Eventually, even my infinite patience is over. My laptop has a Centrino chipset and comes with the Intel Pro Wireless 2200 (ipw2200) network adapter. Some months ago I installed Fedora Core 4 and had quite a troubled time in making the card work. At the first kernel update the wifi ceased to work. Last week it was the third kernel update since when everything worked fine and the wifi was still dead.
I decided that there’s no sense in keeping using old kernel and it was time to fix the issue once for all.
First some history.
After the installation of Fedora Core 4 (FC4) you find that there no way how hard you try, your ipw2200 is not going to work. That’s odd – despite that kernel modules are available and the network wizard even succeeds (sometimes) in finding and configuring the adapter, root is unable to ‘ifup’ the wifi.
Searching around the internet you find that FC4 supports ipw2200, but the firmware for this device is not included in the distribution. They could have saved me some time (and some headaches) by stating somewhere, during the installation, that I had to complete the setup manually.
The firmware is a set of files (available here) that you have to download (uncompressed) and store in the ‘/lib/firmware’ directory.
After this operation the network wizard reliably finds and configures the adapter. Well the wizard is quite rough since it is not able to show a list of wi-fi network you can connect to, but this is a minor annoyance (at least if you know the SSID of the network).
As I said, my joy quit after the first kernel update. Well it could be a kernel problem I said to myself and stuck with the old kernel while waiting for the next update. Three kernel updates later still with a useless wi-fi device I decided that something had to be done.
The first doubt I had was that there was something in the firmware directory that was linked to some specific kernel directory. ‘find’ing in /etc, /lib, /lib/firmware, /boot yield no results.
Time for internet again.
The answer came quite quickly. The firmware on the site had been updated twice. I had v2.2 and version 3.0 was available. I tried first the latest version (3.0) but got no results. Of course the right one is the last you try. So version 2.4 proved to be fine with the latest kernel (kernel-2.6.15-1.1833).
The evening wasn’t over yet, so I gave another try to the Toshiba_acpi module. My laptop is a Toshiba. Linux kernel has specific acpi extensions to access the acpi functions of the Toshiba computer. Despite having the proper kernel module I got an error while attempting to load the module.
Googling for the obvious keywords I arrived at the toshiba acpi driver site where it is clearly stated that not all Toshiba laptops are supported and that the error I got was an indication that my system wasn’t supported.