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I am setting manually the bit-rate of my wireless card !

sudo iwconfig wlan0 rate 54M

Where can I see if it is applied, because the command does not give any feedback !!!

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Use sudo iwconfig wlan0. That will list all of the current parameters.

auser@acomputer:~$ sudo iwconfig wlan0
wlan0     IEEE 802.11abg  ESSID:"a.ssid"  
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.462 GHz  Access Point: 00:01:02:03:04:05   
          Bit Rate=54 Mb/s   Tx-Power=15 dBm   
          Retry  long limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Encryption key:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=58/70  Signal level=-52 dBm  
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:114   Missed beacon:0

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