How to: Ubuntu and the Intex wireless adapter


This article is part of a series of guest posts by Garikai Dzoma on helping new users migrate successfully to the Ubuntu operating system. Garikai started using Ubuntu Linux in 2007 andis an active member of the Zimbabwe Ubuntu LoCo team.

A few months ago a friend lend me his laptop and I did what I always do; partitioned it and installed the latest Ubuntu operating system. It was a pretty old machine so the built in wireless card was no good. So I decided to do a little shopping and I was captivated by the Intex usb wireless adapter: it is cheap (about $14 in most shops) and portable (no larger than a flash disk). The downside, as I later discovered the hard way, is that this adapter requires a little tweaking to work with Ubuntu.

First and foremost it has to be understood that this is not really an Intex adapter. Intex just did the branding. The commands dmesg and lshow will quickly show that this is a Ralink chipset product specifically the RT2870 model. The driver for this model are already included in the kernel so compiling the upstream driver is not really necessary. However doing so would still work.


The problem however arises from the fact that there are actually two drivers for this adapter in the kernel which are incompatible with each other viz the community rt2870sta and the official rt2870. It is the contention of some in the Ubuntu community that the official driver contains some ugly code; I do not know what that means exactly. The result of this driver conflict is that no kernel module is loaded when the adapter is connected.

Fixing the problem.

Plug in your adapter and run the following commands in order please note that each numbered command is a single full command which should be typed continuously:

1. echo ‘install rt2870sta modprobe –ignore-install rt2870sta ; /bin/echo “1737 0078” > /sys/bus/usb/drivers/rt2870/new_id’ | sudo tee /etc/modprobe.d/rt2870sta.conf

2. sudo modprobe -rf rt2870sta

3. sudo modprobe rt2870sta

4. mesg | egrep ‘rt28|usb|Phy’

5. Now if this solution works we need to run the following command so that the driver will be loaded each time the system reboots. echo rt2870sta | sudo tee -a /etc/modules

6. Finally we need to tell Ubuntu to load the driver everytime we plug in the wireless adapter: sudo gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/10-wusb100.rules

Now copy and paste the following code into gedit. (in the following two lines. The first line is not required but it will save you a lot of headaches later when you are trying to figure out what the second line does.)

# UDEV-Rule for wusb-100v2 ID 1737:0078

SUBSYSTEM==”usb”, SYSFS{idVendor}==”1737″, SYSFS{idProduct}==”0078″, RUN+=”/sbin/

modprobe rt2870sta”

7. Then run the following command: sudo shutdown -r now

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