst in the Linux community where driver support for WiFi devices, particularly high performance WiFi devices like the Wi-Fire, is spotty at best.

The Wi-Fire is fully compatible with the Linux community’s zd1211rw driver modules, which make it easy to install and use right “out of the box” on most recent distributions. With this module, the Wi-Fire supports most standard wireless features, including WEP and WPA encryption, local regulation compliance (through channel masking) and even monitor mode and MAC address modification capabilities.

Requirements

  • zd1211rw module
  • Userspace Device Firmware
  • Kernel version 2.6.24 or more recent

zd1211rw Module

The Wi-Fire uses the UW2453 radio, which has been included in the mainline Linux kernel since 2.6.23. So for installations using the 2.6.23 kernel, zd1211rw will be included by default and getting started with the Wi-Fire will be extremely easy–it should work right out of the box.

The zd1211rw module is located in your kernel’s drivers’ folder, under net > wireless > zd1211rw > zd_usb.c

It can be also be downloaded from here as part of the wireless drivers package. Since the module has been included since 2.6.18, it is unlikely you will need to download the driver.

On installations after March of 2008, the Wi-Fire will essentially be plug-and-play. On installations prior to March 2008, you will need to manually add the Wi-Fire to the Device ID list.

To do this:

Open up drivers/net/wireless/zd1211rw/zd_usb.c in your favorite text editor. Toward the top of the file, you will see a table called usb_ids. The start of it looks like:

static struct usb_device_id usb_ids[] = {
/* ZD1211 */
{ USB_DEVICE(0x0ace, 0×1211), .driver_info =
DEVICE_ZD1211 },
{ USB_DEVICE(0x07b8, 0×6001), .driver_info =
DEVICE_ZD1211 },

Look up the USB ID for the Wi-Fire (you can find this with lsusb). In this
example, we’ll assume your device ID is 1111:2222. Add an entry like the
one below to the table, so the start of the table now reads:

static struct usb_device_id usb_ids[] = {
/* ZD1211 */
{ USB_DEVICE(0×1111, 0×2222), .driver_info =
DEVICE_ZD1211B },
{ USB_DEVICE(0x0ace, 0×1211), .driver_info =
DEVICE_ZD1211 },
{ USB_DEVICE(0x07b8, 0×6001), .driver_info =
DEVICE_ZD1211 },

To verify that the Wi-Fire is recognized by your Linux system and the zd1211rw module successfully loaded, use lsusb and lsmod.

Userspace Device Firmware

The necessary device firmware is stored on the host computer and loaded into the device RAM every time it is plugged in. The device firmware must be pulled in from user space. Many distributions include the device firmware by default, including the most recent versions of Ubuntu and Fedora Core. The location the firmware has to be placed varies from distribution to distribution. If the firmware loads correctly upon plugin, you should see something similar to the information below.

[root@localhost ~]# dmesg
.
.
.
usb 1-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 3
usb 1-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
usb 1-2: reset full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address
3
phy0: Selected rate control algorithm ‘pid’
zd1211rw 1-2:1.0: phy0
usbcore: registered new interface driver zd1211rw
udev: renamed network interface wlan0 to wlan2
zd1211rw 1-2:1.0: firmware version 4725
zd1211rw 1-2:1.0: zd1211b chip 0cde:001a v4810 full 00-60-b3
AL2230_RF pa0 g–NS
.
.
.

If your distribution did not include the firmware by default, it can be downloaded here, or may be included with standard updates through your distribution.

Once installed, the Wi-Fire works like any wireless network adapter, and you can use your preferred network utility to control the connections. GUI’s such as knetmanager have been reported successful in the past, as well as the traditional command line utilities ifconfig and iwconfig.

Use it like any other WiFi Adapter–only more powerful! Buy now!

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Copyright © 2010 hField Technologies, Inc.