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  • Using the Belkin USB Wireless G key under Linux

    This is an attempt to summarize the content of the various web pages that describe the setting of a Belkin USB Wireless G key under Linux, plus the author's own experience. Since most of this content is second hand, it might be partially inaccurate. Do not hesitate to send comments and corrections to the author.

    The Belkin USB Wireless G Network adapter (ref. F5D7050) is a WiFi network interface which is relatively common due to its low price.

    Internally, it can contain three different chipsets : Ralink RT2570, Ralink RT73, or Zydas 1211B. You can identify which one simply by looking at the contents of the CD-ROM which is supplied with the key.
    Windows drivers Chipset
    Ralink RT2570
    Ralink RT73
    Zydas 1211B

    For each of these three chipsets, there are two installation methods available:

    • you can use the Open Source drivers for this chipset;
    • you can use the Windows XP drivers with "ndiswrapper" utility.
    The good method is to use the Linux drivers. The "ndiswrapper" method might give inferior technical results. It also implies that you read and accept the terms of the end user licence agreement of the Windows drivers (so far as they are compatible with your local legislation). Therefore, the "ndiswrapper" method should be used only as a last resort.

    The Linux drivers method

    Recent distributions come with precompiled drivers. In such a case, all that you have to do is to load the kernel module with "modprobe" (as the super-user "root"). You can then check that you have a wifi network interface with "iwconfig" (from the wireless-tools package).
    Chipset Commands
    Ralink RT2570 # modprobe rt73
    # iwconfig rausb0
    Ralink RT73 # modprobe rt2570
    # iwconfig rausb0
    Zydas 1211B # modprobe zd1211b
    # iwconfig wlan0

    If you are not lucky, your distribution does not already contain the driver. Then you need to recompile the drivers by yourself. Here are the places where to donwload the drivers:
    Chipset Location
    Ralink RT2570
    Ralink RT73
    Zydas 1211B

    The first steps are to:

    • download an archive
    • expand it
    • go into the archive's directory with "cd"
    Then the commands vary according to the driver you want to compile.
    Chipset Commands
    Ralink RT2570 as a normal user:
    $ cd Module
    $ make
    then, as root user:
    # make install
    Ralink RT73 as a normal user:
    $ cd Module
    $ chmod +w-x *
    $ chmod +x Configure
    $ cp Makefile.6 Makefile
    or, if you have a 2.4.x kernel instead of a 2.6.x one
    $ cp Makefile.4 Makefile; make config
    then, as root user:
    # mkdir -p /etc/Wireless/RT73STA/
    # cp rt73.bin rt73sta.dat /etc/Wireless/RT73STA/
    # cp rt73.ko /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/extra/
    # depmod -a
    Zydas 1211B as a normal user:
    adapt the Makefile to the version of your kernel
    apply this patch
    then, as root user:
    # make

    Once you have successfully recompiled and installed the driver, go to "modprobe" step explained above.

    The "ndiswrapper" method

    This method consists in the following commands (replace "driver" below with the name of the Windows XP driver):
    # ndiswrapper -i driver.inf
    # ndiswrapper -l
    (to ensure that the driver is loaded and the hardware detected)
    # modprobe ndiswrapper
    # iwconfig wlan0
    (to ensure that the interface is available)

    Once everything works, you can type "ndiswrapper -m" to let this interface be created automatically at computer reboot.

    What next?

    When the WiFi network interface ("rausb0" or "wlan0") is available, you can let graphical tools like KWifiManager configure it, or if you prefer the command line, you can:

    • set its network name: iwconfig wlan0 essid mynetwork
    • set its IP address: ifconfig wlan0
    • have it get automatically an IP address from the access point:
      dhclient wlan0 or dhcpcd wlan0, according to your distribution
    • etc...
    All these settings are temporary. To make them permanent, use the tools provided with your distribution (YaST for SuSE, modifying /etc/network/interfaces for Debian, etc...).

    Last updated: 2006-05-18. Maintained by

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