getting my wifi geek on

I’m trying to boost the wifi signal in the new flat and haven’t had any success by moving the Netgear RangeMax DG834PN¬† to different spots in the living room (where it has to stay to connect to the DSL) but remembered it came with this little dongle thingy – the WPN111. This could help… but this is a Mac household and the damn thing only comes with Windows drivers. Whatever. We have one older PC (Win2K) but never have it running save for the odd project where we need to quickly consult it and then promptly step into a disinfecting chamber to rid our Apple goodness of Redmond cooties. I digress.

So after doing some searching online and plugging the USB dongle into my Mac, I found through the System Profiler that the dongle has an Atheros* chipset. Counting on some positively gorgeous opensource geeks with enormous brains to have made a Linux workaround for the Windows OS-only device (Netgear actually has a page supporting opensource driver development – how cool! Not that I can find it now to link to it…) I was pleased to find MadWifi. You can also find good reading on this FreeBSD page.

I’m no UNIX guru, in fact I’m very un-guru, but I am a bit brave. (Too brave for my own good? Perhaps…)

Anyway, if I have any luck hacking around with this wifi device on the Mac platform, I’ll report back. Wish me luck, for I have nearly no idea what I’m doing… 🙂

(Oh, and if you have a Netgear RangeMax and would like to improve the wireless range, here is the official Netgear page on doing just that. It is somewhat helpful. And so is this page.)

* To see if your product is using an Atheros chipset, go here and search the Atheros Customer Products Database.

UPDATE: Another really interesting page at Netgear about Wireless Network Traffic and Channel Interference.

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