Ubuntu and wireless can work!

Ok, so I recently decided I wanted to sew my wild oats and install Linux. When I came to this blithering idiot of a conclusion, I neglected to take into account how my home-brew PC with its dinosaur of a wireless card would handle the situation.

I went with Ubuntu 8.10, Intrepid Ibex. When I initially booted up, I was greeted immediately with a working wireless connection. Oh yeah, I rock. This connection, however proceeded to last for a period of about 15 nanoseconds before it started to violently fluctuate for ten minutes, culminating in a permanent disconnection.

I researched the problem (on my windows machine, as Ubuntu was currently stabbing me in the face with anti-internet forks) and stumbled across a package called ndiswrapper. My first real Linux test was about to begin.

Now, Ubuntu comes pre-installed with the ndiswrapper module. This helps you out exactly zero percent, I just wanted to let you know. I still needed to install the utils package to get it up and running. I am running 8.10 Intrepid Ibex (If you don’t know what that is, look here) so I grabbed the necessary packages here:

* http://packages.ubuntu.com/intrepid/misc/ndiswrapper-common
* http://packages.ubuntu.com/intrepid/misc/ndiswrapper-utils-1.9
* http://packages.ubuntu.com/intrepid/net/ndisgtk

I transferred them to a directory on my Linux machine (any will do) and ran the following terminal commands in the below order:

sudo dpkg -i ndiswrapper-common_*.deb
sudo dpkg -i ndiswrapper-utils*.deb
sudo dpkg -i --force-depends ndisgtk_*.deb

*note – the sudo command will run any subsequent commands as a super user. You will need to enter your password.

Before installing my windows ones, I needed to disable Ubuntu’s included free drivers. Apparently since v6.06 they’ve been including these, although they only work for a handful of wireless drivers that probably never existed. The following terminal command opened my modprobe blacklist.

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

At the bottom of the file I added the following:

#This is a list of drivers that hate my belkin wireless
blacklist bcm43xx
blacklist b43
blacklist b43legacy
blacklist ssb

I then downloaded the latest drivers for my Belkin F5D7050 Wireless G Adapter (again on my windows machine, this time while punching the Linux one). When opening the .exe file in Ubuntu, it extracted the files like a normal zip file would.

Next, I went to System / Administration / Windows wireless drivers. I clicked “install new driver” and located the .INF file in the directory I extracted my Belkin drivers to. I then restarted, and much to my glass is half empty surprise, I was graced with a wireless connection.

Installed Wireless Network Drivers

*note – If it says that the hardware is not present, you probably have the wrong driver.

In conclusion, despite my sarcastic attitude, setting up wireless on Ubuntu was easier than Windows. If anyone has questions, or problems setting up their own wireless, feel free to post below.