linux/netbsd wireless interoperability

Brett Lymn blymn at
Wed Oct 15 10:36:33 EST 2003

On Tue, Oct 14, 2003 at 12:47:22PM +1000, David Gibson wrote:
> Chances are the problem is that the NetBSD box is using the old "demo"
> ad-hoc mode, wheras the Linux box is using the 802.11 standardised
> IBSS ad-hoc mode - they're not interoperable.

This was exactly the problem.  For what it is worth NetBSD-current's
wi driver actually defaults to infrastructure mode, for some reason
when I made the changes to put my cards into ad-hoc mode I chose to
use the old "demo" ad-hoc mode, probably due to one of my machines
being on an older kernel that only supported that mode at the time.

One thing I did notice was that Linux & NetBSD would not play nice
with WEP enabled unless the WEP key was long enough to fill all the
bits - must be a difference in what the left over bits are set to.  In
my NetBSD to NetBSD setup I was not too worried about the WEP key
length because I run ipsec over the top of the wireless, the WEP is
only there to keep the casual prodders out :)

> I think you need to set port_type to 1 and createibss to 1 with witool
> to switch NetBSD to IBSS mode.

For the record, wiconfig is pretty much deprecated in NetBSD.  All the
wireless config is done using ifconfig, the working command line (with
IP's adjusted to protect the not so innocent) is:

ifconfig netmask broadcast nwkey specialkey001 media autoselect mediaopt adhoc nwid my_lan

the linux side had the ESSID set to "my_lan", made sure the wireless
channel was the same, of course made sure the wep key was the same.
After doing all that, the wireless link started working fine.

Now, if I feel really brave I shall put ipsec over the top.... one

BTW: is it my imagination or is the ieee adhoc mode faster than the
old "demo" mode?

Brett Lymn

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