Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Linux Wireless LAN Howto

The Linux Wireless LAN Howto

I've decided to collect all the information about Wireless LANs and Linux that I was able to find. The goal was also to document my work and to become famous :-) You will find all that information in the Linux Wireless LAN Howto, available in PostScript, PDF and HTML (see below). The original Linux Wireless LAN Howto is available as 3 postscript or acrobat (PDF) documents, which contains the same material but with the original presentation. So if you wish to enjoy a better reading experience or to print it, use those documents :
Acrobat (pdf) :


Other Linux Wireless Howtos and help

There is a lot of good documentation out there ;-)
  • Roberto Arcomano has written a good detailed Wireless Howto covering in depth the setup of some Wireless LANs.
  • Dries Buytaert has written an excellent Linux-wlan FAQ, answering common question mostly related to the linux-wlan-ng Linux driver for Intersil PrismII based cards.
  • Anindya has done a complete installation Howto for the PrismII and Aironet cards.
  • Craig has done some technical installation Howto for the TI, Atmel and ADMtek cards.
  • Personal Telco has a short Wireless FAQ.
  • Marcel Holtmann has a good page on Wireless LAN, in German.
  • The Linux Wireless wiki has some good information on more technical details.
  • The Arlan Wireless Router Howto explain how to use any wireless LAN as a point to point data link between distant houses.
  • Another excellent Wireless link Howto, where they describe in details all the step by step operations (theory, hardware, software...) of using the Symphony (or other Wireless LAN) as a point to point connection between distant houses. And they have a comprehensive list of links...
  • The Low Cost Wireless Network Howto explain how to use the Proxim card to create point to point links.
  • Simon Anderson has a Linux Wireless Access Point HOWTO, which include lot's of good information on various AP topics (HostAP, DHCP, DNS, routing, firewalling, NoCat...).
  • Yang-Hwee TAN has a quick Howto about Building a Secure Wireless Access Point using the HostAP driver and FreeS/WAN.
  • Jason Boxman has a pretty extensive Howto on how to use the HostAP driver, especially to set up an Access Point.
  • Ross Finlayson explain in details how to use Linux as a Wireless router for their wireless ISP (LIVE.COM).
  • Yunus Bookwala explain how to set-up a Wireless HotSpot, using OpenWrt and focusing mostly on the accounting/security back-end.
  • John G. Faughnan has a page on home networking, including Wireless LANs and Linux.
  • Mad Science Research labs explain you how to upgrade the Airport UFO to RC4 128 bits.
  • Harald Roelle has a page on how to set up a Wavelan IEEE under Linux-PPC and how to connect it to the "UFO" (the Apple Airport base station).
  • Elan Digital Systems has a very complete FAQ on how to setup PCI-Pcmcia bridges under Linux.
  • Jun Sun's has a howto on how to flash PrismII firmwares under Linux or Windows.
If after reading all the documentation above you still can't find the info you are looking, here are a couple of source of help to get in touch with other Linux users.
  • The Linux Pcmcia web site has the Pcmcia FAQ and some Pcmcia Wireless forums for all questions regarding drivers included in the Linux Pcmcia package and the Linux kernel.
  • For questions regarding point to point links, the Wavelan users in Autralia have set up a very useful mailing list...
  • Some individual drivers have specific mailing lists associated with them, those are listed in the Howto...

Public Wireless Linux networks

If you don't want to play alone with your wireless equipement, there are lots of people setting up public wireless networks using Linux. I just picked a few of those with interesting info on their pages.
  • WiFiMaps has some maps of public wireless connectivity, and allow you to locate those public wireless Access Points.
  • Linux users in Australia are using the good old Wavelan or the Wavelan IEEE to create point to point data link between distant houses. They have set up a mailing list, which is not Wavelan specific and very useful.
  • Guerilla Net aim to setup a free network in the area of Boston.
  • Consume the net want to do the same in the area of London. Many mailing lists.
  • Elektrosmog wants fast Internet everywhere, starting in Sweeden.
  • Seattle Wireless wants to build a next-generation community wireless network.
  • Personal Telco want to build alternative communication networks in the area of Portland. Their web site contains a mountain of information, such as this Wireless FAQ.
  • NYCwireless wants Free Public Wireless Internet for New York City. They have some mailing lists.
  • BAWUG, the Bay Area (California) Wireless User group is pretty active and has some mailing lists.
  • Reseau Citoyen is deploying their wireless network in Bruxelles, Belgium, and has an extensive amount of information in french.
  • LIVE.COM want you to enjoy wireless coffee in Mountain View, California.
  • The Shmoo Group has setup a database of public Wireless LAN networks.

Wireless LAN Hardware (surveys and reviews)

Various people maintain some approximate list of the hardware that is compatible with Linux :
  • Of course, I list a number of vendors in the various sections of the Howto...
  • Absoval has one of the most exaustive list of wireless cards, and list compatibility of PrismII cards with their own linux-wlan driver.
  • Hendrik-Jan Heins is now maintaining an updated version of the exaustive list from Absoval. This is very difficult task, so don't be surprised if you find minor errors.
  • Personal Telco has a short list of PrismII cards (for which many Linux drivers are available).
  • Seattle Wireless has a pretty long list of cards, but the information on this page is not always correct, so double check.
  • Kismet Wireless list card compatible with Kismet, and the corresponding driver.
  • Nicolai Langfeldt has a short list of 802.11g cards comaptible with Linux.
  • Jacek Pliszka has many tips on how to identify the various card, especially USB devices.
  • Jason Hecker maintains a list of all Atmel USB devices.
  • Tarmo Järvalt has long lists of cards containing various chipsets, one page per chipset, including some Google Ads.
  • The Linux Wireless wiki has some limited hardware surveys.
  • The NetworkManager team has a complete list of hardware and drivers that works properly with NetworkManager.
Just a few reviews and guides here, not Linux specific.
  • Most manufacturer web sites are listed in the Howto...
  • Tim Higgins has a huge amount of 802.11 information on his web site (FAQ, articles, reviews, links), which is acurate, detailed and up to date.
  • Practically Networked lists and compares the main Wireless LAN products available on the market. Their list is long and they have reviewed in details a lot of products.
  • I've found a really good web page on the different radio products available (now quite outdated).
  • Network Computing has a long and complete article comparing various 802.11 products. Definitely worth a read, even if they don't mention Linux support ;-)
  • PC Magazine/ZDnet has done a short review of 802.11-b products. They have tested the latest products from the big names.
  • Toms Networking has frequent detailed reviews of various wireless hardware.
  • Synack Communications has done some testing of the Power Consumptions of some common Wireless LANs.

Other web sites of interest (Wireless LAN related)

A random collection of links. I welcome your suggestions...
  • Roger Coudé has developped an impressive package to predict the performance and coverage of a radio system based on the characteristic of the environment.
  • The State University of Ohio has a basic Overview of 802.11.
  • Mark S. Mathews has a nice white paper on 802.11.
  • Intersil (formerly Harris) has a lot of white papers, but they tend to have a very strong bias towards what they are offering.
  • Lot's of links about Wireless (no longer updated).
  • Ben Gross has more links about Wireless (mostly Linux related, and quite up to date).
  • Jacco Tunnissen has lot's of links about Wardriving and Wireless Security.
  • Bernard Adoba has created The Unofficial 802.11 Security Web Page, with many links about security issues in wireless networks and 802.1x.
  • Delbert K. Matlock used to have a very complete page on Linux BlueTooth support, linking to all information available on the net on this subject, but hasn't updated it in since 2001.
  • Foo Chun Choong has a web page that link to various BlueTooth research projects and papers.
  • The NTIA maintain a chart of the frequencies in use in the US. Try to find the unlicensed bands ;-)
  • You may also want to check my paper page, especially if you look for either my publications or SWAP information.

Linux and other links

Some personal recommendations on the web...
  • The project I'm currently officially working on for HP is called CoolTown.

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