General Question

mrentropy's avatar

Does anyone know of a desktop wireless card that works with Windows 7 (64-bit) and Linux?

Asked by mrentropy (17188points) January 2nd, 2010

I find myself in a situation where I need to get a wireless card for my desktop. Normally this would be easy, but after spending two days doing research I’m not really getting anywhere.

I need a card that works with Windows 7 64-bit and Linux. If anyone has Windows 7 (64-bit, that’s important) and you have a working wireless card could you let me know what it is? I can figure out if it works with Linux from there.

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15 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Check the websites for whatever cards you like, to see which drivers are available for download.

mrentropy's avatar

That’s what I’ve been doing. The problem is what’s available to buy at the local stores versus which ones have Win7 drivers versus what also works in Linux. It’s quite a chore.

LeotCol's avatar

@mrentropy I’d like to know the answer to this question also, whenever I ask somebody at the local PC stores I’m met with that puzzled look universal to all untrained staff

patg7590's avatar


This card is Windows 7 compatible and it works with Ubuntu according to at least one person.

mrentropy's avatar

@jaytkay I wanted to avoid USB because most of them don’t have an antenna. I would have gone with one as a last resort, though.

@patg7590 I appear to have gotten one that works with both. I’ll have to try it out more thoroughly later, though.

@LeotCol I finally settled on a Linksys WMP54G. The software that it comes with installs on Win7; I don’t know if it’s optimal or not, but it installs. It uses the RT61PCI kernel driver in the newer Linux kernels. With some wrestling, I got it to show up there, too.

Thanks all!

dpworkin's avatar

You can also find third party drivers for that model. See if there is a DD-WMP iteration.

mrentropy's avatar

I’ll find for sure if what I have works by tomorrow. If I have a problem I’ll look for that DD-WMP. Although a quick Google didn’t show anything for it.

jerv's avatar

@mrentropy Regarding Linux compatibility, chances are that at least 37 people have already written Linux drivers for it in the ~15 hours between you asking this question and me replying, so don’t worry about that ;)

mrentropy's avatar

@jerv Oh, I wish that it were so. I had originally gotten a Netgear something-or-other that was supposed to have been supported, but those nuts had changed the chipset for the latest revision and that wasn’t supported yet.

I would have just used ndiswrapper, but Netgear (and also with this Linksys), they didn’t write 64-bit Windows drivers and you can’t use a 32-bit driver with a 64-bit ndiswrapper. I was kind of hosed.

mrentropy's avatar

I booted up in Windows at the new place and was able to connect via the wireless and performance sucks ass. It’s virtually unusable.

Before I left the old place I just cobbled together a config file for the new wireless. When I got here and went into Linux the wireless connected automatically, right away, and performance is normal (i.e. what I’m used to).

I am completely surprised by this.

jerv's avatar

@mrentropy You are surprised that the performance under a pre-SP1 release of a new Microsoft OS sucks ass? ~How can that be?

mrentropy's avatar

@jerv Everything else is working all right. Apparently it’s Linksys’ fault. RALink (who make the chipset) have a Win7 64 driver for this chipset so I’m going to give that a try.

koanhead's avatar

Unfortunately there is no way to know in advance whether a given wifi device will work with Linux. This is because (as @mrentropy notes above) manufacturers routinely change the chipset a device is based on and market it as the same device. Also, many vendors just don’t know how to do Linux support (it’s simple: publicize certain aspects of the hardware and let the community write your drivers for you :) and therefore make a terrible mess of it.
I will not buy another wireless device over the Internet unless I know it’s the same as a tested, known-good device. That means that either the manufacturer needs to use a descriptive model name with revision numbers and track all internal changes by changing the rev number, or that the vendor needs to provide me with the device’s bus ID. Good luck with the latter.
No, from now on I will pay more to buy it in the store, and insist to test it before I pay, regardless of how inconvenient the salespeople may find me.

mrentropy's avatar

I’m glad I’m back to using Ethernet.

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