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Using Ndiswrapper For Wireless Networking

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#1 kbk


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Posted 30 September 2006 - 12:19 PM

I wrote this and posted it on my website, but I will repost it here because I think it's helpful...

When I first started using linux, one of the biggest problems I had was getting my wireless network adapter working. I finally got it, and, in the hopes of getting others to use linux I am writing this tutorial on how to do it. First you need to get the drivers for your wireless adapter, sometimes the disk that came with it will work but in my case I had to download them from the Linksys website. You should do this while you still have windows, since the drivers are usually in .exe format. After you get the drivers and have them copied to a cd or floppy or whatever, and have linux loaded on your computer, you need to see if your distro has ndiswrapper (it's a good idea to do this before you install the OS, but whatever). To find out if you have ndiswrapper, open a terminal and type ndiswrapper, here is what it should look like:
kbk@0[~]$ ndiswrapper
Usage: ndiswrapper OPTION

Manage ndis drivers for ndiswrapper.
-i inffile		Install driver described by 'inffile'
-d devid driver   Use installed 'driver' for 'devid'
-e driver		 Remove 'driver'
-l				List installed drivers
-m				Write configuration for modprobe

where 'devid' is either PCIID or USBID of the form XXXX:XXXX

Now that you know you have ndiwrapper, it's time to install the drivers. First you will need to cd to the directory where your driver files are (don't need to, but it's not a bad idea). For me that will be:
cd /home/kbk/drivers/WUSB54Gv1
. Now for me I will type
ndiswrapper -i WUSB54G.inf
to install the driver (for you it might be something different, just install whatever .inf file you have in the directory). Now to make sure it installed we type:
ndiswrapper -l
to list the drivers installed, here is the output of mine:
kbk@0[~]$ ndiswrapper -l
Installed ndis drivers:
airplus		 driver present
bcmwl5		  driver present
lsbcmnds				driver present
lstinds		 driver present
mrv8k51		 driver present
netr33x		 driver present
prismnic				driver present
wlanuig		 driver present
wlipnds		 driver present
wusb54g		 driver present, hardware present
Now you type
modprobe ndiswrapper
so that it will save your settings. And you're done. If I've left anything out, let me know.

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#2 Rabbuk


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Posted 16 January 2007 - 11:34 AM

i think u also need to do ndiswrapper -m to save it everytime you log on or at least i did on ubuntu.

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#3 WilliamBuell


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Posted 15 November 2009 - 02:04 PM

Great tutorial! Thanks! It is what I will have to do tomorrow when I receive an old unwanted tower computer from a relative.

Here is a youtube demo of an Ubuntu Wi-Fi installation that may also be helpful!

I find youtube.com a great resource for hardware and software tutorials.

#4 papajbear


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Posted 07 June 2011 - 06:19 PM

@ kbk, thank you for the clear explanation! I was wanting to install windows drivers for my MS MN710 USB wireless adapter and your clear and easy to read instructions worked perfectly for me.

@Rabbuk, thanks for the additional tip. I now have Chrome OS running on an old Dell Inspiron 3700, using my Microsoft MN710 USB wireless adapter!

Long live the old hardware, thanks to Linux distros!!!

#5 cat1092


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Posted 29 April 2015 - 12:45 AM

kbk, thanks for the Tutorial & Rabbuk for the assist! :thumbup2:


Hopefully this will be of some assistance to get some Linux users over the hurdle I was unable to clear in 2009. Being able to use a USB device provided through cell based ISP's to install the needed drivers for these to function. Today, hopefully in 4G mode, as 3G can be dirt slow. 


These ISP's has no Linux support (don't waste the time to call) & if one doesn't have a working solution in the 15 day timeframe, many are locked into 2 year contracts. Which is why I suggest, where possible, go with a 'Pay as You Go' plan, no page of surcharges, usually unlimited 3G usage, with a limited or capped amount of 4G & best yet, fixed pricing. 


Getting these cards to work on Linux devices is a great, inexpensive way to an ISP in regions where there are few (or overpriced) cable, landline or fiber optic choices. For those with one computer, an ideal choice for some, as well as for students. 



Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 

#6 synergy513


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Posted 05 March 2018 - 04:58 PM

I had an ordeal with a broadcom chipset that fell between the cracks of the generic bcm43xxx coverage..  i found this link after toiling a few days down the google rabbithole. This  guide worked for me.



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#7 Mike_Walsh


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Posted 06 March 2018 - 08:03 AM

I think the situation has changed somewhat since the OP first posted 12 years ago.


Many manufactures, even if they don't provide Linux drivers themselves, are now covered by the built-in kernel driver modules in Linux. The list just keeps growing.....and don't forget, nearly 95% of the present-day kernel is nothing but drivers now. It all boils down to the chipset in use; that's what governs the drivers required. Nothing to do with manufacturers or model numbers.


I don't know what the situation is for US subscribers on standard ISP plans.....but I agree with Cat1092 on one thing. The mobile internet is every bit as good a way to access the 'web as a home set-up with router & everything. With the way Android has taken off in recent years, ISPs have had no choice but to improve & upgrade mobile broadband.....and because so many of these use 'Pay-as-you-go', pricing tends to be fixed, and highly competitive. This is now their major customer base.....and none of the ISPs want to lose out to the competition.


A friend of mine who lives out in the middle of nowhere in the Lincolnshire Fens here in the UK has done just this for the last couple of years. He's recently moved, is now over 2 miles from the nearest landline exchange, and when he enquired about getting a land-line run out to him, was quoted over GBP £7,000 for the privilege.....because with him being the sole user, they couldn't offset the cost by getting anybody else using the line. So he said 'Sod it', and has used the mobile internet ever since.....and tells me that in the last 12 months especially, he now gets faster speeds like this than he possibly could with a fixed landline.


It's the way things are going nowadays.....and with the imminent rise of 5G on the horizon, looks set to get even better.



Mike.  :wink:

Edited by Mike_Walsh, 06 March 2018 - 08:41 PM.

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