How to Connect Your OLPC to Home Wireless Networks

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How to Connect Your OLPC to Home Wireless Networks

Postby peter » Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:23 pm

First follow the OLPC "Connecting" networking instructions. to try to connect to your home router. If it still doesn't work, read some more of this post.

Wireless Summary

Wireless networks have two broad types of configuration. Encrypted and Non-Encrypted. The steps to connect to each are different.

No Encryption

Data passing over your wireless network isn't protected from passers' by. Also anyone can connect to your network and share your DSL or Cable modem Internet connection.

The "no encryption" method seems to work without much problem on the OLPC.

Encryption

If you have to enter a password to connect to your router, then some type of encryption is happening.

There are two common types of wireless security schemes used in homes. WEP and WPA.

The XO seems to work fine with home routers configured to do WEP. There are problems with homes that use the newer, more secure WPA method. This will be explained next.

Note: I wouldn't recommend switching from WEP to WPA. The change has to be made on all your wireless PCs and is best done by super users. If you decide to change your scheme, here is a thread you can use for help.

If It Doesn't Work - Phase 1

If it doesn't work, and you are prompted for a password you know is correct, then your router may be configured to only accept the hexadecimal version of your password.

Try this ASCII to hexadecimal conversion link. Type in your password in regular text, and it will return the hex equivalent. Try using that instead of your key.

If It Doesn't Work - Phase 2

If it still doesn't work, and you are prompted for a password, it's most likely due to your router using WPA encryption with your OLPC using older software that doesn't like it. You'll most likely need to upgrade your OLPC operating system version.

Determining Your OLPC XO Operating System Version Number
  • The easiest way to do this is to type the CTRL, ALT and "Group" (Three dots) keys simultaneously. You'll get output looking like this:

Code: Select all
[B]OLPC build 653[/B] (stream ship.2; variant devel_jffs2)
Kernel 2.6.22-20071121.7.olpc.af3dd731d18bc39 on an i586
xo-0D-39-78 Login:


Here we see the OLPC operating system is using build 653.

  • To return to your OLPC GUI, type the CTRL, ALT and "Home View" (One dot) keys simultaneously.
Upgrading Your OLPC XO Operating System

You need at least version 653 for WPA to work reliably. If your version is less than 653, then use this method to upgrade.

In most cases this upgrade should be sufficient to get things working.

If It Doesn't Work - Phase 3

If things still don't work, it gets more complicated and I'd suggest using this thread to get answers.

You now need to determine whether your router:
  1. Uses WPA or WEP
  2. Has connected to your OLPC
  3. Has given your OLPC an IP address

The nm-tool command

In terminal mode, issue the nm-tool command. The output will be explained next. Here is a sample of what you should get.

[olpc@xo-0D-39-78 ~]$ nm-tool

NetworkManager Tool

State: connected

- Device: eth0 ----------------------------------------------------------------
NM Path: /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager/Devices/eth0
Type: 802.11 Wireless
Driver: usb
Active: yes
HW Address: 00:17:C4:0D:39:78

Capabilities:
Supported: yes
Speed: 48 Mb/s

Wireless Settings
Scanning: yes
WEP Encryption: yes
WPA Encryption: yes
WPA2 Encryption: yes

Wireless Networks (* = Current Network)
Welcome To The Matrix: Infrastructure Mode, Freq 2.412 MHz, Rate 62 Mb/s, Strength 43%, Encrypted (WEP)
*olpchelp: Infrastructure Mode, Freq 2.437 MHz, Rate 62 Mb/s, Strength 93%, Encrypted (WPA)
SKCNT: Infrastructure Mode, Freq 2.437 MHz, Rate 62 Mb/s, Strength 75%, Encrypted (WEP)
linksys: Infrastructure Mode, Freq 2.437 MHz, Rate 62 Mb/s, Strength 89%
MetroFi-Free: Infrastructure Mode, Freq 2.437 MHz, Rate 54 Mb/s, Strength 61%
ROSE: Infrastructure Mode, Freq 2.437 MHz, Rate 62 Mb/s, Strength 41%, Encrypted (WEP)
NK_HOME: Infrastructure Mode, Freq 2.462 MHz, Rate 62 Mb/s, Strength 28%, Encrypted (WEP)
Jenny: Infrastructure Mode, Freq 2.462 MHz, Rate 62 Mb/s, Strength 31%, Encrypted (WEP)

IP Settings:
IP Address: 192.168.1.249
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
Broadcast: 192.168.1.255
Gateway: 192.168.1.1
Primary DNS: 192.168.1.1
Secondary DNS: 68.87.76.178


- Device: msh0 ----------------------------------------------------------------
NM Path: /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager/Devices/msh0
Driver: usb
Active: no
HW Address: 00:17:C4:0D:39:78

Capabilities:
Supported: yes


Determining Whether Your Router uses WPA or WEP

In terminal mode too, you can use the nm-tool command to determine key networking information for your eth0

The "Wireless Networks" section of this command will:
  1. List all the router wireless SSIDs seen. The one you are connected to will have a * beside it. In this case it is olpchelp.
  2. Let you know which SSIDs are using WPA or WEP. In this case olpchelp is using WPA.
Determining Your IP Address Information

The nm-tool command's "IP settings" section will list:
  1. The IP address given to your OLPC by your router. 192.168.1.249
  2. The IP address of your router (also known as a default gateway) 192.168.1.1
  3. The IP address of your Primary and Secondary DNS servers. 192.168.1.1 and 68.87.76.178. DNS converts easy to remember names like google.com into IP addresses your OLPC can use to get there. In most cases, your router will also act as your DNS server.
Note: If your XO cannot communicate with the router it will automatically give itself an IP address starting with 169.254.x.x. This is a sure sign that something is wrong.

What's Next?

To work, you should have real values for all the important nm-tool information mentioned previously.

If it doesn't work. Ask this thread. Before posting to this thread it would be good to know:
  1. Your OLPC XO firmware version
  2. What the "Wireless Networks" and the "IP Settings" sections of the nm-tool command say. Are you connected to your router, are you getting an IP address and a DNS server value etc.
Hope this helps!
Simiya - For Lovers of Caribbean Art
peter
 
Posts: 182
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:56 pm

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