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Wifi Problems Solved: The culprit: Wacky Default Values

I am happy to report having solved my linux wireless problems (for now). I might write up a short tutorial about troubleshooting linux wifi (by now I’m practically the expert). The solution was dumb and ridiculously hard to figure out. I needed to hardcode the device configuration so that the channel corresponded to the channel of my LAN.  The default values in Fedora Core 5’s are absolutely ludicrous. I don’t know if the firmware is supposed to provide some default values or if the network configuration tool just is ludicrous.

I’m sorry to say that this problem had really gotten me stuck. I gave myself one more session to figure it out, or else I would buy a separate wireless card.  Luckily blind luck helped me.

Things I have learned from this experience:

  1. When you start talking specific hardware, the number of people who can help you becomes very small.
  2. Actually, I think the Network Manager tool is nifty. It seemed to have a lot of insight into the wifi networks around me, and it provided many visual cues for what was going on.
  3. I had a stupid error message that apparently nobody else had gotten. That should have led me to believe that the problem was a lot dumber than I initially thought.
  4. Although here yum/fedora wasn’t really to blame, I see the problems inherent in maintaining a package management system like Yum. When you update lots of things at once, it’s not always clear what is actually causing the problem.

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