Connecting a USB Wifi dongle to my Alix2d13 board - What to do next?

  • Hi Everyone,

    I have connected a Wifi b/g dongle to my Alix2d13 board which is running the current stable pfSense version. I am not sure what to do next to maybe install it's driver, search for it on the GUI, or enter commands in shell to get it in place.

    I want to use the pfSense as a wireless router and also maybe as a wireless endpoint. Please let me know the steps after a USB dongle is connected. From Google search on FreePSD forums it seems that this model is supported but I am not sure if with pfSense it is also supported or not.


  • In the web GUI go to Interfaces -> (assign) and there should be a button with "+" in it. Click on that button to add the new interface to the pfSense pool of interfaces. Then you should be able to configure it.

    When you plug in the dongle you should see a few lines on the console describing the device and giving the driver attach messages. For example:

    rum0: <ralink 0="" 2="" 802.11="" bg="" wlan,="" class="" 0,="" rev="" 2.00="" 0.01,="" addr="">on uhub3
    rum0: MAC/BBP RT2573 (rev 0x2573a), RF RT2528
    rum0: WARNING: using obsoleted IFF_NEEDSGIANT flag
    rum0: Ethernet address: 00:1b:11:b5:c1:c8</ralink>

    I don't recall if pfSense 1.2.3 picks up dynamically inserted devices or just knows about devices present at boot time. You might have to reboot.

  • wallaboybob, thanks for the input.

    Unfortunately, even with the reboot I do not see the option to add another interface. It seems that the box doesn't detect the USB dongle. Upon connect I do not see any messages. Upon disconnect I see:

    unknown: at uhub1 port 1 (addr 2) disconnected

    Following is a "dmesg" command output after the dongle is connected which by comparison is exactly the same as the output of "dmesg" run before connecting the USB dongle:

    Copyright (c) 1992-2009 The FreeBSD Project.
    Copyright (c) 1979, 1980, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
            The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
    FreeBSD is a registered trademark of The FreeBSD Foundation.
    FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE-p5 #0: Mon Dec  7 20:20:43 EST 2009
    Timecounter "i8254" frequency 1193182 Hz quality 0
    CPU: Geode(TM) Integrated Processor by AMD PCS (498.05-MHz 586-class CPU)
      Origin = "AuthenticAMD"  Id = 0x5a2  Stepping = 2
      Features=0x88a93d <fpu,de,pse,tsc,msr,cx8,sep,pge,cmov,clflush,mmx>AMD Features=0xc0400000 <mmx+,3dnow!+,3dnow!>real memory  = 268435456 (256 MB)
    avail memory = 248639488 (237 MB)
    pnpbios: Bad PnP BIOS data checksum
    wlan: mac acl policy registered
    K6-family MTRR support enabled (2 registers)
    ACPI Error (tbxfroot-0308): A valid RSDP was not found [20070320]
    ACPI: Table initialisation failed: AE_NOT_FOUND
    ACPI: Try disabling either ACPI or apic support.
    cryptosoft0: <software crypto=""> on motherboard
    padlock0: No ACE support.
    pcib0: <host to="" pci="" bridge=""> pcibus 0 on motherboard
    pci0: <pci bus=""> on pcib0
    Geode LX: PC Engines ALIX.2 v0.99h tinyBIOS V1.4a (C)1997-2007
    pci0: <encrypt decrypt,="" entertainment="" crypto=""> at device 1.2 (no driver attached)
    vr0: <via 10="" vt6105m="" rhine="" iii="" 100basetx=""> port 0x1000-0x10ff mem 0xe0000000-0xe00000ff irq 10 at device 9.0 on pci0
    vr0: Quirks: 0x2
    vr0: Revision: 0x96
    miibus0: <mii bus=""> on vr0
    ukphy0: <generic ieee="" 802.3u="" media="" interface=""> PHY 1 on miibus0
    ukphy0:  10baseT, 10baseT-FDX, 100baseTX, 100baseTX-FDX, auto
    vr0: Ethernet address: 00:0d:b9:1f:04:bc
    vr0: [ITHREAD]
    vr1: <via 10="" vt6105m="" rhine="" iii="" 100basetx=""> port 0x1400-0x14ff mem 0xe0040000-0xe00400ff irq 11 at device 10.0 on pci0
    vr1: Quirks: 0x2
    vr1: Revision: 0x96
    miibus1: <mii bus=""> on vr1
    ukphy1: <generic ieee="" 802.3u="" media="" interface=""> PHY 1 on miibus1
    ukphy1:  10baseT, 10baseT-FDX, 100baseTX, 100baseTX-FDX, auto
    vr1: Ethernet address: 00:0d:b9:1f:04:bd
    vr1: [ITHREAD]
    vr2: <via 10="" vt6105m="" rhine="" iii="" 100basetx=""> port 0x1800-0x18ff mem 0xe0080000-0xe00800ff irq 15 at device 11.0 on pci0
    vr2: Quirks: 0x2
    vr2: Revision: 0x96
    miibus2: <mii bus=""> on vr2
    ukphy2: <generic ieee="" 802.3u="" media="" interface=""> PHY 1 on miibus2
    ukphy2:  10baseT, 10baseT-FDX, 100baseTX, 100baseTX-FDX, auto
    vr2: Ethernet address: 00:0d:b9:1f:04:be
    vr2: [ITHREAD]
    isab0: <pci-isa bridge=""> port 0x6000-0x6007,0x6100-0x61ff,0x6200-0x623f,0x9d00-0x9d7f,0x9c00-0x9c3f at device 15.0 on pci0
    isa0: <isa bus=""> on isab0
    atapci0: <amd cs5536="" udma100="" controller=""> port 0x1f0-0x1f7,0x3f6,0x170-0x177,0x376,0xff00-0xff0f at device 15.2 on pci0
    ata0: <ata 0="" channel=""> on atapci0
    ata0: [ITHREAD]
    ata1: <ata 1="" channel=""> on atapci0
    ata1: [ITHREAD]
    ohci0: <ohci (generic)="" usb="" controller=""> mem 0xefffe000-0xefffefff irq 12 at device 15.4 on pci0
    ohci0: [GIANT-LOCKED]
    ohci0: [ITHREAD]
    usb0: OHCI version 1.0, legacy support
    usb0: <ohci (generic)="" usb="" controller=""> on ohci0
    usb0: USB revision 1.0
    uhub0: <amd 1="" 9="" ohci="" root="" hub,="" class="" 0,="" rev="" 1.00="" 1.00,="" addr=""> on usb0
    uhub0: 4 ports with 4 removable, self powered
    ehci0: <amd cs5536="" (geode)="" usb="" 2.0="" controller=""> mem 0xefffd000-0xefffdfff irq 12 at device 15.5 on pci0
    ehci0: [GIANT-LOCKED]
    ehci0: [ITHREAD]
    usb1: EHCI version 1.0
    usb1: companion controller, 4 ports each: usb0
    usb1: <amd cs5536="" (geode)="" usb="" 2.0="" controller=""> on ehci0
    usb1: USB revision 2.0
    uhub1: <amd 1="" 9="" ehci="" root="" hub,="" class="" 0,="" rev="" 2.00="" 1.00,="" addr=""> on usb1
    uhub1: 4 ports with 4 removable, self powered
    cpu0 on motherboard
    orm0: <isa option="" rom=""> at iomem 0xe0000-0xea7ff pnpid ORM0000 on isa0
    ppc0: parallel port not found.
    sio0 at port 0x3f8-0x3ff irq 4 flags 0x10 on isa0
    sio0: type 16550A, console
    sio0: [FILTER]
    sio1 at port 0x2f8-0x2ff irq 3 on isa0
    sio1: type 16550A
    sio1: [FILTER]
    Timecounter "TSC" frequency 498054817 Hz quality 800
    Timecounters tick every 10.000 msec
    IPsec: Initialized Security Association Processing.
    ad0: 3823MB <lexar 20091201="" ata="" flash="" card=""> at ata0-master PIO4
    WARNING: Expected rawoffset 0, found 63
    WARNING: Expected rawoffset 0, found 3861711
    Trying to mount root from ufs:/dev/ufs/pfsense0
    glxsb0: <amd geode="" lx="" security="" block="" (aes-128-cbc,="" rng)=""> mem 0xefff4000-0xefff7fff irq 9 at device 1.2 on pci0
    pflog0: promiscuous mode enabled
    unknown: at uhub1 port 1 (addr 2) disconnected
    unknown: at uhub1 port 2 (addr 2) disconnected
    unknown: at uhub1 port 1 (addr 2) disconnected</amd></lexar></isa></amd></amd></amd></amd></ohci></ohci></ata></ata></amd></isa></pci-isa></generic></mii></via></generic></mii></via></generic></mii></via></encrypt></pci></host></software></mmx+,3dnow!+,3dnow!></fpu,de,pse,tsc,msr,cx8,sep,pge,cmov,clflush,mmx>

    What else do you suggest I should do?


  • @torontob:

    What else do you suggest I should do?

    Buy a device known to work with FreeBSD 7.1 (or 8.1 if you are prepared to use pfSense 2.0 BETA).

    What device do you have (brand, model number, revision etc)?

    What features do you need? (Not all supported USB devices support Access Point mode.)

  • Thanks for the input.

    It is a Cisoc/Linksys WUSB54GC v3. From Google it comes up as a supported stick for FreeBSD.

  • Based on what I can find out about the chipset in your device you will have to use a pfSense 2.0 snapshot where I expect your device to be recognised by the run driver which is not in pfSense 1.2.3.

    You should search the 2.0 BETA forum for the string "runfw" for suggestions on getting the firmware for the device loaded at boot time.

  • Thanks. So, is there anyway to get the "runfw" working on 1.2.3?


  • @torontob:

    Thanks. So, is there anyway to get the "runfw" working on 1.2.3?

    The USB stack changed significantly between FreeBSD 7.x (pfSense 1.2.3) and FreeBSD 8.x (pfSense 2.0). So its likely to be a non-trivial process (something more than recompile, something less than starting from scratch) to backport the driver to FreeBSD 7.x.

    It will almost certainly be quicker and cheaper to get a device supported in FreeBSD 7.x. I'll make some suggestions in a future reply.

  • Some time ago I went looking for USB wireless NICs supported in FreeBSD 7.x (and hence pfSense 1.2.3) which would operate in Access Point mode. The range is pretty limited (at least at the low cost end). I bought a second hand DLink DWL G122 rev C1 (some other revs use an unsupported chipset) on eBay and a TP-Link TL-WN321G  from a local computer shop. Around where I live the TP-LInk TL-W321G is still available at retail outlets but that particular DLink seems to have been superseded at retail outlets quite some time ago. Both devices have given satisfactory performance but I haven't stress tested them.

    Is the mini-PCI slot on the Alix available? You can probably get a ralink based mini-PCI card on eBay for a reasonable price. (There seemed to be plenty available a few months ago when I was looking because a kernel update broke the wireless support on my Linux netbook. I didn't end up purchasing one because I figured out another way around the problem.)

  • Funny thing you mentioned ralink because I think this is ralink based as well based on this:

    I guess I will look into rum(4). Though I am totally not sure what that is. if_rum…..


  • rum is the FreeBSD driver for an older generation 802.11g USB chipset.

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