[ALUG] usb wireless card for visitors

Wayne Stallwood ALUGlist at digimatic.co.uk
Mon Jun 18 18:35:29 BST 2007

On Mon, 2007-06-18 at 16:38 +0100, Rob Grant wrote:
> i) suggestions for a usb wireless card that should plug and play with Linux,
> Macs and Windows. Physical robustness probably a help too.
> ii) or is this whole idea a bad one?

It is going to be a difficult search I am afraid, naturally you want to
go the USB route rather than PCMCIA because not all new laptops have

Of those that work a lot require a firmware image download (which is
going to be difficult to do before you get the link up) and/or only work
for specific hardware revisions (and it's not easy to buy a specific
hardware revision of a card). For the former you could of course stick
the firmware with installation instructions on a CD or USB keydrive

Then the range of wireless USB dongles that will play nicely with OSX
without lots of fiddling (you mention wanting it to be Mac compatible
too) is pretty limited, I am not even sure OSX will let you use a third
party card if there is built in wireless hardware available.

Even Windows is a bit of a problem if the machine already has Wireless
(and a fair percentage of recent laptops will) as you can get unexpected
behaviour by adding an additional card. Even more so if there is no way
to make the existing wireless card disappear without disabling the
driver in the device manager. And things only get worse if the existing
card has a third party connection management bundle of nastiness on the

I've tried to help Coffee shops and pubs etc with this sort of set up
before and to be honest it is more trouble than it is worth.

Perhaps you should ask the UEA should consider having a area on their
MAC registration page where a temporary visitor pass can be granted,
perhaps this would have restricted access compared to a fully registered
MAC. It just strikes me that offering pe-registered cards for loan
effectively weakens the presumed reasoning for having the MAC lockdowns
in the first place.

Sorry I usually try to be more positive about the advice I give :-)

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