Why are wireless problems so common?

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Why are wireless problems so common?

Postby bfskinnerpunk on Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:56 pm

Is there something inherent in the world of "wireless" that makes it so darn difficult to get "out of the box" success?

Well before I decided to try Linux, I noticed those Linux-people always seemed to mention: "I just installed [fill in the blank] and my wireless worked right out of the box!!!". Either that, or they would complain about a distro and wireless performance would always be a part of the discussion.

I have a question of my own that I posted here:
viewtopic.php?f=53&t=11329

I was trying pcLinuxOs, but wireless wouldn't work. I read a thread stating that Mint worked out of the box with wireless, and tried it.
Wireless ran fine when I was running it off a CD, but once installed: nothing.

To be honest, it did fine on an ethernet line.. but I somehow managed to screw that up so it stopped working, too!

Anyway, what makes it such a difficult trick to pull off?
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Re: Why are wireless problems so common?

Postby Fred on Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:22 pm

bfskinnerpunk.

In its' simplest form, the answer is, proprietary drivers and hardware specs. This means that it is a hit and miss operation for open source developers to try to support these hardware devices.

There are two major reasons for this situation. The wireless and graphics card markets are both very similar is this respect. Both markets are very competitive and manufactures are afraid that exposing their drivers and hardware specs will give their competitors an advantage.

Of at least equal importance is Microsoft. They have a tremendous amount of market clout. They have in the past and continue to put a lot of pressure on hardware manufactures not to support or aid Linux. Remember, not only are they a convicted monopolist with a long history of less than ethical business practices, but a simple addition on the Windows up-date site could put any given hardware manufacture out of business over night.

Now do you get it? :-)

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Re: Why are wireless problems so common?

Postby ed@Mint on Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:25 pm

I think what makes it difficult is tied to the large variety of different chips to handle wireless...
Each laptop manufacturer tend to makes things in his own way (not to mention the actual wireless chips manufacturers).
Add to this that very few chip manufacturers provide linux drivers, so the open source developper kinda have to blindfully guess how the drivers function,
and i guess you pretty much got your answer.

Concerning your actual problem, i won't be of any help since i don't use wifi yet, but i'm sure somebody helpful will show off soon enough :wink:
cheers
ed

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Re: Why are wireless problems so common?

Postby bfskinnerpunk on Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:55 pm

thanks for the responses.

I ran some of those queries... like, "iwconfig".... and these long strings of information appear with all kinds of details about my wireless system. It just seemed to me if the darn computer knew so much, why doesn't it just make it work! [I know, an annoyingly newbie statement!]

It makes sense, though, with the proprietary chips and drivers.
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Re: Why are wireless problems so common?

Postby Fred on Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:02 pm

bfskinnerpunk,

The best I can do to help you with wireless is to refer you to the wiki. I know so little about wireless problems that I would only confuse both of us more. Sorry

Fred
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