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Getting Atheros-based USB dongles (TP-Link, ICIDU, etc) to work under OpenSuSE 11.4 and others

17 May 2012

Since it was pretty hard to find the appropriate documentation on this, here goes. If you're trying to get your WiFi USB adapter to work under OpenSuSE 11.4 and it's based on an Atheros chipset (mine had device ID 0cf3:7015 according to lsusb), you'll need to install some additional drivers for it. On OpenSuSE 11.4 (and probably 12.1 and other versions), this is done by installing the MadWiFI drivers.

Note that you need to be root to execute the below commands!

Step 1: Adding the repository

First off, you need to add the MadWiFi repository to your repository list. According to the OpenSuSE wiki, the repository addresses are as follows:

Version: 12.1
Version: 11.4
Version: 11.3
Version: 11.1

You can add these using either zypper:

zypper ar http://location/of/repository MadWiFi

... or using YaST: YaST Control Center -> Software Repositories -> Add -> Specify URL

Step 2: Figure out your kernel type

Open a terminal and run:

uname -r

This will show you your kernel version. It will look like this:

sven@linux-8ne5:~> uname -r

In the above example, 'desktop' is the kernel type.

Step 3: Install the madwifi packages

For this you should probably use YaST: YaST Control Center -> Software Management

Search for madwifi and select the packages madwifi and madwifi-kmp-KERNELTYPE, where KERNELTYPE is the kernel type you found in step 2.

Accept the changes, start installation, grab a cup of coffee, and wait!

Step 4: Loading the kernel module

When the packages are installed, run the following command in your terminal as root:

modprobe ath_pci

The kernel module should now be loaded, and your network manager should detect your USB adapter.

Doesn't work? Check if the kernel module is really loaded:

modprobe -l | grep ath

_Don't have a network manager? _If you haven't enabled a network manager yet, you need to do that now - continue to step 5.

Optional step 5: Enabling NetworkManager

If you are using GNOME or XFCE (and probably also LXDE), you'll need to enable NetworkManager if you haven't done so already. The ifup method will not detect your USB adapter.

To enable NetworkManager, go to YaST Control Panel -> Network Devices -> Network Settings -> Global Options tab. Ensure that at the very top, theĀ User Controlled with NetworkManager option is selected, and save your changes. You may have to enable the NetworkManager applet if you don't see it appearing in your notification area. To do so, run the following command in a terminal, including the ampersand:


Using KDE? Sorry, I have no idea how to enable the network manager there - all I know is that it's called KNetworkManager. The method to enable it is probably similar to the above method for GNOME and XFCE.

Congratulations, you should now have a completely working internet connection using your Atheros-based USB WiFi dongle!