Monday, 4 June 2012

Adventures in Wireless Ubuntu 12.04

So I built another desktop computer from parts, (something that I thought that I would grow out of by now.)

I wanted to connect it wirelessly and got a Hercules HWNUp-150. One of the nice 5mm external pico wifi usb dongles. It does b,g,n and WPA and WPA2. Though it sadly did mentioned 'doze7 on the box that came after the wiFi certified mark and did not mention WEP on the front of the box, (though it did say that WEP was 'possible' on the side of the box.)

So we

  tail -f /var/log/kern.log /var/log/syslog

and plugged it into the shiny new Ubuntu 12.04.

  lsusb

at the same time, (oh the power of screen) told me that it was a
Guillemot Corp. Hercules HWNUp-150 802.11n Wireless N Pico [Realtek RTL8188CUS]
so I used

  lsmod

to look for rtl8188cus


Nothing. modprobe rtl8188cus and rtl8188cu gave me nothing.

So I searched the blogs, (I remember when all we had were logs.),
eventually someone suggested getting the latest driver from

 http://www.realtek.com/downloads/

and this was the first funny thing: The download page for my driver had some mirrors, (UK,US1,US2,US3,CN) but the links were to ftp sites. Being me I thought that I would take a look round to see if there were a few versions and grab one of each to try... but no. It was not a public ftp server. No script-kiddie hacking for me... until I found the username and password in the download link.

(p.s. If you are a "WebUser" then I'm sure you know AxPL9s3k.
 I would mention
ftp://207.232.93.28/cn/wlan/RTL819xCU_USB_linux_v3.4.2_3727.20120404.zip
but it is probably out of date by now.)

Back to the story. realtek showed me that I needed an rtl8192cu, (which uses cfg80211, mac80211, rtl8192c_common, rtlwifi
modules
)
It turns out that the good people at realtek have added an installer! It builds the module from scratch, (if you have the libs and compiler installed), and installs it with modprobe and everything.

I read that rtl8192cu can have problems with authentication and that

    modprobe -r rtl8192cu
  modprobe rtl8192cu nohwcrypt=1

can solve the problem. I still have not tested that at any length.
because Ubuntu 12.04 still did not like it.

So what was the secret?

/sbin/wpa_supplicant -B -P /run/sendsigs.omit.d/wpasupplicant.pid -u -s -O /var/run/wpa_supplicant


yup, I installed wpasupplicant, but then the connection was flaky at best, (though now I could manage to load a web page or two as the ping to my own router randomly got lost without a connection drop, (hmm it is a long 4 meters for a little packet to be out there on its own in a scary house.)

So after another few hours of trying everything, yes even that thing you just thought of, (unless it was teredo, then no I had not tried that), I tried installing miredo.

  apt-get install miredo
or use aptitude if you are lucky enough to have a connection long enough to install aptitude... and the connection became stable. Now I was moving too fast, so it could have been diabeling IPv6 in the connection, (ironic much?) or adding a static address to the IPv4 part of the wlan0 interface but just as I was about to do tests to find out I realised that I was work to do!

There should be a web page somewhere, (come on Ubuntu) that lists the release, (12.04 AMD64 Desktop) and then the kernels, (3.2.0-24-generic) and then the name on the box, (Hercules Sans-Fil 150 "green and black box") and any other small detail, (like HWNUp-150 3362934740511) and a link to the steps needed to install it. (I would add a "how much of a pain to get working" option, but really anything more than plug-n-play is a failure in this day and age.)

In other news my trusty sagem xg-762n has died. It had a long and hard life, (those packets aren't going to inject themselves you know), and will be missed by all.

[update] I tried this on finnix 104 and found it hard to compile the kernel modules because make did not want to play. So I tried to apt-get install buildesentials and libc was half-installed and unhappy from there on, so though I love being able to dig through the source code a pre-compiled module would be nice, (so I made one and added it to my finnix 104 USB - this feels like Gentoo all over again.) 

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