Wireless networking options

I’m contemplating *trying* to move my desktop PC to my room… Which means access to the ‘net will only by available via wireless. The computer doens’t have a wirfi card, just ethernet so that means shopping is involved.

It primarily runs Windows XP for gaming and has space reserved for testing GNU/Linux distros and BSD systems. Being a BSD-aware and manual reading shopper, I always crack open my operating systems manuals and look at what cards are supported by the drivers when I go looking for a product.

Since the only principal markets available to me off the web are Best Buy and Office Depot, those are where I looked online first.

The cards:

NETGEAR – 802.11g PCI Card Model: WG311

Supported by ath drivers.

Same brand and chipset as my PCMCIA card (WG511T)


Old (or cheap) product, only supports WEP (which I don’t use)

Newer revisions may not be totally compatible with existing drivers (I suspect).

Belkin – Wireless-G USB 2.0 Network Adapter, Model: F5D7050


Version 3 is supported by the rum driver and v2000 by the ral driver.


Reviews suggest bad gaming performance due to burst based transmissions

The rum driver is new to FreeBSD 7.0-Release (ported from OpenBSD)

GOD only knows what revision/version you might find at the store…

Hawking Technology – Wireless-G USB 2.0 Network Adapter,
Model: HWUG1 at best buy and at OfficeDepot

Supported by the rum

Removable aerial and possibly good signal strength if you don’t have problems with it.


The rum driver is new to FreeBSD 7.0-Release (ported from OpenBSD)

May be hard to find (lesser known brand, at least from what I’ve seen of consumer (non enterprise) products).

Just look at Hawking Technologies website… (ugh)

Linksys Wireless-G 802.11g PCI Adapter, Model WMP54G at Office Depot and Best Buy


Supported by the ral driver.

It’s cheap

It’s available while it is still on the market

It’s the same brand as my router (which is _not_ a plus in my book…)


More stores are carrying similar but newer models for Wireless-N and variants of the both (802.11g and 802.11g/n) proprietary speed boosting technology, which of course is unsupported.

It’s the same brand as my router (which I don’t care much for!)


Driver support on OpenBSD and FreeBSD at release levels…

ath == OpenBSD 3.7, FreeBSD 5.2, NetBSD 2.0 (more recent modules don’t use a binary blob, at least the OpenBSD drivers that is (-;)

ral == OpenBSD 3.7, FreeBSD 6.0 and may require PCI 2.2 compatible mother boards.

rum == OpenBSD 4.0, FreeBSD 7.0

ural == OpenBSD 3.7, FreeBSD 6.0 and may have issues with communicating transmission speed (OBSD manual is more specific).

All of this is posted for my own reference and anyone else who may find use for it.