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CentOS 5 on Dell Inspiron 8100 with Proxim RangeLAN wifi

  • Tuesday, November 13 2007 @ 11:18 AM UTC
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I recently installed CentOS 5 on my older Dell Insipron 8100. For wireless, I use a RangeLAN DS card (in Linux, this card uses the orinoco_cs driver and usually shows up as eth1). In previous versions of CentOS I had to manually identify the card by editing the wifi config files and possibly some other magic. CentOS 5 identifies this card just fine but does not function without a little bit of system tweaking. It seems that another kernel module named hostap_cs conflicts with the orinoco_cs module. I noticed that the status light on the PCMCIA card would continue to flash, instead of coming on solid when the card found the AP.

The fix is to blacklist the conflicting hostap_cs module so the system does not try to load it.

Edit this file:

/etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-compat

Add these lines and reboot:

# hostap_cs conflicts with orinoco_cs driver.
blacklist hostap_cs


Labeling on the Proxim card itself:

PC CARD 8430
H/W Rev. : 1.0
F/W Rev. : 0.7.6

The wifi card ident info:

# pccardctl ident
Socket 0:
product info: "PROXIM", "RangeLAN-DS/LAN PC CARD", "", ""
manfid: 0x0126, 0x8000
function: 6 (network)

I purchased for $15 from Geeks.com a few years ago (I'm fond of geeks.com for slightly older and cheaper computing gear).
Additional information about my laptop...

# lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 82815 815 Chipset Host Bridge and Memory Controller Hub (rev 04)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82815 815 Chipset AGP Bridge (rev 04)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev 03)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801BAM ISA Bridge (LPC) (rev 03)
00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801BAM IDE U100 (rev 03)
00:1f.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801BA/BAM USB (Hub #1) (rev 03)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV11 [GeForce2 Go] (rev b2)
02:03.0 Multimedia audio controller: ESS Technology ES1983S Maestro-3i PCI Audio Accelerator (rev 10)
02:06.0 Ethernet controller: 3Com Corporation 3c556 Hurricane CardBus [Cyclone] (rev 10)
02:06.1 Communication controller: 3Com Corporation Mini PCI 56k Winmodem (rev 10)
02:0f.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI4451 PC card Cardbus Controller
02:0f.1 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI4451 PC card Cardbus Controller
02:0f.2 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments PCI4451 IEEE-1394 Controller


kernel modules (after the fix):
# lsmod
Module Size Used by
autofs4 23749 2
hidp 23105 2
rfcomm 42457 0
l2cap 29633 10 hidp,rfcomm
bluetooth 53925 5 hidp,rfcomm,l2cap
sunrpc 142973 1
ip_conntrack_netbios_ns 6977 0
ipt_REJECT 9537 1
xt_state 6209 2
ip_conntrack 53153 2 ip_conntrack_netbios_ns,xt_state
nfnetlink 10713 1 ip_conntrack
iptable_filter 7105 1
ip_tables 17029 1 iptable_filter
ip6t_REJECT 9409 1
xt_tcpudp 7105 10
ip6table_filter 6849 1
ip6_tables 18181 1 ip6table_filter
x_tables 17349 6 ipt_REJECT,xt_state,ip_tables,ip6t_REJECT,xt_tcpudp,ip6_tables
video 19269 0
sbs 18533 0
i2c_ec 9025 1 sbs
i2c_core 23745 1 i2c_ec
button 10705 0
battery 13637 0
asus_acpi 19289 0
ac 9157 0
ipv6 250369 21 ip6t_REJECT
parport_pc 29157 0
lp 15849 0
parport 37513 2 parport_pc,lp
joydev 13185 0
serio_raw 10693 0
floppy 57125 0
snd_maestro3 27717 1
snd_ac97_codec 87009 1 snd_maestro3
snd_ac97_bus 6337 1 snd_ac97_codec
snd_seq_dummy 7877 0
snd_seq_oss 32705 0
snd_seq_midi_event 11073 1 snd_seq_oss
3c59x 44649 0
snd_seq 49841 5 snd_seq_dummy,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq_midi_event
mii 9409 1 3c59x
snd_seq_device 11853 3 snd_seq_dummy,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq
snd_pcm_oss 42849 0
snd_mixer_oss 19137 1 snd_pcm_oss
snd_pcm 71621 3 snd_maestro3,snd_ac97_codec,snd_pcm_oss
snd_timer 24901 2 snd_seq,snd_pcm
orinoco_cs 19781 1
ide_cd 40033 0
snd_page_alloc 13641 1 snd_pcm
orinoco 40277 1 orinoco_cs
snd 51909 11 snd_maestro3,snd_ac97_codec,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq,snd_seq_device,snd_pcm_oss,snd_mixer_oss,snd_pcm,snd_timer
cdrom 36705 1 ide_cd
pcspkr 7105 0
hermes 11073 2 orinoco_cs,orinoco
soundcore 13217 1 snd
dm_snapshot 20581 0
dm_zero 6209 0
dm_mirror 29713 0
dm_mod 56537 8 dm_snapshot,dm_zero,dm_mirror
ext3 123081 2
jbd 56553 1 ext3
ehci_hcd 32845 0
ohci_hcd 23261 0
uhci_hcd 25421 0


I still get an error when activating eth1:

Error for wireless request "Set Encode" (8B2A) :
SET failed on device eth1 ; Operation not supported.

I am posting this over wifi right now, so the error does not seem to impact functionality.

BTW, Ubuntu 7.x (and probably 6.x) works fine on this same laptop with the Proxim card and no tweaking required.
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