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I'm trying to get a USB wireless card that runs off of the AR9271 chipset to work with Centos 6.2.

I read this description for compat-wireless and wanted to use a package manager (i.e. yum) because I wanted a relatively easy uninstall if it didn't work. I found a package on ELRepo. I installed kmod-compat-wireless.i686 via yum install as root. After rebooting and sticking the USB wireless card in, I didn't see anything that indicated that wireless was working. What should I be looking for? How can I make sure that this driver is loaded?

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migrated from superuser.com May 12 '12 at 23:39

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A rundown of my discovery process is here at the Centos forums.

Helpful debugging tips

Being relatively new to CentOS, (and by extension GNU/Linux), here are some commands I found helpful in troubleshooting hardware issues:

  1. lsusb lists stuff that's connected via USB.
  2. lspci lists stuff that's connected via PCI.
  3. lsmod lists modules that are loaded.
  4. yum has an awesome script that spits out your configuration to help others help you. The directions are here.
  5. Check the dmesg log in '/var/log'. This is where I found the actual error message.

Making AR9271 work

  1. Enable El Repo as a repository for yum.
  2. yum install kmod-compat-wireless This installs the driver.
  3. wget -P /lib/firmware http://wireless.kernel.org/download/htc_fw/1.3/htc_9271.fw This installs the correct firmware. This step may be unnecessary. The El Repo folks are figuring how to package the firmware so that it automatically gets pulled down in a kmod-compat-wireless install. So you may want to check if the htc file exists at /lib/firmware/ before doing this step.
  4. Reboot and a wireless option should appear in your Network Manager.
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