OpenSuse 11 and WiFi

A week or so ago I shuffled computers around the house. As a result one of my desktops couldn’t be reached by wired Ethernet any more, so I thought of going wireless. Bought a cheap Asus PCI-Wireless card (WL-138G) which worked like a charm on Vista and XP. That’s the sunny side of the story.

In the spirit of weekly change, Thursday night I got my hands on OpenSuse’s latest and greatest – version 11, Beta 3. It installed fairly quickly, it looked nice, and it even seemed that it got all my cards – including the WiFi one. Oh joy. But my joy did not last too much – one click on the Firefox icon and doom came: there was no internet. So I tried changing the settings in the Network Settings menu of Yast2, using the Network Manager to shuffle even more seetings, but all in vain.

Back to the internet for a solution. Most links I found involved blacklisting the default driver and using ndiswrapper to extract the firmware from the Windows drivers. Which of course didn’t work. Late last night though I found a solution in a forum, somewhere. I had to tweak it a little, but it worked.

Technical data: the card uses a BroadCom 54G Air chipset, shown by a lspci command as BCM4318. I also had an ethernet port, which proved essential to get the wifi to work.

Steps:

  1. Open Yast and go to the Software management category.
  2. Search for and install most things that have to do with wireless. Especially the K WIFI NManager.
  3. Search for and install the b4xx_fwcutter and curl.
  4. Open a terminal and run ‘su’. Then enter the root password.
  5. Run install_bcm43xx_firmware. This will fetch two packages and install them.
  6. Reboot the machine. On the page I found this idea it said that it should work.
  7. However, when using the K Network Manager to setup my wireless there was nothing detected. Nor were any networks found using the K Wifi LAN Manager scan.
  8. In the K WiFi Manager, in the settings tab there is an instruction that allows you to change the signal strength thresholds. Once you click that, wifi will start poring in.

So this is it, guide to WiFi in OpenSuse 11 Beta 3 in 8 easy steps 🙂

Now if I could get libxine, mplayer and lirc to work with my specs I can get rid of Windows.

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