State of Linux Wireless | LAS | s21e09

State of Linux Wireless | LAS | s21e09

Linux has had a checkered past with wireless, we re-cap where we’ve come from, and how things stand now and a few tricks to get you connected.

PLUS: We blast through the week’s news, and ask if open source projects can realistically survive off donations alone.

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Matt’s Howto:

First up, the devices I shared and their chipsets.

rt73usb 802.11g – decent range and dependable
Working out of the box, using the already installed driver for rt73usb – these dongles are tough to find, but anything that is confirmed using rt73usb will work out of the box in Ubuntu.
1) Edimax ew-7318usg
2) Edimax EW-7318Ug
Since these dongles are no readily available, I suggest the TP-Link TL-WN321G which uses rt73usb and is readily available at Amazon.

rtl8187 802.11g – overheats easily, usable with extension cable or notebook cooling pad
Next we have the WiBee Dongle. It uses the Realtek RTL8187 driver. It too, works out of the box. But unlike the above linked rt73usb devices, it is quick to overheat and will drop your signal over extended usage.

zd1211rw – weak signal, but it’s very stable. Also only gets up to 36 Mb/s
The next dongle on my list that I had in the studio was the ZyXEL’s G-220 v2. As we all know, wireless dongle version numbers make model numbers, useless. Therefore knowing what I know now, I avoid any vendor using them.

That’s great Matt, so what the hell do you recommend smart guy? A few different options.

Option #1
Obviously, my personal choice for notebooks is to use System76, as they provide you with well supported Intel wireless chipset options built into the notebook. You could this yourself, however if there’s a bug, it’s nice having these guys there to lend a hand down when something comes up. I’ve owned two of their systems and have one on a lend for the show, flawless, simply flawless support based on my experience.

Option #2
You can get out of the box support with laptops that use some Broadcom chipsets, most Atheros chipsets and nearly all Intel chipsets. If you’re confident in taking apart a notebook, go for it. Many of these devices support 802.11n.

Option #3 (Newbie friendly)
Be lazy like me, get yourself a reliable since Ubuntu Dapper dongle using rt73usb. I like the TP-Link TL-WN321G as a readily available option. This is great if you can handle 802.11g only speeds and don’t want to connect with 802.11n.

Option #4 ( a little DIY, but totally worth it)
From the show’s tutorial, my Edimax EW-7718Un dongle. Supports up to 300 Mb/s. Unfortunately, this too, is a dongle that has become difficult to find. There are newer options though, using the same driver scheme. Both dongles work with the rt2870STA (replacing the newer, non-working rt2800usb option) how to I talked about.

Full Wireless notes here.

Chris’ Stash:

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