Linux-compatible wireless USB adaptor that I can actually buy? (part 2)

This is a follow up to my previous post: Linux-compatible wireless USB adaptor that I can actually buy?

I was really sure that the ralink-based ASUS WL-167G would be the one. But no, the ASUS WL-167G does not work in Ubuntu Edgy or Ubuntu Feisty (herd 2). In fact, the (open source) Ralink drivers seem to be a problem on most recent Linux distros. I’ll try compiling the drivers myself soon, but I want an out-of-the-box working wireless USB adaptor.

Based on the comments to my previous post, I now think that the zd1211-based MSI US54SE is the one that is likely to really work out-of-the-box. It’s available in Germany.

As far as I can tell, there is not one single Wireless USB adaptor that’s (widely) available in the USA that will work out-of-the-box with Ubuntu Edgy. All the models that have worked before now have seem to have new unsupported chipsets, without changes of model name.

18 thoughts on “Linux-compatible wireless USB adaptor that I can actually buy? (part 2)

  1. I’m not sure what the use case is, Murray, but you might look at ethernet->wifi bridges- I have a Linksys WET11 which is plugged in to my printer and works fine, and they now have a wet54g version of that. No driver necessary, since to your machine it just looks like plain ethernet.

  2. Lusi, yeah, I have a WET54G on my PC already, and I want to use that for my networked printer once I get an adaptor for the PC. I’d like a USB stick because I’d rather not have an extra power supply and I’d generally like it to be small and simple. And really, I think there should be at least one that works.

    It should be much easier to get a working internal PCI wireless adaptor card.

  3. Also, the problem with the bridges is that, if you leave it unplugged for long enough, it forgets what wireless network it should use. So you need to configure it again (via a web UI usually), but to even get to the web page you need to set your computers default gateway and whatnot to one expected by the bridge’s default settings, and remember what the default admin password is. It’s not easy.

  4. Murray, I’m sorry to have advised you to use the WL-169g

    I’m using the WL-169g on Dapper and there it works fine

  5. Jaap, It’s possible that your one would work fine on Edgy and Feisty too, though I have doubts. I think the chipset was changed (though it’s still a ralink). I think yours uses the rt2500 (or rt2570?) driver, while mine should use the rt73 driver.

  6. I am using Gigafast WF748-CUI, 802.11b/g USB

    You need to check out the serial numbers.
    You want a serial starting with Z5 (zd1211) or Z6 (zd1211b) to get a Zydas chip.
    Models starting with S5 (Sis) don’t work.
    Serial number is printed on outside of the box.

    These can be had for less than $20 (maybe $15) from multiple sources.
    zd1211rw driver is in the main kernel tree

  7. “Jaap, It’s possible that your one would work fine on Edgy and Feisty too, though I have doubts.”

    Is this yet another Ubuntu hardware regression? I’ve seen hardware that works with Hoary but not with Dapper, although I seem to remember that Knoppix (to take another example) started to suffer similar problems some time ago, too.

  8. This is really bad I think, I’m in kind of the same position. I just got a new laptop and I’d like to have a USB wifi NIC that supports hostap mode that I can stick in my stationary computer to give my laptop Internet access. I think this means a ralink based one. Of course, I run FreeBSD on my stationary, but my guess is that the situation is similar. If I don’t find any, I think I’ll buy a Linksys AP instead.

    I actually looked at a Dlink adapter the other week, only to find out it was a “rev C.” and not a “rev 1”. I hate how they change chipsets all the time.

    Good luck Murray and be sure to post when you find something.


  9. Paul, it’s not a regression on the part of the software. The hardware changed, while keeping the same model number.

  10. hi Murray,

    in any case, you will propably have to identify the card’s production series (by hardware revision, serial no etc.) in any case. It’s a shame that vendors keep changing the chipsets they use, but keep the model name of the card. To my knowledge, there is no vendor that sticks with a specific chipset for any model.

    IIRC NetworkManager requires the wireless driver to support the wireless extensions for WPA support.
    Also, bear in mind that for WPA support by wpa_supplicant, the driver must either implement a recent version of the linux wireless extension or be natively supported by wpa_supplicant.

    from the man page:


    (default) Host AP driver (Intersil Prism2/2.5/3). (this can also be used with Linuxant DriverLoader).
    Agere Systems Inc. driver (Hermes-I/Hermes-II).
    MADWIFI 802.11 support (Atheros, etc.).
    Linux wireless extensions (generic).
    Linux ndiswrapper.
    Broadcom wl.o driver.
    Intel ipw2100/2200 driver.
    wpa_supplicant wired Ethernet driver
    BSD 802.11 support (Atheros, etc.).
    Windows NDIS driver.

  11. OK, so like most softMAC stuff I had to add a little hack to /etc/network/interfaces to do ifconfig up then iwlist scan in pre-up commands. Then plugging it in just worked. I didn’t see any of that kind of badness. And unfortunately I bought the device for a friend so I don’t have the specific model number.

  12. Thanks, Robert. I suggest that you file an Ubuntu launchpad bug about that so that it can really just work in future. That hack is probably beyond most peoples’ abilities.

  13. Same for me. Running SUSE 10.2 and it (the eHome EH103 USB wireless adapter) is not recognized. Can’t use the windows software that it came with of course.

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