August 17, 2006

Installing ndiswrapper on Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake Server

ubuntu.pngWhy in the world would you want to have a wireless card on a server? Here's the situation: It's really cold in my basement, both in the winter and the summer. The perfect place to place stash a server. Now I don't want to run ethernet all the way down there from the router on the second floor, and wireless reception is good. This server is just for my personal use, so the speed limitations of wireless are fine. Below are the instructions I followed to get things up and running.

The first step was to get Ubuntu 6.06 server installed. I suggest downloading the .iso and burning it to a bootable CD. Installation is very straight forward, and there are plenty of tutorials available.

Next we'll require another computer with a web browser. You'll need to go find a link to the ndiswrapper source. The ndiswrapper source is available at SourceForge HERE. Go to the site and navigate to a close mirror where you can actually download the .tar.gz and write down the link. For example I used:

Now you'll need a good old hard wired ethernet connection to the server at first to download the necessary items. At the command line, follow these steps:

First we'll need build framework installed
user@ubuntu:~$ sudo apt-get install build-essential

Find out what version of the kernel you are running
user@ubuntu:~$ uname -a

Substitute the numbers you saw from the command above into the next command to install the linux headers
user@ubuntu:~$ sudo apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.15-23-server

Go to a temp directory
user@ubuntu:~$ cd /tmp

Then download the source
user@ubuntu:~$ wget

Unzip the archive
user@ubuntu:~$ tar -xvf ndiswrapper-1.23.tar.gz

Enter that directory
user@ubuntu:~$ cd ndiswrapper-1.23

Now build the source
user@ubuntu:~$ sudo make
user@ubuntu:~$ sudo make install

Now mount the cdrom disc you have with the windows drivers on it
user@ubuntu:~$ sudo mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom

Navigate to the directory that contains the drivers...
And copy the .inf and .sys files to your hard drive
user@ubuntu:~$ sudo cp * /root

Install the driver into ndiswrapper
user@ubuntu:~$ sudo ndiswrapper -i /root/filename.inf

Now check that the operation was successfull
user@ubuntu:~$ ndiswrapper -l

Write the configuration for modprobe
user@ubuntu:~$ ndiswrapper -m

And insert the ndiswrapper module
user@ubuntu:~$ modprobe ndiswrapper

That should do it. Check to see if your newly wireless interface exists
user@ubuntu:~$ iwconfig

Posted by stoltenow at August 17, 2006 1:48 AM


when i try to install driver .inf i get an error like "invalid driver". i tried to remove and reinstall but it still no-working..
can you help me?

Posted by: nimo at March 10, 2007 1:31 PM

That was a lucid, well-thought-out,and comprehensive piece of instruction-ware. And, most importantly, it works!
I'm a Linux newbie (DOS/Windows/Amiga for over 25 years and know a few basic Unix commands, however).
I got the following up and running on Ubuntu Dapper Drake 6.06 LTS, following your guidelines;
A Belkin Wireless G Desktop Card FSD7000 version 5100 which uses Atheros chipset (China).
Plucked the drivers, .inf and .sys files from the included CD.
Did everything work as you described? Well, kinda, sorta. I did run into what seemed like a problem when I reached the following step:
Write the configuration for modprobe
user@ubuntu:~$ ndiswrapper -m
This step yielded the following message:
'Permission denied'
I tried it again, with 'sudo' in front of your string, but got back:
'Can not add alias blah blah blah line 714'

Not knowing where to go from there, I tried your next instruction, 'modprobe ndiswrapper' and got nothing back. No error message, no apparent response. Zippo.

Checking System->Administration->Networking however, rewarded me with an icon showing my wireless connection as ath0 and listing it as active!
Prior to this, there was, of course, no icon at all denoting my wireless card.
I then proceeded to click the configure option for this card, added my network name, the key type as ASCII and the WEP key (which is the same as passphrase for those using a Linksys router).
Left the Connection Setting configuration as DHCP.
Trying to make an Internet connetion with Firefox, However, still got me nothing.
Soooo...using iwconfig from the terminal, I typed in this string:
iwconfig ath0 essid my_networks_name
Viola! Internet access, email access, ping, tracrt, all accounted for!
Last test:
Shut down Ubuntu and powered off my machine. Took a shower, came back and powered back up.
All present and accounted for. Wireless all operational. Can see my networked drives on my other windows machine just as I did when I was wired. So, I do not know what the deal was with the 'ndiswrapper -n' command but...............
Thank you again.

Posted by: Omicron at October 26, 2006 5:17 PM

Perhaps more usefull then checking your installation with iwconfig is using "iwlist wlan0 ap". That will give you a list of access points near by, and prove to you that the wireless card works.

Posted by: Pete at September 12, 2006 3:02 AM

That worked a treat.
1. I am a novice
2. got desktop not server (2.6.15-23-386)
It still all worked.

Thanks heaps.
Now, to get the thing to activate. ndiswrapper sees it when it is connected but the thing won't light up if you know what I mean.

Posted by: me at September 11, 2006 2:11 PM

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