Mysteries of the WirelessDriver beta 5.1 for MacOS X Unveiled
By Chris Murphy et. al. (originally posted 12/08/04)
This page addresses issues people may have with the MacOS X open source WirelessDriver. WirelessDriver is for using third party wireless cards on Macs running OS X. For general MacOS wireless advice go here: MacOS
Update 2/5/06 WirelessDriver beta 6 installer is on sourceforge. Adds Tiger Compatibility. Only for Tiger 10.4, do not install beta 6 on older versions of OS X. (otherwise you will have to uninstall and reinstall beta 5.1) Built from the deployment branch. Here is the link: http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/wirelessdriver/WirelessDriver.dmg.sitx?download
Update 7/24/05 Compiled binary that is working with Tiger. Patched to load and unload driver for passive scanning by KisMAC. Download the .kext here : http://3web.dkm.cz/modrak/WirelessDriver.kext.zip . Sorry, no installer for now. Install KisMac, then original driver and then replace the /System/Library/Extensions/WirelessDriver.kext with this one and reboot.
Update 5/23/05: At this time the driver available from the sourceforge CVS only supports OS X up to version 10.3.9. Rob Frohne and Mick Rossberg have updated the source for 10.4 but are unable to find the password to update the sourceforge CVS. In the meantime, the source containing their changes is located here: http://www.wwc.edu/~frohro/WirelessCard.zip I reccomend compiling it with Xcode 2.0 in Tiger 10.4.
You can download the driver here: http://wirelessdriver.sourceforge.net/
An improper installation will result in the SSID field (a.k.a. "Connect to Wireless Network Named:") being disabled. Follow directions below for a proper installation.
This driver only supports wireless cards with the Prism or Prism 2 chip set as well as ORINOCO cards. It will not work with Prism 2.5 cards such as the famous Senao 2511CD (SenaoCard). If you have a Prism 2.5 card, you should buy the IOXperts driver.
I recommend a card that uses an external antenna(s) such as the SenaoCard. Unfortunately, this driver will not work with that card. (It will work with the much weaker Senao 2011CD because that card has a Prism 2 chip set.) Again, if you have a Prism 2.5 chip set, buy the IOXperts driver http://www.ioxperts.com
How to Install the WirelessDriver beta 5.1
- If you have been playing with another driver such as the IOXperts driver demo uninstall it now (or buy it and read no further).
If you have been having trouble installing the WirelessDriver, run the included uninstaller. "/Volumes/WirelessDriver beta 5.1/Utilities/Uninstaller.command"
- Insert your wireless card
- Go to /System/Library/
- Delete Extensions.kextcache
- Also delete Extensions.mkext
Run the WirelessDriver installer. "/Volumes/WirelessDriver beta 5.1/WirelessDriver Beta 5-1.mpkg"
- Reboot (leave card inserted)
The driver should work now. Settings are located in System Preferences --> WirelessConfig.
Installing the WirelessConfig command
This is an optional feature of the WirelessDriver.
The WirelessConfig command lets you adjust settings and get status from the command line. Note that it does not accurately report WEP status (It reports no WEP encryption even when there is).
Inside the WirelessDriver disk image inside the Utilities folder ("/Volumes/WirelessDriver beta 5.1/Utilities/WirelessConfig") copy WirelessConfig to the follwoing location on your hard disk: /usr/local/bin (You can press command-shift-g and enter that path in a finder window.)
Open the Terminal and type WirelessConfig to run the newly installed command
WirelessConfig -Help shows the help options.
The most useful to me, is WirelessConfig -status (which shows signal strength)
Getting the "Troubleshooting Info" script to work
This is an optional feature of the WirelessDriver, but requires that you install the WirelessConfig command (see the above section).
Follow steps listed above and install the WirelessConfig command.
- Inside the Wireless Driver disk image inside the Utilities folder copy Troubleshooting Info to your Desktop. "/Volumes/WirelessDriver beta 5.1/Utilities/Troubleshooting Info"
- Drag Troubleshooting Info to BBEDIT or another text editor.
Modify line 17 to say AirPort instead of Airport
- Save and close.
You can now double click Troubleshooting Info to get info about your setup.
Installing the SigMeter (displays a signal meter in your menu bar.)
The following section is outdated, see the comments below to download a new, improved SigMeter. If the links don't work at some point, you can always make your own as I describe here.
This requires Apple's free Developer Tools, specifically, Interface Builder.app.
SigMeter is missing a file to work properly.
Download the WirelessDriver CVS tree: http://sourceforge.net/cvs/?group_id=34453
- Open in Interface Builder: "~/WirelessDriver/WirelessConfig/English.lproj/SigStrength.nib"
- Dismiss the Interface Builder Error.
- Save and close Interface Builder.
- Copy the first to the clipboard
- Now go to Applications/SigMeter and control click it (right click) and choose "Show Package Contents".
Go into English.lproj and choose paste from the Edit menu. (This should add the missing SigMeter.nib file)
- Close the package contents window
- You may have to reboot
Launch SigMeter by double clicking.
You should now have a signal meter in the menu bar.
Comments, Tips, Hints
This driver works but sorely needs updating, so would some competent developer please work on it?! One thing that I really like about the IOXperts driver is that it seems to get an IP address from the AP very quickly. The WirelessDriver on the other hand seems to take its own sweet time. Also the IOXperts driver finds networks automatically which sure is convenient and more Mac like.
If your connection goes down and then you go to check the WirelessConfig Preference Pane and that, in turn, locks up OS X, remove your WiFi card (do not reinsert it!) and save all open work. Then reboot. I think Tiger 10.4 should fix problems like this, but the driver may have to be rewritten.
This is a link to the WirelessDriver FAQ: http://wirelessdriver.sourceforge.net/faq.html
It does not contain information found on this page.
Newer, improved SigMeter than described above...
Or if you like zipped better...
- The enhancements include options for viewing the signal strength, the noise strength, and the signal to noise ratio either as an icon or in decibels (db) or decibels relative to a milliwatt (dbm). The graphical version has been shrunk so that even with both the digital readout and the graphical options selected it takes less room in the menu bar than the old version. Viewing preferences you select are persistent across program launches.
I tried this but it's so user unfriendly it's pretty much unusable. Kismac has an option to connection to scanned networks from orinoco cards. Pitty nobody has updated this in 3 years ! Danny Cork.
Response: Actually, the driver is updated by the community bit by bit but very slowly. If you subscribe to the developer mailing lists, every month or so someone submits a patch that fixes something or enables something. It doesn't seem like these patches are getting tested or integrated into a release due to lack of leadership (e.g. the recent updates for Tiger). It doesn't help that the IOXperts driver is pretty darn good. - CM