AR242x driver ASUS X59SL Ubuntu 8.10 MadWifi

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I am the happy owner of an ASUS X59SL-AP275C laptop which normally runs Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) without a hitch.

Well, at least until I upgrade to a newer Linux kernel, for example today to 2.6.27-14-generic. When that happens, my wireless connection dies and I have to rebuild and reinstall the MadWifi Linux kernel driver for Wireless LAN devices with Atheros chipsets.

So in case anyone out there has the same problem and has pulling one's hair in frustration, I hope that this explanation will help.

First of all, make sure that this ethernet controller is installed:

$ lspci|grep Atheros

You should see something like this:

02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter (rev 01)

The next step is very important: make sure that your Wifi switch is turned on. Mine is located on the left side of the laptop and switched towards me.

Now go to System > Administration > Hardware Drivers and make sure that support for 5xxx series of Atheros 802.11 wireless LAN cards is disabled. It should look something like this:


If it is not, then disable and reboot:

$ sudo reboot

Make sure that the relevant drivers are automatically loaded at boot by editing the /etc/modules system file:

$ sudo gedit /etc/modules

and ensure that the following lines are present:


Now make sure that these same drivers are NOT blacklisted, e.g. not present or commented out in the blacklist system file:

$ sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

Disable ath0 and wifi0 just in case:

$ sudo ifconfig ath0 down
$ sudo ifconfig wifi0 down

The rest is down hill from here. If you don't already have it, grab the madwifi-hal- from the MadWifi repository:

$ svn checkout madwifi

If you are more daring, you can also grab the latest version from the trunk:

$ svn checkput madwifi

There are a couple of utility scripts to unload the drivers and clean up the environment just in case:

$ cd madwifi/scripts
$ sudo ./madwifi-unload 
$ sudo ./ $(uname -r)
$ cd ..

Now it's time to build and install the driver the usual way:

$ sudo make unload
$ sudo make clean
$ sudo make
$ sudo make install

Load the module into the Linux kernel and enable:

$ sudo modprobe ath_pci
$ sudo ifconfig ath0 up

Display the wireless configuration:

$ iwconfig

You should see something similar to this:

lo        no wireless extensions.

eth0      no wireless extensions.

wifi0     no wireless extensions.

ath0      IEEE 802.11g  ESSID:"XXXXXXXXXXXXX"  Nickname:""
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.437 GHz  Access Point: 00:14:7F:8A:74:E3
          Bit Rate:6 Mb/s   Tx-Power:17 dBm   Sensitivity=1/1
          Retry:off   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=21/70  Signal level=-74 dBm  Noise level=-95 dBm
          Rx invalid nwid:848  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:0   Missed beacon:0

pan0      no wireless extensions.

Next enable scanning:

$ sudo modprobe wlan_scan_sta

And then display list of available wireless stations:

$  wlanconfig ath0 list scan

Which should provide a list similar to this:

SSID            BSSID              CHAN RATE  S:N   INT CAPS
XXXXXXXXXXX...  00:14:7f:8a:74:e3    6   54M 24:0   100 EP   WME
Nummer 5        00:12:17:60:50:c5   11   54M  9:0   100 EPs
Sitecom         00:0c:f6:3e:ea:1f   11   54M 13:0   100 Es   WME
Biesploos       00:11:50:8b:83:76   11   54M  4:0   100 EPs

If however the previous command results in an empty list, or something hasn't been working as expected, then simply reboot your laptop (and cross your fingers):

$ sudo reboot

If the Wifi is still not working then as a last resort you might want to try the following:

  • Make sure that the WiFi switch on the side of the laptop is turned on! In my case, the switch is on the left side and should be slid towards the front. Wait about ten seconds.
  • Hit the Fn-F2 combination key and wait a few seconds.

Hopefully now everything should be working just fine. If not then I'm sorry and wish you good luck searching further.

Keep searching.

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