Lower cost wifi solutions for Solaris x86

Airlink 101 - AWLC 4130 and AWLC3026

I picked up a few cheapy Airlink 101 AWLC 4130 cards recently at Fry's on sale. Cardbus cards for laptops with a PCMCIA slot. They were only $14 each, limit 2 per person. Unfortunately a 1 day sale only.

But these were plug and play with Solaris Nevada. The AWLC4130 is advertised as a "Super G" with Atheros chipset. And indeed, when we plug it in, the PCI DevID confirms it's a AR 5212/5213 series chipset, which has been supported by the Solaris 'ath' driver for quite a while.

I also decided to look in my spare parts bin and pull out some older AWLC3026 pc cards. These are regular 802.11G. Back about a year ago, I picked them up for $9 ea at Fry's as well. But there was no driver for the Marvell/Libertas chipset. But on a whim, I decided to check the OpenSolaris.ORG website and found the 'malo' driver.

It's currently provided as a source distribution only, but it compiled just great, and after just a couple of issues with rebooting correctly a couple of times, I was able to get the driver to load and function quite well and fairly stably.

Most laptops do come with WiFi today, but the chipset may not have any drivers yet, or use an NDIS wrapper type driver that isn't stable. I'm using the AWLC4130 now on my el cheapo Toshiba M115 laptop with still unsupported Atheros 5006 mini-pcie WiFi. Not a bad deal for just $14, or even better, $9 for the regular G version AWLC3026.

I know Airlink 101 makes quite a few regular PCI adapters that turn workstations into wifi workstations. I'm waiting for a sale now to get a few to find out their chipset as well. I've been searching for some low cost cards to refurbish cheap PCs to give away to needy families with kids attending my elementary school who don't have broadband today but would want to leverage free city wide wireless that is now available in our neighbourhood.

Comments:

> . . . Airlink 101 AWLC 4130

Thanks a whole lot for sharing this info. I have been looking for something like this (Cardbus WiFi cards for laptops with a PCMCIA slot) for a while. As you astutely mentioned, ndiswrapper is a little bit not too stable. Plus, it is not trivial to install it on Solaris.

I live in Hawaii, & we don't have Fry's. Do you know any place where I can get one at reasonable price? Thanks again for this little but, in actuality, extremely valuable info.

Posted by W. Wayne Liauh on October 13, 2007 at 06:25 AM PDT #

Not sure what the shipping costs are to Hawaii, but sometimes, Outpost.COM has similar sales (aka Frys.com) and those sales last for a few weeks rather than 1 day. But web prices aren't always matched to store prices.

Posted by PotstickerGuru on October 13, 2007 at 06:36 AM PDT #

Hi PotstickerGuru,

"Not sure what the shipping costs are to Hawaii, but sometimes, Outpost.COM has similar sales (aka Frys.com) and those sales last for a few weeks rather than 1 day. But web prices aren't always matched to store prices."

I forgot to check on the email notification box and it took me a while to get back to this blog.

I checked Outpost.com, the "Airlink AWLC4130 Super-G 108Mbps Wireless-G Cardbus / PC-Card Adapter for Notebooks" costs $29.99 plus 19.59 for shipping. I will be ordering one. Thanks for the info.

Posted by W. Wayne Liauh on October 19, 2007 at 02:37 PM PDT #

Hi Jim,

Didn't realize that you are PotstickerGuru. :-)

Posted by W. Wayne Liauh on October 19, 2007 at 02:40 PM PDT #

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