Long time ago i’ve bought Netgear WG511 PCMCIA WiFi card. It’s version 2, and is supported by prism54 module. the basic info is in jkx page, but at least 3 years have passed 😉

In order to run in Linux, you need:

  1. PCMCIA bus modules – pcmcia, pcmci_core and yenta_socket in my case;
  2. prism54 module to talk to the card;
  3. firmware_class module to load the firmware
  4. actual firmware
  5. wireles-tools package to manage link

The WG511 uses isl3890 module, which was available here, but due to copyright restrictions, it’s not there any more. The backup is prism54.org firmware page or my local backup. Netgear WG511 uses firmware. Just be sure to place it into ‘/usr/lib/hotplug/firmware’ in Debian and symlink or rename it to ‘isl3890’.

What you need more, is to edit ‘/etc/network/interfaces’ file and add some lines about the WiFi card:

My WiFi card is eth2, as eth0 goes for embedded wired network and eth1 is for IEEE1384/FireWire link:

allow-hotplug eth2
iface eth2 inet dhcp
wireless-essid your_APs_ssid_here
wireless-mode managed
wireless-key1 ActualKeyMustBeEnteredHere
wireless-defaultkey 1

Voila. Plug-in the card, and run /sbin/iwconfig.

$ /sbin/iwconfig
lo no wireless extensions.

eth0 no wireless extensions.

eth1 no wireless extensions.

sit0 no wireless extensions.

eth2 IEEE 802.11b/g ESSID:”your_APs_ssid_here”
Mode:Managed Frequency:2.467 GHz Access Point: 00:00:00:00:00:00
Bit Rate:54 Mb/s Tx-Power=31 dBm Sensitivity=20/200
Retry min limit:8 RTS thr:2347 B Fragment thr:2346 B
Link Quality:19/0 Signal level:-50 dBm Noise level:-40 dBm
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

The problem is when you plug-in the WiFi card and your wired network stays connected. In this case you must configure routing.
Or you can disable wired link with ‘sudo ifdown eth0’.