Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wireless problems on ipw2200 (Intel Centrino) on Linux

I am quite pleased that the gentoo-sources for the Linux kernel has been upgraded to use version 1.2.0 of ipw2200 driver. The ipw2200 driver is used for all(?) of Intel's built-in wireless laptop chipset. The last stable update, 1.1.4, was incorporated into the kernel that has been unreliable for me in connecting to certain access points, especially to the Apple Airport that I have in the office.

On Ethereal/Wireshark, I keep seeing 10-15 resend packets per packet sent to the Airport successively, and 10-15 duplicated packets returning from time to time, annoying the least, but almost unlikely to be a connectivity problem, given that the airport just sits 0.5m and is facing squarely my laptop.

Access to open wireless access points, however, seems to work without a hitch. Maybe is just problems with WEP encryption with version 1.1.4, or maybe it is just something else. Whatever it is, it seems like version 1.2.0 has taken it away.

The other good news about the kernel source version 2.6.22, is that it allows the 'promiscuous' mode of the wireless card to be available as a configurable option now. This means that WEP cracking tools like aircrack-ng will be able to listen, and use replay-injection attacks, something that was only available to older, established wireless chipsets like Atheros, Prism or Orinoco in the past.

Not that I find it fun cracking WEP networks. But having to know I can, makes it useful if I ever were ever in desperate need for Internet access in a non-open wireless network environment. I very much doubt so though.

With the Blackberry, and in the future, more iPhone-like Internet access becoming ubiquitous, it'll be even harder to find an (il-)legitimate reason to need to piggyback on other people's wireless network, because you won't need to!

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