Realtek 8187B wireless card - hardware not detected

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Realtek 8187B wireless card - hardware not detected

Postby luapyeltrah » 2008-01-15 09:30

hi - I've been setting up debian lenny (2.6.22-3-amd64) on a Toshiba satellite A205-S5804 - going well for the most part except the system will not detect the wireless card, which is based on the Realtek 8187B chipset. If I do ifconfig, the only reported device is my ethernet interface (which is working just fine). If I do lspci, none of the entries is a wireless card. If I download the Realtek 8185 linux drivers from the manufacturer's website, I'm able to successfully compile the kernel modules, but when I try to load them, the modules get installed, but "no device is found". I've tried using ndiswrapper with several 8187 drivers, which get loaded fine, but no device is detected.

I realized after installing the OS (and doing a bunch of other installs/configs!) that the wireless on/off switch was in the OFF position, and I set it to ON and rebooted with no success. I'm not sure if having the wireless set to OFF is an issue during hardware detction at setup time.

Anyway, I suspect I may have to do some sort of kernel recompile, but would anyone have a suggestion on how to get my system to detect the wireless card?

Paul
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Postby hkoster1 » 2008-01-15 16:33

There's a Linux driver rtl8187.ko included in the 2.6.23 kernel in Sid. If you don't want to upgrade your kernel, then rtl-wifi.sourceforge.net has a source package from which you can compile the kernel module yourself; it will work together with the ieee80211 modules that are already included in the 2.6.22 kernel. The 8185 sources that you obtained from RealTek don't apply; and the older 8187 sources from RealTek are now outdated.

Edit: That's not to say that the rtl8187 module is perfect: on my NetGear111v2 the light doesn't work, but hey I can live with that. :wink:
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Postby luapyeltrah » 2008-01-15 22:55

Thanks for the info - I hadn't come across that site before. I gave it a shot (following the site instructions) and was able to do everything from compiling the driver and loading it into the kernel. No error messages via dmesg. However, I still cannot find a wlan0 - essentially it looks like the driver isn't finding the device.

I did some more sleuthing and was actually able to figure out that the wireless card is a USB device. If I do lsusb, I can find the wireless card listed. If I run lshw, here is a snippet of the output - the wireless card is apparently unclaimed (see the end of the snippet)... Not sure what to do next..

*-usb:6
description: USB Controller
product: 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB2 EHCI #1
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 1d.7
bus info: pci@0000:00:1d.7
version: 03
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm debug ehci bus_master cap_list
configuration: driver=ehci_hcd latency=0 module=ehci_hcd
*-usbhost
product: EHCI Host Controller
vendor: Linux 2.6.22-3-amd64 ehci_hcd
physical id: 1
bus info: usb@2
logical name: usb2
version: 2.06
capabilities: usb-2.00
configuration: maxpower=0mA slots=6 speed=480.0MB/s
*-usb UNCLAIMED
description: Generic USB device
product: RTL8187B_WLAN_Adapter
vendor: Manufacturer_Realtek
physical id: 6
bus info: usb@2:6
version: 2.00
serial: 00e04c000001
capabilities: usb-2.00
configuration: maxpower=500mA speed=480.0MB/s
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Postby hkoster1 » 2008-01-16 09:00

Did you find the rtl8187b-driver source code modified by Cuervo? See http://www.datanorth.net/~cuervo/rtl8187b/.

There's a potential problem: it also compiles ieee80211 modules, which are already in your 2.6.22 kernel. You probably should try them both... If you're running a 2.6.23 kernel, then you should blacklist the included rtl8187 module.
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Postby luapyeltrah » 2008-01-16 19:34

great - that did the trick - wireless card is now being detected. I guess some router ID code got changed on the card and the software wasn't updated? But thanks for helping me get this figured out.
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Postby hkoster1 » 2008-01-17 16:24

luapyeltrah wrote:...I guess some router ID code got changed on the card and the software wasn't updated?...
Well, not quite, because in that case you should be able to use the regular rtl8187 driver (in the 2.6.23 kernel) or the compiled r8187 driver from the rtl-wifi sources for the 2.6.22 kernel, and then -- after inserting the adapter -- adjust for the new "8197" ID simply with
Code: Select all
# echo -n "0x0bda 0x8197" > /sys/bus/usb/drivers/rtl8187/new_id

But that's not the way it works, since (apparently) also the radio (RF) part in the 8187B chipset has changed. So, more changes to the rtl8187 driver are needed -- may be an update to the 2.6.23 sources or else in the 2.6.24 sources.
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