Wireless Network Adapters

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This document covers IBM/Lenovo integrated (MiniPCI), Cardbus and PC Card (PCMCIA) Wi-Fi devices.

Finding out which adapter you have

For MiniPCI or Cardbus adapters run the command:

# lspci -n | grep -e "0200" -e "0280"

And compare the PCI IDS with the ones below.

This will also return the PCI IDS of any Ethernet adapters, as Ethernet adapters and Wireless adapters share the same PCI Class ID.

MiniPCI adapters







Error 1802 - "Unauthorized" MiniPCI network card

Attempts to install an unsupported card will result in the following message:

  1802: Unauthorized network card is plugged in - Power off and remove the miniPCI network card.

For a resolution, see the Problem with unauthorized MiniPCI network card page.

Hardware Transmitter Switch

Operating a radio transmitter is not permitted in aircraft, and there are times where security requires that your wireless connection be shut down. Some ThinkPads with internal MiniPCI wireless cards have a hardware switch that disables the wireless network. Here it is on the on position:

(ThinkPad R60 radio switch in the ON position)

To be certain that your wireless connection is not transmitting, turn the switch off. Just remember to turn it back on when you once again need wireless access. If the switch is off, you might encounter a message like the following Log-Message on Startup:

 ipw3945: Radio Frequency Kill Switch is On:
 Kill switch must be turned off for wireless networking to work.

Also, when you try to activate (iwconfig) your wireless connection with the switch off you may see the error,

 Error for wireless request "Set Mode" (8B06)

The number 8B06 merely represents the wireless mode (auto, ad-hoc, managed, master), none of which will work with the wireless switch off.

Cardbus adapters

Cardbus is a 32bits bus that runs at 33MHz, and is in many ways simular to the PCI bus. In fact under Linux Cardbus adapters are handled by the PCI subsystem.
You can differentiate a PC Card adapter from a Cardbus adapter as the later has a gold coloured grounding strip

IBM 11 a/b/g Wireless Cardbus Adapter

Chipset: Atheros
Driver: madwifi
Supported wireless modes: 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g

Specifications: MIGR-51855
Users Guide: MIGE-51855
Service Parts: MIGR-51874 Looking for a reverse PCI to cardbus (ie - want to fit a PCI card into a cardbus slot)

IBM 802.11a Wireless LAN Cardbus Adapter

Chipset: Atheros
Driver: madwifi
Supported wireless modes: 802.11a

Specifications: MIGR-42209
Users Guide: MIGR-42233
Service Parts: MIGR-42231

PC Card (PCMCIA) adapters

PC Card or PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) as it used to be called, is an 8 or 16bits bus limited to 8MHz, in many ways simular to the old ISA bus and not suitable for highspeed devices.

Cisco Aironet 350 802.11b wireless PC card with 128bit

Chipset: Cisco
Driver: airo_cs
Supported wireless modes: 802.11b

IBM High Rate Wireless LAN PC Card

Chipset: Hermes I
Drivers: orinoco_cs
Supported wireless modes: 802.11b