VOGONS


First post, by mhoney71

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Hi everyone,

Love this forum and have been following it for a few months now, so I thought it was time to contribute. Just wanted to share something I found out tonight while trying to make my Windows 98se laptop stable with a wireless pcmcia cardbus adapter that supports WPA2. I started down this road because my ThinkPad A30 doesn't have wireless built-in, so I searched Ebay for a wifi card that not only supports Windows 98, but also WPA2. Seems there are lots of choices if you only need/want WEP encryption, but the choices for WPA2 are slim. I purchased a TP-Link TL-WN610G which works ok, but the drivers are CRAP! So I picked up a SMC Model SMCWCB-G which not only turns out to be the exact same card, but has nice stable drivers. It appears SMC used the TP-Link drivers as a base but made some tweaks that make it much more stable. So the bonus to all this is that the TP-Link TL-WN610G works just fine with the SMC SMCWCB-G modded drivers.

Not sure how the admins feel about uploading ISO images to posts or linking to other sites, so I will just say send me a PM if you want either of the driver cd images. If I hear it's ok to do the link or upload I will edit the post.

Reply 3 of 14, by kenrouholo

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Generally wireless cards should use drivers from the chipset manufacturer... Intel, Atheros/Qualcomm, Broadcom, Ralink, Realtek, etc.

But, hey, if you found some vendored drivers that work, I guess that's fine too. But to straighten one thing up, literally zero of those vendors make drivers. They use code provided by the chipset manufacturer, and they may simply modify it to add a custom vendor/device ID, which is an anti-consumer practice that some companies do (and they might add some custom UI to configure settings or other minor functionality). But the thing is, if you use drivers from anyone other than the chipset manufacturer, they are almost guaranteed to be older, and yes, often less stable.

SMC didn't fix TP Link's driver - they're simply based off a different version of the chipset manufacturer's driver.

I'm not trying to be negative about your using the SMC version of the driver or anything, just not sure if there is a misconception going on here about where (i.e. what companies) drivers like this come from. Want to make sure we're clear on that.

Yes, I always ramble this much.

Reply 5 of 14, by dr_st

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

OK, I tried the SMCWCB-G on my A31p running WinME, and so far had no luck enabling WPA2. There are WPA/TKIP options in the software, but no WPA2 or AES.

I tried two versions of the software: 2.2.1.6 and 3.1.3.121 and two different drivers - one that appears to be an (older) SMC branded driver, and one that is the generic Atheros AR52119X driver. Both are from 2005. If there are newer drivers/software for 98/ME that enable WPA2, I would love to get them. 😀

https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/ - Random content on hardware, software, games and toys

Reply 6 of 14, by dr_st

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

So far, I did not succeed to enable WPA2 on 9x/ME with the SMCWCB-G. However, I managed to do so with a different CardBus adapter - the Edimax EW-7108PCg, which is based on RaLink RT2561 (RT61). It's now installed in the Thinkpad A31p, running WinME, connected to my router using WPA2-PSK / AES.

However, it was a bit tricky to set up, as the default settings would also limit it to WPA. I will post some details later.

https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/ - Random content on hardware, software, games and toys

Reply 7 of 14, by dr_st

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Instructions on enabling WPA2 in Win9x/ME on Ralink Turbo RT61 Wireless CardBus Adapter

  1. The adapter I got is the Edimax EW-7108PCg, but it will probably be the same for all adapters based on this chip. The driver and utility are directly from RaLink and are completely generic.
  2. Download the driver and configuration utility package (for Win9x at least it is a single installer that does both). There are several possible links: this or this ("official" from Edimax) or even this directly from Vogons drivers (which also contains drivers for Win2K).
  3. Launch the executable. It will install the driver and the RaLink utility, and ask to reboot. Reboot.
  4. Your device should be successfully detected, and the RaLink utility will probably auto-start and be in the system tray. Run it. You can check the driver and utility version in the 'About' tab. Mine shows driver 1.2.3.0 and RaConfig 1.3.6.0.
  5. In the Site Survey you will see a list of access points and their accepted authentication methods. Often it will be WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK or WPA-PSK;WPA2-PSK, if it supports both.
  6. If your device supports WPA-PSK (or both), this should be easy. Click 'Add to Profile', in the 'Authentication and Security' tab choose WPA-PSK, define all other properties, and click OK. Your wireless card should connect.
  7. If your device supports WPA2-PSK only, it is trickier, because the GUI will not let you choose that. It is simply not available in the drop-down for some reason. But the network controller itself is quite capable of it. So you can trick the utility as follows:
  8. Create a profile using WPA-PSK, but add the correct encryption/key for your router. Save the profile (you need to give it a name) and make it default (if it is the only one, it should happen automatically).
  9. At this point you will not connect, but you are one registry tweak away from connecting.
  10. Open the registry editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Net\
  11. There will be a list of subkeys with numbers starting from 0000. Find the one corresponding to the RaLink adapter. If you just installed it, it will probably be the last one, unless there were 'gaps' in the list before - as it seems to go for the first free number. You can identify the correct one because one of the keys inside will be DeviceVxDs=RT619x.sys.
  12. Find the key AuthenType. The value will probably be "4" (which stands for WPA-PSK). Change it to "7" (which stands for WPA2-PSK).
  13. Now notice the CurProfile key. Its value is the name of the profile. Locate the name under Profile\Station subkey. When you open it, inside there will be another list of settings. Find AuthenType there as well and set it to "7".
  14. Restart the RaConfig utility. Now the profile should display WPA2-PSK and should connect to your router.

Note that it means that if you make any changes to the profile via the GUI, it will reset AuthenType, and you will have to repeat the trick, but it's not a big deal. Actually, some changes you can easily make through the registry. The station name and the password are just stored there as plain strings. No security in mind! 😀

I do not know if there is a different version of RaConfig that allows WPA2-PSK to be selected from the dropdown box, of if there is a way to similarly hack it to get this functionality to work. It may be limiting it based on OS or detected adapter for whatever reason. But it's not important - what is important is that it works (and in fact this post is being sent from the same A31p laptop - running WinME and connected via WPA2-PSK. 🤣

https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/ - Random content on hardware, software, games and toys

Reply 8 of 14, by dr_st

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Found a mini-PCI card with the same chipset - The SparkLAN WL-850R/E. I can confirm it works just the same with the above settings.

So there you have it - an internal miniPCI Wireless-G adapter with Win9x drivers and WPA2 support. 😀

Next step - miniPCI-e Wireless-N with DOS drivers? 🤣

https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/ - Random content on hardware, software, games and toys

Reply 9 of 14, by andromeda

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I just bought a used pcmcia WDA-610 card, on my toshiba 4000CDS under win98 it directly recognizes the WPA2-PSK, I have internet access, there is no modification to do in the database register, the chipset is RT61.

Reply 12 of 14, by crazii

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I bought a TL-WN610G adapter and downloaded one SMC SMCWCB-G driver but it didn't recognize my card.
I'll try different versions of the drivers to check again. Hope it works.

UPDATE: I tried 2 drivers one can install another is XP only, both not working, updating driver from device manager and selecting INF is not working to. Now I just change to WPA1 on my router and use the original TL-WN610G driver from TP-LINK and it works.

Toshiba Satellite Pro 4300 - YMF744, Savage IX
Toshiba Satellite 2805-S501 - YMF754, GeForce 2Go
IBM Thinkpad A21p - CS4624, Mobility Radeon 128
main: Intel NUC11PHKi7C Phantom Canyon: i7-1165G7 RTX2060 64G 2T760PSDD

Reply 14 of 14, by dr_st

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
crazii wrote on 2021-09-28, 12:45:

I bought a TL-WN610G adapter and downloaded one SMC SMCWCB-G driver but it didn't recognize my card.
I'll try different versions of the drivers to check again. Hope it works.

UPDATE: I tried 2 drivers one can install another is XP only, both not working, updating driver from device manager and selecting INF is not working to. Now I just change to WPA1 on my router and use the original TL-WN610G driver from TP-LINK and it works.

The OP claimed that SMCWCB-G works with WPA2 on Win9x, but I could not reproduce it. I suspect OP simply was confused between WPA and WPA2. Many people don't make the distinction at first.

andromeda wrote on 2021-09-30, 17:27:

only the dwa-610 card works with win98 in wpa2-psk without modifying the file or the registry.

I didn't manage to test it fully yet, but I from what I see, D-Link installs its own wireless utility. I assume that one has the WPA2 option in the UI? The INF hardcodes D-Link's subsystem IDs, but I wonder if the D-Link utility checks those too, or it will simply work with any RT61 card. I will try to get around to do some more testing later.

https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/ - Random content on hardware, software, games and toys