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Jacked-in WiFi Support: A Fix for ALL Operating Systems 
Anyone who has been loving Linux for any length of time knows the pattern: You have a cool device. You hack the kernel to get it working, only to have it fail on an upgrade.

Hack, upgrade, fail; fail, upgrade, hack. --It is enough to make you want to go back to CP/M... Then, one day, just when you are considering going back to Windows ... lo and behold, on your next upgrade, everything simply works ... just great!

You feel all fuzzy-warn inside.

It is a religious experience.

You donate to your favorite Open-Source Project. (2 out of three?)

WiFi Woes

That is how WiFi support on Linux USED to be. Indeed, when it came to running WiFi under Ubuntu, a few years back the NDIS Driver threatened to make all WiFi as easy to use as the NE2000 did for the wired-world.

Then suddenly - for reasons best not to discuss here - ubiquitously easy WiFi support went the way of the NeXTStep Computer. --Today, when it comes to setting-up far-too-many a wireless adapter, the Linux world has devolved back into the stone age. Far too often we are left to Google, point-and-grunt, gedit then restart ... (if not gcc, make, and reboot.)


So it was with a recent upgrade: In as much as we had coaxed our Atheros WiFi Adapter into working on 10.04 LTS (without so much as a #include), we pretty much assumed that the upgrade to Ubuntu's 12.x LTS would at least preserve our 10.x hacks. --Indeed, in as much as the change was limited to our /etc/network/interfaces File, one might reasonably - perhaps - hope for some ifconfig wlan0-driver continuity?

Yea, well .... NOT!

A New Approach

Tired as I was from hacking the kernel, let alone 'Googling for yet more inane speculation on how to ever-fix the same problem (a problem that only seems to be getting worse with every upgrade,) we instead opted to save some time & simply disable the wlan0 entirely. We then struck out to find an Ethernet / RJ45 Wireless Adapter.


While at-home and in-the-office any wireless bridge-device would do, for many of us mobility is important. We want a small, discreet appliance. One that would look to the kernel like a simple, plain-old eth0 network.

No muss. No fuss. No driver support! -Something we can hang from a ceiling fan when the signal is bouncing off of a solar flare (or vice versa :)

After a few failed attempts at an array of devices (cheap hardware, quick return-after-failure,) we discovered the ASUS 6-in-1 Wireless Adapter.

I suppose what I love most about this adapter (AFTER the fact that it just plain-old works) is the above size. Next closest to that appreciation, however, is the ability to either power the device via USB (communication is thru a classical Ethernet / RJ45 Port, remember) ~or~ via a nice little, yes-it-is-included, 125 VAC converter.

Why the power converter, you might ask? --Because of our "ceiling fan" requirement.

Indeed, as I blog this, I am doing so thru the device hanging off of a 14-foot Cat5 Cable. -By using that 125VAC option, I have been able to string the WL-330N3G from the nethermost reaches of my own back-yard, far away from the computer. -Like the star on the Christmas tree, it is hanging off of a nearby palm tree. (To be sure, we also tested the USB power option, as well. Both work great (solar-flare not included).)


So if you - like me - are tired of doing the "WiFi Wriggle" (or is it a cringe?) every time we upgrade, then consider turning that built-in WiFi adapter off. Disabling a dysfunctional wlan in the /etc/network/interfaces file will eliminate that 3 - 4 minute boot-up delay.

#auto wlan0
#iface wlan0 inet dhcp
#wireless-ap any
#wireless-channel auto
#wireless-essid any
#wireless-mode managed
#wireless-rate auto

Not only will using that RJ45 connection virtually guarantee universal OS Support (even though Linux is not listed on the box (apparently for SOFTWARE CD reasons?)), but using the ASUS WL-330N3G 6-in-1 Wireless-N Mobile Router gives us a (1) Wireless Router (2) Wireless Access Point (WAP) (3) Universal Repeater (4) Ethernet Adapter (5) Mobile Hotspot and (6) A 3G WiFi hub for ad-hoc network with our buddies, as well.

Sharing is caring!


(Oh yea: Because we are using the eth0, this "dump the wlan0" driver-strategy works just great on our virtual machines, too!)

Blogatchalater ...

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