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Wireless Networking with Linux using Proxim Symphony Products

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 01-01-2001

“If you haven’t heard about wireless networking, please allow me to introduce you to this new technolgy. If you are the proud owner of a notebook computer, or someone who wants to network your house without wires then this article if for you. Let’s continue!

Proxim’s Technology
Fast, Seamless Networking without Wires The Symphony Cordless Networking Suite delivers simple, hassle-free networking for your laptops and desktops without wires. Utilizing proven wireless technology, Symphony creates a cordless 1.6 Mbps Ethernet local area network (LAN) among all your Windows 95 and Windows 98 computers. Now that you?ve got a second (or third or fourth) computer, there is no need to buy additional printers or invest in multiple Internet Service Provider accounts. And forget sharing files with floppies. Cordless networking with Symphony allows you to share all these resources effortlessly. And at 1.6 Mbps, Symphony is faster than other home and small office wireless networking solutions.

What you need or need to know:
1. A loving wife who actually reads your web page and adheres very closely to your Christmas wish list.
2. A Linux server/firewall.
3. Several hundred dollars if you don’t have the loving wife.
4. Proxim’s Symphony PCI Wireless adapter, and the Symphony PC Card (for the notebook).
5. Knowledge of tcpip networking, route tables, kernel compiles, and time.
6. A laptop preferably running Windows for first installtion.

Windows Installation
I am going to assume that you can put a cd into a cdrom drive and follow instructions for a windows setup. After you get your PCCARD installed you will need to setup basic windows networking to point to your new proxim card. Under the control-panel click on network and then select the TCPIP->Symphony PC Card and click on properties. Set your settings to the following:

 IP Address: IP address: Subnet Mask: Gateway: Add as a new gateway DNS Configuration: Enable DNS Enter a Host name and your Domain name Enter one or more IP addresses of your DNS server(s) Add Domain Suffix Search Orders as desired 

Linux Installation
As with all hardware based solutions we must start with obtaining the driver. The Symphony driver is used as an installable module, so you must have module support compiled into your kernel.

Place the downloaded file in your favorite directory, I prefer /usr/src/, and untar it with the following command:

tar xvfz rl2_driver.tgz

Note: All of the notes for the installation process as outlined in the documents are for Red Hat. This outline covers setup for a Debian Installation.

After you unzip the download run ./Configure and I answered the following questions as follows:

 Module location? /lib/modules/2.2.17/net Executables? /usr/bin Man pages? /usr/man System header files? /usr/src/linux/include CardType default []: 5 PC Card support? []: n 

Note: I ran into several problems during the compile and installation process. My problem was that even if I got the module to compile, it wouldn’t insert into the kernel. It would error with unresolved symbols.

My Fix
1. I ran dselect and grabbed the kernel-source-2.2.17 package and kernel-headers-2.2.17 package.
2. Next, I had to move the /usr/src/kernel-headers-2.2.17/include directory to /usr/src/linux/ directory.
3. Edit the config.mk file and set CONFIG_MODVERSIONS=n ( I don’t know if I needed the header files after doing this but I spent several hours trying to get the module to compile and this is one of the last things that I did so it worked, let me know if your mileage varies).

Now you are ready to run “make modules ; make modules_install” (be sure to be root). If everything compiled correctly we are probably ok. Next simply “insmod rlmod” and see if it loads without any errors. If you do get errors at this point, join the mailling list and let everyone know what is going on. Run “lsmod” and see if you see the rlmod in the list, if you do more than likely you are ok.

Setting up the card as an Interface
I currently have 2 PCI network cards in my machine so this will make the third interface. I also am using the network settings for my internal network. Here are the commands I used:

ifconfig eth2 broadcast netmask

Setup your security id for your proxim card. You will get the security id from doing your windows installation on your notebook, be sure you have done that at this point.

proxcfg dev eth2 secid {YourValueFromAbove}

The secid only needs to be setup once since it is stored in your card nvram.

Setup your route for the new interface:

route add -net netmask dev eth2

One last thing remains and that is to setup the Symphony card as master with the following command:

There is one more configuration command that sets the Symphony card mode to “master” and sets its name. Type the following, using an appropriate name for your server:

proxcfg dev eth2 msta name server1

We should be able to see our new interface and settings by issuing “ifconfig” and “route”.

Getting to the Internet
The whole purpose of this installation is to get our laptop on the internet and our internal network wirelessly. One of the last things we have to do is setup our firewall rules and interfaces. I am currently using Netmasq by Carl Miller as a firewall package for Linux and all we need to do is edit the /etc/netmasq/netmasq.conf file and add our new eth2 interface to the config file and restart Netmasq with “netmasq -n”. At this point we should be able to go to our notebook and start crusing the net, see our local shares through Network Neighborhood and so on. If you are using ipchains or ipmasqadm your mileage will vary on your firewall settings, please refer to the manuals and HOWTO’s located on the internet for Linux Firewalls.

An easier way
There is of course an easier way to do all of this and that is spend the $400.00 and buy the Sympony Ethernet Bridge. The Ethernet Bridge simply plugs into your ethernet hub and will accomplish the same thing as this setup. However, using the Linux OS we are easily able to save this money and just buy the PCI Symphony card.

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