Other Wireless Chipsets and NDISwrapper Driverloader

Many modern and readily available 802.11g-capable wireless chipsets, made by various parties such as Broadcom and Texas Instruments, are floating around. However, we advise the Linux user to avoid these as native Linux support is patchy (i.e., they don't have monitor- or master-mode-capable drivers) at the time of writing. About the only use for them is for normal enduser connectivity and, even then, only if you use them in conjunction with a third-party wrapper such as NDISwrapper or Linuxant Driverloader.

What NDISwrapper and Driverloader do is enable Linux endusers to use their WNIC's Windows drivers (every WNIC in production ships with Windows drivers unfortunately) in a Linux environment. You do this by "wrapping" NDISwrapper or Driverloader around the Windows driver so that it acts as an abstraction layer between the Windows driver, which doesn't know how to talk to the Linux OS, and the Linux OS itself. The "wrappers" then translate instructions between the OS and the Windows drivers, effectively enabling you to use a WNIC irregardless of whether an open-source driver is specifically designed for the WNIC or not.

Sounds great, right? There's a problem: no monitor or master mode, only the enduser managed and ad hoc modes. This is because the Windows drivers that the WNIC manufacturers issue for the majority of WNICs typically do not enable these two modes under Windows. Unless an independent Windows-based driver project is established to support these modes in a Windows-driver package, wrapper-users in Linux remain stuck with the relatively limited capabilities of the Windows drivers. Thus, to get the full chipset capability enabled by a native driver, we recommend getting any of the chipset/ driver combos discussed in the previous sections and ditch trying to use Windows drivers in a Linux environment.

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