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Installing Mint on older portables: wifi in particular

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:46 am
by crlMIDI
After a year or two of low activity, I'm returning, with local associations, to the question of recycling computers for people who can't afford to buy new ones. Nowadays, the machines are usually portables, which present specific difficulties, and the original OS is either XP or (more frequently now) V*sta.

Because I like it, I've just installed LM 19 xfce on an Acer 5310 (Celeron M). All went well except for the recurrent difficulty of getting the on-board Broadcom wifi card to work - it's a BCM4311. There is even more help from Mint and Ubuntu sources than I found a couple of years ago, but it's all geek stuff that even a fairly experienced amateur like me should not need to know. As usual I ended up changing more than one thing at a time so won't discuss that, but when I shut down the computer and plugged in an old Belkin N300 adapter both the Belkin and the internal card sprang to life!

Belkin and Netgear don't seem to commit themselves regarding compatibility with Linux OS. I don't want to go onto the networking forum, but would just like to ask whether the Mint team could provide some general advice about which inexpensive dongles might work, and on how to disable the internal wifi card if necessary. I'm aware that this concerns mainly old computers, but as that's how many people start with Linux it's one of the seemingly insoluble things that might frighten them away. Also, as I said at the start, some people do need these computers.

Finally, I was really pleased to find the latest versions of Arduino in the software repository - since this is a popular starting point for getting young people into electronics and computing it's rather important that it works first time and with no hassle.

Re: Installing Mint on older portables: wifi in particular

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:37 am
by deepakdeshp
https://www.amazon.in/Terabyte-500Mbps- ... N48G5DSEKC
Please see questions in which it is certified to work on Mint.

Re: Installing Mint on older portables: wifi in particular

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:42 am
by Pierre
so, if you can't get that on-board Broadcom wifi card to work,
- then use one of those WiFi adapters, instead.
8)

Re: Installing Mint on older portables: wifi in particular

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:59 am
by puddleglum
I also have been re-purposing people's old Vista machines (only desktops) for the Elderly and have found this site helpful:

https://www.wirelesshack.org/top-linux- ... pters.html

Hope that helps. My biggest problems these days is with the old integrated NVIDIA graphics and the newer kernels so watch out for that. If you are talking XP/Vista era graphics cards a lot of those are no longer supported by the NVIDIA proprietary drivers and not all of them work well with nouveau.

Re: Installing Mint on older portables: wifi in particular

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:29 pm
by puddleglum
You will probably have better luck buying your wifi devices from a dedicated linux company like ThinkPenguin: https://www.thinkpenguin.com/catalog/wi ... g-gnulinux

Re: Installing Mint on older portables: wifi in particular

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:41 pm
by JeremyB
You could always remove the internal wifi and not worry about it and see https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2397914 about compatible USB wifi devices

Re: Installing Mint on older portables: wifi in particular

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:38 pm
by Portreve
Not sure about the need for all the complexity above.

Look for dongles which use Atheros chip sets. They are supported in GNU+Linux.

Re: Installing Mint on older portables: wifi in particular

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:06 pm
by JeremyB
Portreve wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:38 pm
Not sure about the need for all the complexity above.

Look for dongles which use Atheros chip sets. They are supported in GNU+Linux.
Yes but I think Atheros USB are just 2.4GHz but they do work