Sonntag, 6. Januar 2008

Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) Live CD Intel Pro/Wireless 2200 Acer Travelmate 292 radio off problem

Hi everybody,

Yesterday a friend of mine asked me if I could look over his problems with the
new Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon Live CD (7.10) release regarding the not working
Intel Pro/Wireless 2200 wlan card.
His laptop is an Acer Travelmate 292 and I think it is a notebook specific problem but after I saw that a lot of other people with other laptop brands have the same problems I think this could be interesting for those too.

After booting the Ubuntu live cd could detect and install the modules for this wlan network adapter correctly
and everything under "dmesg | grep ipw2200 " looked fine but I couldn't see any access points although we were in the near of one.

When I looked under "iwlist scan" I saw an interesting
eth1 radio off ESSID:""

So what did this meant? After searching mainly english sites I became aware that this was an common problem without any real solution.
But then I found the solution under the second german hit on google click
so I will explain it in english that hopefully a lot of people can profit from it.

"radio" is the status of your laptops' wireless radio switches, a lot of laptops have those hardware switches to power the wlan card on / off manually. This Acer Laptop model we worked one had an hardware switch on the left side but neither on nor off position changed the situation so it isn't supported it by default.

In the case of the Intel Pro/Wireless 2200 we have a hardware switch which isn't supported by the Live CD's kernel automatically although the correct driver module "ipw2200" was loaded.

So what we have to do is to trigger the card on by software instead of really triggering on by hardware. This is done with the kernel module "Acer Hotkeys" (acerhk kernel module) which means this module can trigger the wlans hardware state on or off.

To do this there is this site CLICK where you can get special parameter settings for the acerhk module for a lot of different acer laptop models:

for our acer model (Travelmate 292) it is :

modprobe acerhk force_series=290 usedritek=1 verbose=1   (loads the kernel module)
echo 1 > /proc/driver/acerhk/wirelessled (powers the hardware really on)

there are a lot of other laptop brands on that site too: Acer,Asus,BenQ,Dell, HP,Samsung, Sony so have a look.

So after doing this "iwlist scan" showed all near access points correctly and could be connected too.

So with this little fix you have a real good Live CD linux with full wlan support on Acer Travelmate 292.

Loading the acerhk (Acer Hotkey) kernel module as shown above is only needed
if you power off your laptop so if you just reboot while the lapton is on you have not to make this again unless you power it manually off with:
echo 0 > /proc/driver/acerhk/wirelessled (switches it on)

have phun

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