I decided to try getting back into some hardware stuff on my AmigaOne X1000 this weekend.
I have been looking at the success people have been having with getting PCI Wireless cards to work with AmigaOS 4 using the prism2 driver on OS4Depot.net and I decided to give it a go myself.
I should advise from the outset that this project is not successful as yet, but I learnt a lot along the way and wanted to share my adventures trying to get it working in case it helps someone else.
As covered previously, to add a PCI card to the X1000 requires a PCI-e to PCI adapter because all the PCI slots in the X1000 are already in use. These adapters are very cheap on Ebay and I got my second one this week which is the reason for the delay in blog posts. The first PCI-e adapter runs my Ethernet PCI Card on the X1000.
I already have a NetGear 311 PCI adapter which according to the documentation should be supported so I have everything I need to get started!
After unwrapping the PCI-e to PCI adapter card I recognised my first issue - the Netgear card doesn't have a half-height backing plate, only a full one:
So I had to remove the backing plate and then connect the NetGear PCI card to the adapter. In my opinion it fits well:
So now that the card is ready to put into the X1000 I needed to put it into one of the two remaining PCI-e slots in the X1000. I originally planned to put it in the uppermost PCI-e slot but hit a problem with this - the card covers the fan for the ATI HD graphics card:
Not Good. So I changed it to the lower shared PCI-e / Xorro Slot shown below:
Here it is now installed and ready for power on:
Here's a view of the back of the X1000 showing the wireless card installed:
I kept the Ethernet card installed since I knew it worked and I expected to have issues with the Wireless card. How true that was....
When I powered on the X1000 I hit problem number one. It didn't boot.
The computer was running but no A-Eon logo or any sign of booting. I rechecked all the connections and tried again but same result.
I took the Wireless card out and tried again and it booted no problem. Ok....so next I removed the ethernet PCI card and put the Wireless card back in on it's own. Powering on worked this time. So it means nothing wrong with the PCI-e adapter or the wireless card.
Keen to investigate further, I put back in the ethernet card to recreate the same power on issue. While the system was powered on and not booting, I noted that the Ethernet port on the ethernet card and the ethernet port on the motherboard (which is not functional under AmigaOS4 as yet) were flashing green slowly even though neither card had a cable attached. I have no idea what this means, but I do know that when it happens the system doesn't boot.
It seems that the X1000 does not like having three network adapters running in the system at the same time...(although the onboard cannot be used so I have no choice about that one!)
Lesson learned, I removed the PCI ethernet card again, left the wireless PCI card installed and powered on so I could get on with configuring the wireless driver and network settings in AmigaOS4.
The prism2 wireless driver can be downloaded from OS4Depot.net and it supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 which is great news for X1000 owners. Last time I looked at the prism driver it only supported WEP so I was excited to give it a go on my WPA secured Wireless network.
Once I downloaded and extracted the prism2 driver to RAM, I then get the following folder, ready to double click Install to get started:
The installation is a typical Amiga Installer, but includes some steps to allow you to configure the wireless settings for your network:
Now the installer prompts to set your Wireless SSID and WPA passphrase. Please note that by default it assumes your network is WPA:
As a final step the installer tells you that you need to modify your s:startup-sequence to add a line before AddNetInterface is called:
What it doesn't tell you is that the s:startup-sequence DOES NOT contain this line!
On investigation I found that the line it refers to is actually in s:Network-Startup
The Network-Startup file is called from the startup-sequence. So I modified the network-startup file to add the line required:
Next I needed to add the new network card to the Internet settings in Prefs. After opening the Internet settings in the Prefs drawer, under Interfaces I click Add to add a new card with the settings shown below. It is necessary to browse to the devs:networks folder to find the prism2.device driver. I set the static IP address as it didn't give me the option to select DHCP:
You can ignore the Network Log window shown above at this point. It is complaining because I removed the PCI Ethernet card. After clicking on Use for the new network interface I then get the setup shown below:
After clicking Save it prompts you if it is ok to restart the TCP/IP stack to reinitialise the network interface with the new settings:
I clicked Yes and...it didn't work:
I rebooted and got the same result - Device failed to open....Sigh.
So next I checked the Prism2 documentation again and discovered a bad thing...My NetGear 311 Wireless card is not a MA311 card but a WPN311 card. So it won't work!!!! In my excitement to try it out I didn't pay close attention to the exact model - my fault and I wasted quite a few hours by this stage on it to find that out!
Frustrated by this stage and with no other wireless PCI card to try I gave up. I removed the Wireless config, restored the Ethernet PCI card and removed the Wireless card getting my network access back again!
One important rule I learnt from all this - check the revision model of the card you are planning to use in the prism2 installation guide...I thought mine was supported and it turned out it wasn't...I aim to get another prism2 compatible wifi pci card model and try again in another blog entry soon!