Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions page. Look here first for resources and tips on doing your Wifi magic.

Other websites you should look at for help are:

Community Wireless Networks who hang out here.

The Questions!



General IRC Channel Questions

[#GeneralQuestions [link]]


Who runs the channel

[#WhoRunsChannel [link]]


Is the same as

[#FreeNetworksOrg [link]]

No, is a seperate IRC network.


Where did go?

[#WhereIsFreeNetworksOrg [link]]

The server is offline but the rest of the WirelessIRC network can be reached through one of these servers:


I asked a question but no one is answering me!!

[#AskingQuestions [link]]


I'm a profiteering wisp and I hate you non-profit idiots

[#Wisp [link]]


Some asshole named 'jmc' banned or kicked me. Wtf?

[#Jmc [link]]


Why am I op'd?

[#WhyOps [link]]


Who is WifiFred?

[#WifiFred [link]]


Are there channel archives?

[#ChannelArchives [link]]


Community Wireless Issues

[#CommunityWireless [link]]


Where can I find a Community Wireless Group to hook up with?

[#CommunityWirelessGroups [link]]


Where can I find peering agreements for Community Wireless networks?

[#PeeringAgreements [link]]


Where can I find an acceptable use policy for my community wireless hotspot?

[#AcceptableUse [link]]


Commercial (for-profit) Wireless Issues

[#Commercial [link]]


How can I make money?

[#MakeMoney [link]]


Why are WISPs so hostile to community wireless?

[#Them [link]]


General Linux Stuff

[#Linux [link]]


How do I install <blah> package?

[#InstallingSoftware [link]]


Are there any small linux distros with wireless?

[#SmallDistros [link]]


Wireless Network Card Questions

[#WirelessNic [link]]


What is the best 802.11b wireless card?

[#BestCard [link]]


[#TiChipset [link]]


What about driverloader / ndiswrapper?

[#Ndiswrapper [link]]


Will my Broadcom chipset wireless card work in Linux or *BSD? (Linksys wmp11v2.7 and Dell Truemobile 1180 for example)

[#Broadcom [link]]


Will my Atmel chipset wireless card work in Linux or OS X? (SMC2632W)

[#Atmel [link]]


I'd like to try doing ___________ with 802.11b. Will it work?

[#TryIt [link]]


Do 802.11a cards work under Linux or *BSD?

[#11a [link]]


Do 802.11g cards work under Linux?

[#11g [link]]


I'm trying to use my ________ (prism2 chipset card) under linux, and I can't figure out wlan-ng, help!

[#Prism2 [link]]


What driver should I use for Linux?

[#Drivers [link]]


How do I get my Linksys WPC11 to work under Linux?

[#Wpc11 [link]]

First, you need to figure out which version of the card you have.

If you have one of the earlier cards (v 2 or 3) go here:

Or, you can try looking here:

I do not recommend following the latter directions, as the drivers are not totally compatible with the linux wireless extensions, which are a standard all the other drivers follow. If you choose to use wlan-ng, please don't expect any support what so ever from #wireless. Try following directions for other prism2 based cards, orinoco_cs and hostap will also work, and both support the linux wireless extensions. --ForrestEnglish

If you have a v.4 (rtl) card, you should go here:

As of early 2007, they do not have a release, and encourage downloading the svn. However, they also have posted tarballs of previous snapshots, and you should download one of those tarballs. Once you extract the tarball, you will see several directories, which correspond to different development versions of the driver. The one you want for WPC11 v.4 is rtl8180-sa2400-dev. You do not need the ieee80211 replacement stuff.

Note: that driver (and in fact the entire rtl-wifi project) is a fork of an older project: However, the rtl8180-sa2400 project has been abandoned, and does not work with modern kernels (I think it broke with 2.6.15). There is also a proprietary driver available from RealTek, which is even more out of date and does not work for most people.


How can I find out what chipset my wireless card uses?

[#Chipset [link]]


I want a wireless network scanner under Linux, or help configuring one, please?

[#Kismet [link]]


How do I enable monitor mode with this Orinoco?

[#OrinocoRfmon [link]]


Will my USB wireless adapter work under Linux?

[#Usb [link]]

Nowadays a lot of USB-wireless adapters are well supported under linux , have a look on [ this] page wich tells chipset/manufacturer are good and bad. It also provide you with the links to the site's where the driver are available.


How can I find what version of Firmware my Wireless Network card has?

[#FirmwareVersion [link]]


I want to install some kind of authentication software for my wireless network, can I do that?

[#AuthTypes [link]]


I'm having trouble with my prism card....

[#PrismIssues [link]]

Make sure you have the most up-to-date firmware! It's 1.8.4 for most prism versions. See next question.


What's an easy, reliable way to update the firmware of my prism card?

[#PrismFirmware [link]]

I (DrDT) have updated the firmware of many different kinds of prism cards using this method (on Windows). It requires modified Senao drivers, the winupdate program, and the correct firmware files for your card. You can find the correct firmware types from this table . Match your "Component ID" (see hostap_diag under linux; or winupdate in windows may show you) against the table and you'll find what primary and secondary firmwares you need. Then you can find the latest primary (pL######.hex, where L is the letter for your primary type) and secondary (sL######.hex, where L is the letter for your secondary type) firmwares on sites such as

Most people will have cards of type 800C or 8013 in my experience; according to that table those types of cards require a "K" Primary and a "F" secondary. the latest versions of these are at (primary "K" version 1.1.1) and (secondary "F" version 1.8.4)

Make sure you have the right type of firmware, and no programs running/problems with your computer during the update. Any small error will permanently kill your prism card! Ask me in the channel if you have questions.

Here's my recommended procedure to update your prism card on Windows:

1) get the Senao prism driver

2) get the winupdate program

3) get the 2 firmware files which match your card, the primary and secondary according to the info above.

4) After removing any old prism drivers (in add/remove programs usually), install the Senao driver. Then go into your windows inf directory (usually C:\windows\inf\ or C:\winnt\inf) and open the wlannic.inf file. In that file there will be lines near the top starting with "ExcludeFromSelect..." put a ";" character in front of those lines, that way you can choose/force the senao driver for your non-senao prism card.

5a) If you have a PCMCIA card: When you insert your prism pcmcia card, it'll ask for a driver. Select "choose from list" in that box and select the "IEEE 802.11b" manufacturer and the "PCMCIA card" or "PC card" device option. (if you don't see "IEEE 802.11b" to the left as a manufacturer, you didn't install the senao driver of modify wlannic.inf correctly).

5b) If you have a PCI/Mini-PCI card: delete the card from the windows device manager (usually right click my computer -> manage -> "devices") and press the "f5" key to re-detect your hardware. If this doesn't work (no box pops up after f5), restart your computer. When windows asks for a driver, Select "choose from list" in that box and select the "IEEE 802.11b" manufacturer and the "PCI" or "Mini-PCI" device option. (if you don't see "IEEE 802.11b" to the left as a manufacturer, you didn't install the senao driver of modify wlannic.inf correctly).

6) After installing the card, go to your prism card's driver's options and disable the "Firmware Download" option. If you don't do this, the Senao driver will put a newer firmware in the card's RAM (it has a few RAM firmwares built-in), but not its flash, and winupdate will show you the wrong firmware version. Restart your computer afterwards to make sure.

7) Install and run the winupdate program. Your card should be automatically selected.

8) Add the 2 fimware files above using the "file" menu. Those 2 files should be listed in the main winupdate box, each having a P or an S icon depending on primary/secondary firmware.

9) We'll check your card's current firmware to make sure we're putting the right stuff on. In Winupdate, go to tools menu and then "query firmware version". Make note of the 2 files listed in that box:

10) Now make sure your PC won't be bothered during the flash procedure (no programs running, etc) and...

Again, if there are any questions, ask in the channel.


Antennas and stuff

[#Antennas [link]]


dB, dBm, dBi, mW, W.... What is all this stuff?

[#dB [link]]


How can I calculate the distance my antenna will have?

[#Distance [link]]


What is the best antenna?

[#BestAntenna [link]]


How can I hack an antenna onto my wireless card?

[#AntennaHack [link]]


I want to build my own antenna, where are instructions to do that?

[#BuildAntenna [link]]


What's the deal with reverse polarity (RP) connectors?

[#RpConnectors [link]]


Connecting to Networks

[#Connect [link]]


How do I find wireless networks around me?

[#FindNets [link]]


How do I connect to a wireless network?

[#HowToConnect [link]]


How do I hack into my neighbors Wireless Network?

[#UnauthorizedUse [link]]


How do I crack WEP?

[#CrackWep [link]]


Why won't someone on #wireless help me crack my, ahh, own network ?

[#CrackOwnWep [link]]


What system do I need for 902.10 Wireless on my TV

[#Tv [link]]


Network Configuration help

[#NetworkConf [link]]


How do I setup my network to automatically get an IP address?

[#Dhcp [link]]


What commands do I need to use?

[#ConnectCommands [link]]


Building A HotSpot or Network

[#Building [link]]


What is a captive portal?

[#CaptivePortal [link]]


What captive portal/gateway software is available?

[#PortalSoftware [link]]


Where can I find documentation on NoCat?

[#NoCatDocs [link]]


Security Concerns

[#Security [link]]


How broken is WEP, anyway?

[#WepBroken [link]]


So what could I use, then?

[#SecurityOptions [link]]

==Which card/driver combination has the best support for WPA?==

Help with windows specific stuff in NetworkCommands and AssociationWithNetworks would be greatly appreciated. I have pictures and commands for the orinoco software under windows that I can take care of, but anything else is fair game. Further wikiizing this page (like the lucent cards), and any further FAQ's would also be welcome :) --ForrestEnglish