After all my failures yesterday I came to the realization that I would have to find a plan B and execute it. An external USB WiFi adapter might be just what the doctor ordered. Luckily I have access to an entire drawer of Linksys USB WiFi adapters which are just collecting dust.
These adapters use the rt2500 chipset which is pretty well suported thanks to the efforts of this project. I plugged the card in, and it was detected. Simple, right? Well not quite.
It seems that the OS wants to load the rt2500usb driver for this card, even though the card in reality is an rt2570. That would be fine if I wanted to *use* this card to join access points and gain Internet access. But my end goal is to use this as a weapon of wardriving. For that, it did not seem to work well. I set my source in Kismet as "source=rt2500,wlancantenna" and started it up. It detects about 3 wireless devices, but cannot seem to see the high powered b/g cisco devices which are everywhere around me.
This seemed to me to be a driver issue of sorts. Heading back to the project download page I found that there was a stand-alone driver for the rt2570 chipset. I downloaded it, built the module, and installed it - all rather easily. The problem is, when I plug in the card the OS still detects it as an rt2500. This can be fixed by opening up /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist (as root) and adding "blacklist rt2500usb" to the bottom of the file. Note that if you blacklist "rt2500" you will likely end up with a non-functioning setup.
Now, with the card removed and *ALL* "rt" related modules removed - I can reinsert the card and this is the result I get.
Note that while Kismet (in the background of this shot) picks up *EVERYTHING* - the OS now doesn't know how to read the signal levels on what it has found. I'm not sure if that is really a problem. I can live with it.
I have also taken one of these cards, gutted it, and through the miracle of duct tape I have merged it with a single cable cantenna design. It's not a pretty site, but I will take pictures at some point.
My New Toy
I am a bit destracted with this little project this morning because I got a slick new toy for fathers day. It's a Garmin Nuvi 200 which is a GPS "driving assistant" (with lot's of additional toys and uses).
Last night I unboxed it, turned it on, and started immediately setting it up. Yet, everytime I got to the part where it hooks up to satelites - it shut off. It seems that they don't send these out of the factory on a full charge. Thankfully this unut can be charged from USB (unlike some of the competitive models). There is a wall charger accessory which you can buy but really don't need. It comes with a nice mounting kit for your windshield or dash, and a 12v socket adapter too.
I went online and registered my unit, and since I am entitled to a free map update I went ahead and started that up. Alas, it needed to install a browser plugin so I had to reboot into ... Windows XP. :-( I installed the plugin, it warned me that the file download could take hours, I laughed, and started it up. But then I saw that this could take hours - because the file was 2.04GB. Meanwhile Windows XP is asking (for about the fifth time) if I would like to reboot. It had to go and install a bunch of updates and it wouldn't shut the fuck up about them. Knowing that Windows will eventually reboot my PC against my will - I rebooted it myself.
But then when I tried to go through the registration and map download again it said "you all ready got your free maps - now beat it" in so many kind words. I HATE YOU WINDOWS. After some hunting around in the web site I was able to find where I could re-download the file. But when it was completed, I had to wait another 15 minutes while Windows copied 2GB from my Temporary Internet Files - to the Desktop (why do they STILL do things this way? Firefox doesn't!). At this point I was happy to reboot back into Linux where logic still prevails.
This morning I popped out the ashtray in my bug and used my tie clip to lock the GPS onto my dash. Then I drove to work. It's two miles down a straight road and I haven't gotten lost yet (not even once) - but I was itching to see how well this thing works. As I came to where the street splits in all directions it shouted "turn left in zero point one miles" and then when I hit the spot it said "turn left". Nice. Then as I cruised down the road it told me "1.7 miles remaining". As I approached the hospital I decided to throw it a curve ball and I took a sharp right to head up the back of the hospital (opposed to going to the front door lie a visitor would). The Garmin saw that I had turned off and a moment later said "recalculating!". With that, it had a new path for me (which is the way I was heading).
I must say, this is a nice little unit. It will be fun to play with this when we head out to a cabin 350 miles from here for vacation. In the mean time, I wonder if I could rig this into my laptop and use it's GPS capabilities for wardriving?