Rt2x00 beta driver

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This page describes how you can make the new rt2x00 beta drivers work. This page does not describe the legacy rt2500, rt2400, rt2570, rt61 and rt73 drivers derived from the original Ralink drivers. The rt2x00 driver has a few advantages over the legacy drivers: It works with all the standard tools, it is in active development as part of the kernel, and it is SMP-safe.

A lot has changed since these drivers were out-of-tree, so it's worth trying the modules (now in the main kernel package) even if the drivers have not worked for you in the past.

For help with these drivers see the rt2x00 BETA Testing section of the rt2x00 forums.

Installing the driver

The rt2x00 drivers are now part of the mainline kernel. One need only load the relevant module:

modprobe rt2400pci
modprobe rt2500pci
modprobe rt2500usb
modprobe rt61pci
modprobe rt73usb

The last two require a firmware file:

pacman -S rt2x00-rt71w-fw
pacman -S rt2x00-rt61-fw

Using the driver

Setting the interface up

If you have module autoloading enabled, the drivers should be loaded automatically when you boot your machine or insert the device. If this doesn't work or autoloading is disabled, load the modules manually:

modprobe 80211
modprobe rc80211_simple
modprobe $driver

where $driver is one of the following: rt2500pci, rt2400pci, rt2500usb or rt61pci.

When the driver is loaded, you will have two interfaces, wmaster0 and wlan0.

Using the driver

In the case of these drivers, the order in which you configure them is important.

ifconfig wlan0 up
iwlist wlan0 scan
iwconfig wlan0 essid myessid
iwconfig wlan0 ap mybssid 

Is the preferred, and most likely to work order of configuring the device. From there you can use ifconfig or dhcpcd to get an IP, and wep or wpa if needed.

Extra utils for wep/wpa


rt2x00 should work fine with the wpa_supplicant wext driver. It is not necessary to patch it any more.

Using wpa_supplicant

For example, to use wpa_supplicant, try

/usr/sbin/wpa_supplicant -wB -Dwext -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

Note that wpa_supplicant didn't work with hidden essid in my tests.

// TODO: someone please confirm that wpa_supplicant also successfully associates to open or wep-encrypted networks, I only tried WPA-PSK and read success reports about WPA-EAP

Using WEP

WEP should work with the Wireless Extensions used by iwconfig.

// TODO: Some please confirm that this works

Configuring the driver for automatic startup on booting

RT2400 (rt2400pci)

The following is known to work for the cvs snapshot available here with the date 23-Dec-2006.

To set the driver up for automatically connecting while the computer is booting, type the following in /etc/rc.conf

wlan0="wlan0 netmask broadcast"
INTERFACES=(lo !eth0 wlan0)

And the following in /etc/rc.local

iwconfig wlan0 channel 10
iwconfig wlan0 essid linksys
iwconfig wlan0 ap 00:0c:41:a8:87:8e <-- Put your access point's bssid here