Problem with using an Apple Airport Express

Leslie Katz lesliek at
Fri Nov 30 23:55:01 EST 2007

Thank you to both George and Dan for your replies.

@ George:

modinfo shows 5 parameters for ndiswrapper, including "if_name", as you 

The other 4 shown are: "proc_uid"; "proc_gid"; "debug"; and 

I don't know enough about these things to know whether using the last of 
those and setting the thing for, say, 10 seconds might solve the problem 
that Dan mentioned earlier thus: "Drivers need to buffer scan results 
for some time after a request."


The chipset in the card is a Marvell one.

As to the driver, I'm not sure whether you mean the Windows driver or 
ndiswrapper, so I'll recite what I can about both.

As to the Windows driver, I found on the cd that came with the wireless 
card a directory called "Windows XP". It had in it 5 files: "TRANS.TBL"; 
""; "WG511v2.INF"; "WG511v2.sys"; and "WG511v2XP.sys". I 
copied ALL of those files across to the laptop. I don't really know 
which of those files constitutes the Windows driver.

As to ndiswrapper, when I use "ndiswrapper -v", I get the output "utils 

As to the kernel version, it's 2.4.31.

Thank you again to both for your replies. If the above information 
suggests a course of further action, I'd be grateful to hear it.


Dan Williams wrote:
> On Fri, 2007-11-30 at 11:53 +1100, Leslie Katz wrote:
>> Many thanks for your reply Dan.
>> The wireless card in the laptop is a Netgear WG511v2. The distribution 
> Is this card based on prism54 fullmac chipset (it'll say "Made in
> Taiwan" on the card/box) or is it based on the prism54 softmac chipset
> (in which case it'll say "Made in China" on the card or box)?  Do you
> know what driver and what kernel version you're running?  These things
> might make a difference to how well the driver actually works in
> practice.
> Dan
>> on the laptop is Damn Small Linux v 4, chosen because of the laptop's 
>> age. To get the card to work, I use the Windows (XP? I'm sorry, I don't 
>> remember) driver supplied with the card and the version of ndiswrapper 
>> that comes as part of DSL v 4.
>> I understand what you say about leaving wpa_supplicant alone, because 
>> I've run it in debug mode and seen that it keeps rescanning. I hadn't 
>> realised, though, that if I didn't see the Airport Express at first, 
>> even though it was switched on, it might still show up in a later scan. 
>> I had assumed that the only way in which the first scan result would 
>> change later would be if an access point in range was switched on or off.
>> As to the driver's part in the process, obviously the driver does work 
>> at least sometimes. I seem to remember that there were various 
>> parameters one could set when loading the ndiswrapper module, but I've 
>> forgotten all about them, thinking with relief that, once I got the 
>> module to load, that was the end of that stage of the quest. Would going 
>> back to that stage and setting some parameters when loading ndiswrapper 
>> increase my chances of getting the card to connect to the Airport Express?
>> Thanks again,
>> Leslie
>> Dan Williams wrote:
>>> On Thu, 2007-11-29 at 17:54 +0900, lesliek at wrote:
>>>> I am trying to connect reliably to one of the above.
>>>> When I boot up and run "iwlist wlan0 scan", sometimes the Airport
>>>> Express is listed, sometimes not.
>>> That is a driver issue.  However, be aware that wireless is an
>>> inherently unreliable medium.  You're not guaranteed to get a scan
>>> result from the AP every time you scan.  So no amount of driver code is
>>> going to make a difference here.  It can certainly take a few scans to
>>> build up a complete list of APs in your area.  If you leave
>>> wpa_supplicant alone for a bit, it will do multiple scans and eventually
>>> find your AP.
>>> However, the driver can help the problem.  Drivers need to buffer  scan
>>> results for some time after a request.  The driver shouldn't do stupid
>>> things like clear the BSS list whenever somebody gets results (orinoco,
>>> I'm looking at you).  It should allow any number of callers to get
>>> results.  This may be what's happening to you.  Most of the offending
>>> drivers are older fullmac-based drivers.
>>> What client hardware are you using?
>>> Dan
>>>> If it's listed, I have no problem connecting to it using
>>>> wpa_suplicant.
>>>> If, however, it's not listed, I can't connect to it.
>>>> I asked a question about this once before and someone kindly suggested
>>>> that I modify my wpa_supplicant.conf file to include "scan_ssid=1" in
>>>> that part of the file dealing with the network.
>>>> However, that hasn't help me connect if the the Airport Express isn't
>>>> listed in my scan.
>>>> I'd be grateful for any other suggestions of things I might try to
>>>> connect to the Airport Express when it doesn't appear in a scan.
>>>> Thanks for reading this,
>>>> Leslie
>>>> ____ 
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