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Thread: Alpha Network AWUS036H rtl8187 chipset in managed mode

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  1. #1
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    Default Alpha Network AWUS036H rtl8187 chipset in managed mode

    First of all, I have installed BT2 my IBM T42 on a triple boot setup with XP and Ubuntu using the XP boot loader to boot into XP itself or grub (which is installed on the boot partition of the Ubuntu install) which then gives the choice of Ubuntu or BackTrack2 (which resides on two partitions, one for '/boot' and the other for '/', the swap partition is shared with the Ubuntu install).

    The onboard ethernet is an Intel PRO/1000MT and I have installed a 400mw Atheros AR5006XS wireless card to replace the junk that was in there to start with and I have a 500mw Alpha Network AWUS036H usb wifi dongle for those extra long range connections. The Alpha has the rtl8187 chipset which is now supported on BT2 Final.

    I have kismet and the aircrack suite running ok. Everything appears to work as I would expect. Injection is working and I have successfully cracked a test networks wep key that I set up without any clients connected - two seperate attacks using the Atheros card and then the Alpha. Now comes the "but". I am having problems with my Alpha Network AWUS036H (wlan0) usb wifi dongle in managed mode. There are various failures on setting parameters with iwconfig:

    iwconfig wlan0 essid testlan

    would set the essid of wlan0 to "testla" - ie, missing the last character and obviously the connection fails because of the incorrect essid. This can be bodged by making the essid "testlan1" then iwconfig wlan0 reports it as "testlan" and I can then connect (when the network is open).

    if I try to set a wep key:

    iwconfig wlan0 key 0011223344

    I get

    Error for wireless request "Set Encode" (8B2A) :
    SET failed on device wlan0; Operation not permitted.

    with a dmesg output of:

    rtl8187: Setting SW wep key
    wlan0: could not initialize WEP: load module ieee80211_crypt_wep

    Most of the other iwconfig commands: nwid, nick, freq, txpower etc. also fail with their corresponding error codes.

    Some thoughts:

    From dmesg:

    wlan0: could not initialize WEP: load module ieee80211_crypt_wep

    Is this module being loaded by iwconfig? Should it be loading ieee80211_crypt_wep-rtl.ko instead?

    When I plug in the Alpha, the r8187, ieee80211_rtl and ieee80211_crypt_rtl modules are loaded into the kernel and when I issue the 'iwconfig wlan0 key 1122334455' command the ieee80211_crypt and ieee80211_crypt_wep modules are loaded as well.

    I replaced all the ieee80211 files in

    /lib/modules/2.6.20-BT-PwnSauce-NOSMP/kernel/net/ieee80211/

    with renamed ieee80211-rtl files from

    /lib/modules/2.6.20-BT-PwnSauce-NOSMP/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/rtl8187/

    and now ONLY ieee80211_crypt_wep_rtl gets loaded and the 'iwconfig wlan0 key 1122334455' works fine. I can now (with the essid last character bodge) connect to a WEP encrypted access point with the Alpha. My guess is that iwconfig gets the key command and looks to see if ieee80211_crypt.ko is loaded and if not it loads it and then same with ieee80211_crypt_wep.ko I would assume it reads the .ko file for the module name since sometimes the .ko file on disk has a different name to the module name when the .ko file is loaded. So I do think iwconfig is looking for and then loading the wrong ieee80211_crypt modules.

    The missing last char problem is alledgedly: 'related to the version of the wireless extensions in the kernel and the wireless_tools version used to configure the interface. The method for sending the essid to the kernel has changed recently'.
    Apparently it needs to be updated to handle the case that no '\0' character has to be present anymore. I've upgraded wireless tools from version 28 to 29-pre17 (beta) but it still loses the last character of the essid. It must be the rtl8187 driver not interpretting the essid being passed to it correctly (even though all the 'iwconfig --version' numbers now match - they didn't before the upgrade) as iwconfig returns the right essid with the atheros card in the same machine.

    This is as far as I have got so far. Am I on the right track with the iwconifg loading the wrong modules and also the last char problem being down to the rtl8187 driver itself. Any help or thoughts greatly appreciated.

    <EDIT>

    Ubuntu removed and Slackware installed instead, makes a tad more sense

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Nov 2006
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    Default

    Yes this usb device is really good. But the drivers seem buggy as hell.

    My post (number 6 in the thread below) shows how far I have got if it's any help.

    http://forums.remote-exploit.org/showthread.php?t=5940

  3. #3
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    Yep same problem exept i have the Netgear wg111v2 which has the same chipset. I have never been able to get it in to managed mode but injection and monitor work great...

  4. #4
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    Do you have any of the problems I have, ie. only being able to associate once before having to plug out then in the device etc etc?

    If so, did you fix them and how!?

  5. #5
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    pilotsnipes, if I were you I would try a hd install or at least without vmware as airmon-ng works exactly as I would expect with my Alpha, as indeed does airodump-ng and airecrack-ng etc. vmware can cause weird problems sometimes.

    Also, airoscript is fine when the rest of the system is working properly but I would definately do everything manually using iwconfig, ifconfig, and the seperate aircrack-ng tools. The online documentation for the aircrack suite is superb and had everything I needed.

    either

    airmon-ng stop wlan0

    or

    iwconfig wlan0 mode managed

    puts my Alpha back into managed mode without any problems. Like I said in my first post, the only problems I have is that I cannot set a wep key or a correct essid with BT2 "out of the box". To get the Alpha to associate to a wep protected network boot the machine without the Alpha plugged in then goto this directory:

    /lib/modules/2.6.20-BT-PwnSauce-NOSMP/kernel/net/ieee80211/

    and backup the 5 .ko files in that folder somewhere and copy the corresponding 5 .ko files from this directory:

    /lib/modules/2.6.20-BT-PwnSauce-NOSMP/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/rtl8187/

    then just rename the files so they are the same as the original 5 .ko files by removing the "-rtl" part from names of the 5 files you just copied. This only needs to be done once. You can now plug the Alpha in and set the essid you need with iwconfig, eg:

    iwconfig wlan0 essid testlan1

    when you need the essid to be "testlan" as the last charcter is lost. Set the wep key with:

    iwconfig wlan0 key 0011223344

    for a 64 bit wep key of 00-11-22-33-44. Obviously use your own key. I am assuming other key strengths (EDIT:> I can also connect to 128bit wep, so this works </EDIT>) and wpa will work (now the right kernel modules are being loaded ???) although I haven't tried them yet. Use:

    ifconfig wlan0 up

    to get the Alpha up and:

    dhcpcd wlan0

    to get connected (assuming you are using dhcp). As you would expect the GUI Wireless Assistant still won't work with the Alpha, I assume its the last character problem. Don't use the dhcpcd command before the Alpha is up - ie. visible after you type ifconfig or you will need to unplug the Alpha for a moment and then plug it back in and enter the 4 commands again.

    There is also a new wiki at sourceforge.net with some interesting stuff but I'm not allowed to post the URL yet. Search for "Realtek Linux wireless driver" and when the page is found click on project then click on web site.

  6. #6
    Just burned his ISO
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    thanks for the post timstewart

  7. #7
    Just burned his ISO J_dillinger's Avatar
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    Default Is this really the Adaptor I want to buy?

    I have been looking for a USB wireless to work with backtrack and sofar the Alpha Networks AWUS036H seems the best. I am lloking for an adaptor with a high gain antenna and preferably will work out of the box or with some minor driver additions as I'm running backtrack off of a flash drive.

    At this point I'm open to suggestions about this device or any other device that might work better.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    I have been looking for a USB wireless to work with backtrack and sofar the Alpha Networks AWUS036H seems the best. I am lloking for an adaptor with a high gain antenna and preferably will work out of the box or with some minor driver additions as I'm running backtrack off of a flash drive.
    Then look no further, the AWUS036H is the best, and fully supported out of the box in BT3.
    -Monkeys are like nature's humans.

  9. #9
    Just burned his ISO J_dillinger's Avatar
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    Default Does it work in backtrack2

    I'm getting bt3 beta, but my flash is running bt2 and I just got it comfotable to work with and moved all my c libraries. I could rebuild it, but I like it. Will it work with backtrack 2?

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