Linux-friendly wireless vendors

I’ll write more about the Linux Wireless Summit when I am back at home, but here’s a taster.

One item that was discussed was vendor interaction with the Linux wireless development community, or the lack of it. The wireless networking market is still young and lack of vendor cooperation is one of the things that has resulted in Linux’s support for wireless networking being below par.

Without direct company contacts, there’s not a lot we can do to actively improve this, other than be friendly to those who have cooperated, and be patient. With that, we identified the vendors who have been cooperative:

  • Intel rock – they have done the whole shebang. They write open-source drivers for their Intel Centrino wireless adapters (ipw2100/ipw2200), cooperate enough with the Linux developer community for those drivers to be included in mainline Linux, allow firmware to be redistributed, and have contributed to a generic wireless stack shared between all wireless drivers. These cards are probably the best supported wireless adapters under Linux at this time.
  • ZyDAS write GPL drivers for most of their products, and distribute device specs to Linux developers. They also allow redistribution of device firmware. In terms of hardware support, Linux supports the older ZD1201 USB-Wireless adapters, but I’d really recommend the newer ZD1211 devices instead. ZD1211 will be well supported in mainline Linux hopefully within a few weeks.
  • Ralink have apparently contributed device specs. If anyone has details on hardware support under Linux, leave a comment.

Please keep these vendors in mind when purchasing hardware in the future, and be sure to thank them for their contributions.

12 Responses to “Linux-friendly wireless vendors”

  1. registrado69 Says:

    I’m using a ralink based pci card without any problem using the GPL drivers. More info in the project’s page:
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/rt2400/

  2. ceztko Says:

    http://rt2x00.serialmonkey.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page is the main page of the ralink linux driver. It’s somewhat out of date. The official linux wireless git repository contains the most recent work of ralink (and broadcom) drivers : git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/linville/wireless-2.6.git

    > and have contributed to a generic wireless stack shared between all wireless drivers

    at this time is used only by intel ad maybe prism drivers. Probably it will be replaced by the more sophisticated dscape stack (present in the linux wireless repository upon).

  3. aldrik Says:

    I use the ralink rt2500 driver with a MSI CB 54G2 wich is a card bus, and all is working perfectly, I’m very satisfied.

  4. cat Says:

    All of the driver of rt2500 is station mode in the internet.
    I find the rt2500 AP mode driver a long time.
    May I get the AP driver for RT2500 ?

  5. Tobias Scherbaum Says:

    I’m using a Linksys WMP54G PCI card with a RT2500 chipset … sadly the driver isn’t SMP capable, otherwise it works like a charm,

  6. dsd Says:

    ceztko, I know, I was at the summit. I am writing more about it later :)

    The stack is actually used by more drivers than that. zd1211 and bcm, plus (I believe) others. Indeed it does have limitations, such as (without softmac) it is somewhat limited to intel-style hardware.

  7. gotFoo{?} » Linux Wireless Resources Says:

    [...] This blog entry got me on the right path Linux-friendly wireless vendors. List of vendors: -Ralink RT2500 chipsets based wireless 802.11g devices -ZyDAS chipsets based wireless 802.11a/b/g devices [...]

  8. linux.gotfoo.org » Archives » Linux Wireless Resources Says:

    [...] This page is my resource and links page for trying to get wifi working on my Gateway MX6440 laptop which has a poorly supported Broadcom Corporation BCM4318 [AirForce One 54g] 802.11g Wireless LAN Controller (rev 02). At some point I am going to buy either a USB Wifi, a PCMCIA Wifi Card or a miniPCI Wifi card. This blog entry got me on the right path Linux-friendly wireless vendors. List of vendors: -Ralink RT2500 chipsets based wireless 802.11g devices -ZyDAS chipsets based wireless 802.11a/b/g devices [...]

  9. gotFoo » Linux Wireless Resources Says:

    [...] This blog entry got me on the right path Linux-friendly wireless vendors. List of vendors: -Ralink RT2500 chipsets based wireless 802.11g devices -ZyDAS chipsets based wireless 802.11a/b/g devices Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu -How to: Broadcom Wireless cards without Ndiswrapper -Wireless BCM4318 AirForce Card Hard-Ware -Belkin Wireless-G Notebook Adapter Model F5D7010 -MSI MP54G4 Mini PCI Wireless-G Notebook Adapter [...]

  10. shryko Says:

    I am just looking at shifting my laptop over to linux, and when I checked the website for my PCMCIA wifi card, I found a big surprise… the website says windows 98/2000/NT/ME/XP, yet, inside the package of drivers they had both linux source and linux binaries… however, as I looked deeper, I found out that the linux support is actually somewhat limited, since the readme says only Redhat 7.1-7.3 are supported, with kernel v.2.4.17, 2.4.183…

    so, kudos to SMC for being open with us, but, it could be a lot better…

    at least there is something that can be built upon, and expanded.

  11. Simon Says:

    Good sites if you’re looking for info about wireless cards:
    http://linux-wless.passys.nl/
    http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Jean_Tourrilhes/Linux/

    The second link has detailed description of vendors’ attitudes about open source drivers.

    shryko: when looking for Linux support for your hardware, don’t go to the hardware vendor’s site, use Google instead. However, chances are that if your vendor provided working source code, you won’t need to do anything, the card will just work out of the box with whatever distribution you choose to use.

  12. Ralink Says:

    Please refer to http://www.ralinktech.com “Support” page for the latest information on Ralink Drivers for Linux
    http://www.ralinktech.com/ralink/Home/Support/Linux.html

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