[BozemanLUG] User question about wireless on Slackware

Scott Dowdle dowdle at montanalinux.org
Fri Jan 22 09:45:56 MST 2010


I don't want to "top post" so see my comments after the quote...

> =========== Beginning ============
> From: Mark DeOpsomer
> Subject: Configuring wireless NIC on Slackware Linux
> Ok, I'm new to Linux, but know UNIX quit well from a developers
> perspective in the cellular / telecommunications world.
> I'm trying to configure wireless on my Gateway / Intel laptop
> (Slackware Linux rel 13). 
> (linux
> >From the reading I've done on the Internet here's the procedure I've
> come up. 
> 1) First make sure the kernel supports the wireless card. Using
> "lsmod" shows some Intel stuff, but I'm not sure the name of the
> module for "INTEL's WiFi Link 5100 wireless card", however, I
> continue... 
> Next I check some of the settings on my ACTIONTEC/DSL wireless box. I
> have everything turned off, it's wide open (no WEP, or password). So
> all I need to do is setup ESSID, CHANNEL and start up the wlan0
> interface.
> Since "iwlist wlan0 scan" sees cells out there, I'm assuming this the
> kernel has the right module.
> Here's the commands I ran:
> # configure the wlan ESSID & CHANNEL 
> /usr/sbin/iwconfig wlan0 essid ACTIONTEC
> /usr/sbin/iwconfig wlan0 channel 1
> # start the wlan0 interface
> /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 wlan0_start
> Then I execute the following cmds to check out the wlan0 operation.
> #iwlist wlan0 scan 
> "iwlist" - reports seeing two CELL's in my neighborhood. One is my
> ACTIONTEC the other is the sunrise campground across the street.
> #ifconfig - reports that the wlan0 interface is "UP" and shows packets
> RX/TX. It also shows wlan0 has been assigned an IP via DHCP (which was
> turned on via the rc.inet1.conf file)
> #iwconfig shows ESSID="ACTIONTEC", but I don't see a channel
> associated with it? I'm not sure if
> that is needed. 
> I try and ping addresses out on the internet and it just says "unknown
> host". 
> What is missing here? What other cmds can be used to display
> interesting data?
> Thanks,
> Mark
> ============== End ===============

Looks to me like you have the heavy lifting of the process done... but perhaps there is one detail, a simple thing really, that will get you the rest of the way.

I've used the ACTIONTEC DSL modem/router thing... for several years... but am on a Motorola one now... and hey, maybe you have a newer model or something... but my experience with the ACTIONTEC was that no matter what information you put in its web management / configuration interface for DNS servers, it always handed out its own IP address as primary DNS.  In my case that was usually or something.  In any event, on Linux clients given that as a DNS server (which gets written to the /etc/resolv.conf), that didn't work... although sometimes it did but it was very, very slow.  Why they do that, I don't know.

In any event, to fix it, just manually edit the /etc/resolv.conf and put in valid DNS server IPs.  IN my case for Qwest DSL I added:


...and DNS started working on the client just fine.

If you want a public DNS, Google has one and its IPs are: and 

For the least hops / most direct path you should specify whatever DNS servers your ISP gives you. The ones I gave above are Qwests.

The only problem with that solution is that the next time you get a DHCP refresh, it'll topple over what you put in and replace it with the same broken stuff... if indeed that is the problem.

Scott Dowdle
704 Church Street
Belgrade, MT 59714
(406)388-0827 [home]
(406)994-3931 [work]

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