I wasted hours and hours on this topic, I used shared connections over a cross cable with the laptops of my friends to get into wireless networks, I reinstalled different distributions several times, for some time I used a quite old kernel and at home I had to connect a cable to the router which made me sitting quite close to it all the time.
The reason for all this is that at someday I realized that my WLAN was not working anymore. It was able to see the networks and all, but when I tried to register to one it always failed to get the IP. And even statical IPs didn’t work, the connection was not there.
Of course, I realized it when I needed it most. So I tried the things mentioned above: I installed Suse, I re-installed Fedora clean, I tried all tools available, did everything by hand with the command line, I set up a shared connection with another WLAN Laptop over a cross cable – and I had to use a cable at home sitting in the living room instead of having WLAN in my own room.
But eventually, I found the “reason”: the WLAN didn’t work with a new kernel (2.6.17), but it worked with an old one, 2.6.15. So I filled a bug report, and in the meantime booted the old kernel when I needed it.
However, with Fedora Core 6 I was not able to use such an old kernel anymore, and tried to submit even more information to that bug report. Also, I verified the kernel 188.8.131.52.18 problem by testing my laptop with different grml-versions. But no one was able to help me, unfortunately.
In the meantime I settled at a place where I had a 100 MBit connection by cable, so there was no need for WLAN. However, the problem itself was annoying me so I decided to buy a WLAN device to test and provide information whenever necessary. Well, it arrived some days ago, I tested a bit, and the WLAN didn’t work. Sad, but expected.
However, yesterday evening I downloaded the Opensuse Live DVD 10.2 which contains ipw2200 drivers, and gave it a try. And it just worked, out of the box. I was almost shocked because I didn’t expect that. When I rebooted in Fedora, again nothing worked. Honestly, I was thinking about wiping Fedora away for a Opensuse installation.
But to be sure I decided to spent another night at the problem (one of countless many nights…), searched the forums, tried tools, and so on. Nothing worked. Until I tried another one of the countless tools: wifi-radar. As expected, it failed to bring up my WLAN. But then just for fun I set the channel number to the appropriate value (normally that should be identified automatically) – and suddenly it worked. I did the same in
system-config-network – and it worked as well.
I was a bit confused, and therefore, just to verify the source of the problem, set the channel number to a different value – but it still worked. After that I tried different configurations, but every time it just worked, without any problem at all. And it still works.
That’s what I call magic.
So, now I’m writing this post over a WLAN connection, and I’m very happy that this is indeed possible. It would be nicer to be able to describe the problem and develop a real solution, but well, that’s what magic is about. It just works. Hopefully all the time.