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Conceptronic Wireless LAN PCI on Gentoo Linux Mini-HOWTO

Abstract: I recently bought a Conceptronic 54Mbps PCI card. For me, the card works perfectly on my Gentoo box, but the configuration is a bit tricky. This Mini-HOWTO describes the installation on Gentoo Linux with a 2.6.x kernel.

My card uses the Atheros chipset, which is supported by the madwifi driver, although I've heard about older versions of this card, which ships with a PRISM chipset. Install the driver with

root@selma ~ # emerge madwifi-driver

Activate the wlan driver in your kernel configuration by adding the following lines to your .config file:


After recompiling your kernel, load the modules wlan, ath_hal and ath_pci with the modprobe [modulename] command. lsmod should print the following information:

root@selma ~ # lsmod
Module Size Used by
ath_pci 38680 0
wlan 57512 2 ath_pci
ath_hal 125136 2 ath_pci

If the card has been successfully recognized, you may add the module ath_pci to /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6. The next time you boot, the following message should appear:

ath_hal: module license 'Proprietary' taints kernel.
wlan: BETA
ath_pci: BETA
ath_pci: BETA
Setup queue (0) for WME_AC_BK
Setup queue (1) for WME_AC_BE
Setup queue (2) for WME_AC_VI
Setup queue (3) for WME_AC_VO
ath0: mac 5.9 phy 4.3 5ghz radio 4.6
ath0: 11b rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps
ath0: 11g rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps 6Mbps 9Mbps 12Mbps 18Mbps 24Mbps 36Mbps 48Mbps 54Mbps
ath0: 802.11 address: 00:00:00:ff:ff:ff
ath0: Atheros 5212: mem=0xdc000000, irq=18

Next, install the wireless tools with:

root@selma ~ # emerge wireless-tools

Then, download and install the latest version of the wireless-config ebuild from http://rsm.demon.co.uk/~roy/downloads/. Symlink file /etc/init.d/net.eth0 to /etc/init.d/net.ath0:

root@selma ~ # ln -s /etc/init.d/net.eth0 /etc/init.d/net.ath0

Now you should be able to activate your card manually. MY_ESSID is the ESSID of your network, for example wireless or home:

root@selma ~ # ifconfig ath up
root@selma ~ # iwconfig ath0 mode Ad-Hoc
root@selma ~ # iwlist ath0 scan
root@selma ~ # iwconfig ath0 mode managed
root@selma ~ # iwconfig ath0 essid MY_ESSID
root@selma ~ # iwconfig ath0 key 1234-1234-1234-1234-1234-1234-12
root@selma ~ # iwconfig ap 00:00:00:FF:FF:FF'

If you want to retrieve an IP address from your access point, run:

root@selma ~ # dhcpcd ath0

If everything works, you can add the following lines to /etc/conf.d/wireless:


# Set the mode of the interface (managed, ad-hoc or master). Managed is default
# If it's ad-hoc or master you also may need to specify the channel below

# If managed mode fails, drop to ad-hoc mode with the below ESSID?

# Setup any other config commands. This is basically the iwconfig argument
# without the iwconfig $iface
iwconfig_eth0="essid MY_ESSID"

# We can define various timeouts here.

# By default a successful association in Managed mode sets the MAC
# address of the AP connected to. However, some drivers (namely
# the ipw2100) don't set an invalid MAC address when association
# fails - so we need to check on link quality which some drivers
# don't report properly either.
# So if you have connection problems try flipping this setting
# Valid options are MAC, quality and all - defaults to MAC

# Some driver/card combinations need to scan in Ad-Hoc mode
# After scanning, the mode is reset to the one defined above

# Define a WEP key per ESSID or MAC address (of the AP, not your card)
# You can't use "any" for an ESSID here

That's it. Your card should automatically be detected the next time you boot your system. I hope you found this little HOWTO useful. Feel free to post questions or comments.