How-To IPW2200: Getting Intel Pro Wireless 2200 BG to work on debian/ubuntu

1 minute read

A lot of laptop computers using Centrino processor use the Intel Pro Wireless 2200 BG wireless interface, also known as ipw2200.

This one is not supported by default (at the time of writing) on a linux computer.

Here is the way to get it run and enjoy wireless connection.

First of all, you will need the wireless-tools packages, this package gives you the availaility to configure wireless interfaces under linux.

tester@laptop:~$sudo apt-get install wireless-tools

This gives you access to tools such as iwconfig for configuring your network interface, iwlist for scanning network in your laptop scope, iwevent… Since we are going to compile a kernel module, we also need to get the kernel headers, gcc-4.0:

Please note that since Ubuntu Dapper, ipw2200 drivers are included in the standard kernel

tester@laptop:~$ sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r) module-assistant gcc-4.0

module-assistant allows you do easily compile kernel modules.

As the ipw2200 does not include ieee80211 subsystem, we have to compile the module, here comes module-assistant.

tester@laptop:~$ sudo module-assistant

Choose SELECT then tick the ieee80211 checkbox, press ENTER, and choose BUILD, module-assistant is going to build the kernel module and at the end will ask you wether you want to install it or not, choose yes :).

At the time of writing, there were no ubuntu package available for ipw2200, therefore, you had to download it from the internet and compile it by hand. Get it from the official ipw2200 website.

tester@laptop:~$ tar -xzvf Desktop/ipw2200-1.1.1.tgz
tester@laptop:~$ cd ipw2200-1.1.1/
tester@laptop:~/ipw2200-1.1.1$make IEEE80211_INC=/usr/src/modules/ieee80211/driver/

The IEEE80211_INC allows us to tell ipw2200 makefile where to find ieee80211.h file, if you don’t do so, compiling will exit with error status.

Now it is time to install our freshly compile ipw2200 kernel module.

tester@laptop:~/ipw2200-1.1.1$ sudo make install

This will end up with the following message:

Don't forget to copy firmware to your hotplug's firmware directory and have the hotplug tools in place.

In order to make the ipw2200 card working, with need to copy the appropriate firmware in ‘‘hotplug directory.

Get the appropriate firmware from ipw2200 website, click the I Agree link at the bottom of the page (after reading the licence issues… sure ;))

tester@laptop:~/ipw2200-1.1.1$ cd ..
tester@laptop:~$ tar -xzvf Desktop/ipw2200-fw-3.0.tgz

And now copy all the *.fw files to /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware/

tester@laptop:~$ cd ipw2200-fw-3.0/
tester@laptop:~/ipw2200-fw-3.0$ sudo cp *.fw /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware/