Unix/Linux OS/Linux Wifi problems

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Question
Hello John Crout,

My purpose for writing this letter is a potential problem I'm unsure how to overcome. I went to the Linux website and even other websites to discover if this is a common problem, and that seems to be the case. I currently own an Acer Aspire 5532 laptop which runs Windows 7 Home Premium. I want to switch over to a Linux OS (I'm unsure which is best: Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Fedora, etc.. The problem is regarding this particular brand of laptop, and even other Acer series laptops. When people convert over to Linux OS's for some reason there is a complaint that their wifi stops working properly. John Crout I am wifi dependent. Some people complain their wifi no longer works while other people complain they have no sound. I'm unsure how to load the wifi drivers in Linux for this brand of pc and have it work properly. So far I didn't do anything yet for fear I'll accidentally remove the current wifi drivers, and have nothing left altogether. I went to Broadcoms support website, and saw a driver which I'm wondering if I should download: http://www.broadcom.com/support/802.11/linux_sta.php . I would love to keep the Windows 7, but after reading several websites I cannot afford the expense to make it genuine, and by what I understand anything illegal would be caught by them sooner or later, so I figure, Why play a dodge and catch game? Therefore, I want to change to Linux (Figuring Apple's OX would be the same problem as Microsoft), but how can I do it and not run into a wifi removal/break down problem? I will await your reply. Thanks.

Answer
To avoid getting into a situation that isn't acceptable find a USB WiFi device (external) suppported by the OS you want to use.  This way, assuming you like the OS, you'll have wifi whether or not you find the right driver for the internal adapter.

Start here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_open-source_wireless_drivers

Jean Tourrilhes is the best source to start with, to learn about the notty-gritty of 802.11.
http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Jean_Tourrilhes/

Does this help?

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John Crout

Expertise

Answers about hardening, command-line operation,boot/start-up, reconfiguring the kernel, debugging, installing/removing packages. Interfacing with Windows. Most questions about building from source.

Experience

Been learning how to do these things since 1982.

Organizations
Association for Computing Machinery, Information Systems Security Association

Education/Credentials
BSEE, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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