How to: Scan for wireless hot-spots

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How to: Scan for wireless hot-spots

Postby JohnH on Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:23 am

G'day interested people,

I have had a problem. How was I to get onto a wireless network when away from home allowing me to surf the net? I needed to take my laptop on vacation with me for work related purposes and have access to the internet to do the things that were required. A growing number of hotels, holiday apartments and even MacDonalds offer wireless host-spots, at a price. (No matter, the company was paying the connection bill). These hot-spots allow you to log on to the internet with your laptop by scanning for active wireless networks.

Mint would not do this in a simple and straight forward way. I wanted something that would scan for all available networks and provide me with a list from which to choose the internet connection that was going to work for me (i.e. the one with the account paid).

I went into Synaptic and came up with Wifi-radar package. I installed this and, ran it as root. It scanned and listed all the detectable wireless hot-spots within range. By highlighting my preferred network on the list, I pressed the "connect" button on the Wifi-radar screen and the connection was made.

Once connected, I opened Firefox and was sent to the login page of the network provider.

I hope this might help beginners looking for a simple way to get onto hot-spot wireless networks, when away from home.

Regards
John
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Postby AlsaPhil on Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:38 am

Hi John,

What release of mint are you running?
What about Applet Networkmanager? :?:
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Postby JohnH on Thu Jan 11, 2007 6:15 pm

The Network thingy-bob is not intuitive and assumes a few too many things. I sat in McCafe for an hour trying to get it to pick up on the hot-spot there. I did not know what to do so I gave up and went to my Windows partition. (Lucky it is a new laptop since I wiped windows on my old one). In Windows I simply clicked on "search available networks" and it found (amongst other) the network I wanted. I need something simple like that for my humble way of working.

Wifi-radar does that; it works. Simple and logical.

Regards
John
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Postby manishk on Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:44 am

The recent version of Mint has Network Manager pre-installed. Since you had trouble with scanning Wi-Fi hotspots I guess you are still running Barbara.

In Network Manager you dont even need to ask it to scan the networks; it does so, automatically!! I have never tried Wi-Fi radar, so cannot tell you which of these is more user-friendly.
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Postby trsnrtr on Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:30 pm

I have a fresh (today) install of Bea and the wireless network manager was automatically installed on the top panel. It showed two networks and I chose the one I wanted. After reboot, it automatically logged on to the one I previously picked. Clicking on the icon gave me a list of available networks. Works pretty well for me.

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Postby justo on Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:58 am

I added KWIFI manager and it works OK.It gives a list of those available.Those that are locked and you can choose which one you want.But I may look at the radar one to see if it is better.
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Postby Frijolie on Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:32 am

just use the Gnome network-manager that's installed by default in Bia and the soon-to-be Bianca.It's very easy to connect to various wifi hot-spots and will show you the different available wireless networks when in range. It works for me without any problems
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Postby JohnH on Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:33 am

With respect,

My problem was not getting the computer to connect to wireless at home. No worries there, but on the road; away from home on a new network. I needed to hook onto a particular hotspot while on holidays. It did NOT do this under network manager. It did not report signals in range; it only was every looking for my home service.

My neighbour has wireless and I cannot see their signal. With Wifi Radar I can (not that I was wanting to pinch a down load a their expense). I say this to make my point clearer. I use my laptop away from home and I need a way to find available networks such as at hotels. My installation under Bea does not do this.

Regards
John
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Postby JohnH on Sun Feb 18, 2007 4:42 am

Further clarification,

My install of BEA did see my wireless setup and it worked out of the box (thanks Ubuntu and Clem).

It does work first time. But if I click on the panel icon I do not get a list of available signals, no matter what I do. If there is some hidden trick, I don't know what to do. I click everything that looks vaguely related but to no avail.

The same applies to my Aopen laptop running Ubuntu 6.10 (upgrading to Mint once the dust settles on Bianca). I am running a HP Laptop Pavillion dv2000. It has a HP USB wireless setup.

Its that simple; network manager works from the install but does not list available networks AFTER one is connected and used successfully (I cannot get it do it and I am an idiot).

Regards
John
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Postby mfab on Sat Feb 24, 2007 7:23 am

i fully agree with JohnH,

the panel applet (i believe it is gnome-network-manager) is just too stupid.

Imagine when you turn on your PC with wireless turned off. No networks are found.
Then you turn on your wireless to search for networks and guess what happens?! - Nothing...

So how do you get to find the network as there is no "refresh" button in the applet?!

You have to click on "Connect to other wireless Network" and type in some crap like "findmesomething". So it is looking for this network which obviously can't be found, but nevertheless that is the way you get the network-manager to search for other networks as well.

I really do believe that this is no good way to search for networks and thus i will try the wifi-radar. Perhaps there could be made some improvements to the network-manager (in fact all it misses is a "refresh" button) :?
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Postby JohnH on Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:02 am

Further to this issue.

I just did a clean install of Bianca. Yes network manager did find local signals and listed them. I connected to my home network and all was well.

Once connected, I could not make a choice of other networks again.

In Australia MacDonalds and Starbucks have wireless services for people who need to connect away from home. Gnome network manager could not do this (at least in an obvious way). I had to use windows, which I didn't want to do for security reasons.

Later I down loaded Wifi Radar and used it from a motel while I was away from home.It found the hotel wireless and allowed me to connect. Not so newtork manager.

I believe the KDE Wireless Assistant is pretty good too.

Regards
John
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Postby tipaul on Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:57 am

I have a Dell Inspiron 5150 with Dell Truemobile 1300 wireless card...
(BCM4306/BCM2050 chipset)

I never got freshly installed Mint to work with my card...
Even with ndiswrapper correctly working with my driver...

Installed Wifi-radar and now i'm in business... !! :)

The only problem i've got is to auto-connect to my network... Always need to push the connect button in Wifi-Radar... :(
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Postby JohnH on Sat May 12, 2007 5:07 am

Further to this topic:

I recently had reason to reinstall Bianca including the Home partition. The network manager now works as it should.

Why this is so is beyond my understanding but is none-the-less true.

Cheers
John
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Postby mrreality13 on Wed Jul 18, 2007 4:54 pm

You can also try a dual boot with backtrack

http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=backtrack
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