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This page describes the setup procedure for the D-Link DWL-520 E1 in Ubuntu 5.04. The instructions apply only to the E1 revision of the card. Other revisions of the card are much easier to setup (refer to HardwareSupportComponentsWirelessNetworkCards).

In Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper) the hostap drivers are included. Follow the guide, but skip installing and compiling the hostap kernel module. Also, make sure to blacklist the orinoco, orinoco_pci, and hermes drivers. See http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=1149887

Verified to work in xubuntu Gutsy Gibbon - November 24th 2007 ~Polygon


Refer to the SynapticHowto for instructions on adding new repositories and packages.

The following repositories are required:

  • standard repositories shipped with Ubuntu 5.04
  • universe

(NB: I installed all repositories listed in the Ubuntu Guide. If you do not find any packages listed below, follow the instructions in said Guide.)

The following packages are required:

  • hostap-source (revision 1:0.2.6-1)
  • hostap-utils (revision 1:0.2.6-1)
  • build-essential
  • linux-headers-XXX

Note: in this document XXX refers to the version of your running kernel. To determine the version run

uname -r 

Note: the hostap kernel module requires the kernel to have been compiled with the CONFIG_NET_RADIO option enabled. The 386 kernel shipped with Ubuntu 5.04 does not include that option; however, all other kernels do. If you have not already installed a kernel specific to your CPU you are advised to do so before using this document.

Install the hostap kernel module

Include din the hostap-source package is /usr/src/hostap-source.tar.bz2, which contais the source for the hostap kernel module.

  1. Open a terminal: Applications | System Tools | Terminal
  2. Change to root

        sudo -s 
  3. Extract the hostap source

        cd /usr/src
        tar xjvf hostap-source.tar.bz2 
  4. Change directory to just below hostap tree and build deb package

        cd /usr/src/modules/hostap-source/
        ./debian/rules binary-modules KSRC=/usr/src/linux-headers-$(uname -r) 
  5. Install the module

        cd ..
        dpkg -i hostap-modules-XXXXX.deb 

At this point the hostap kernel module has been built and installed. The module should load correctly without freezing the computer, though this has been known to happen. To load the module run

modprobe hostap 

Prepare The Firmware

The D-Link DWL-520 E1 requires 2 firmware files to be loaded. Without the firmware the card is not useable.

  1. Download the firmware into a temporary directory

        cd /tmp
        wget http://www.red-bean.com/~proski/firmware/1.8.4.tar.bz2
        wget http://www.red-bean.com/~proski/firmware/primary.tar.bz2 
    • "The above links are dead. I found the firmware here:

      http://www.netgate.com/support/prism_firmware/ May 15, 2008 ~Malangaman" Note that these were the latest files at the time this document was written. Later firmware files may be available.

  2. Extract the firmware archives

        tar xjvf 1.8.4.tar.bz2
        tar xjvf primary.tar.bz2 
  3. Create a permanent location for the firmware

        mkdir /etc/firmware 
  4. Copy only the useful firmware to the permanent location

        cp 1.8.4/rf010804.hex /etc/firmware
        cp primary/pm010102.hex /etc/firmware
        chown root:root /etc/firmware/*
        chmod 644 /etc/firmware/* 

Setup The Network Interfaces

Ubuntu 5.04 now supports specifying firmware files to load right in the interfaces file. This greatly simplifies the setup by keeping all network interface information in a single file.

  1. Load the interfaces file in an editor

        gedit /etc/network/interfaces 
  2. Specify the details for the D-Link wireless interface by placing the following at the bottom of the loaded file (you likely want to change the hostname line)

        iface wlan0 inet dhcp
            hostname your.hostname.com
            fw_primary /etc/firmware/pm010102.hex
            fw_secondary /etc/firmware/rf010804.hex
            wireless_mode managed 


Upon reboot a wireless interface (wlan0) will be created and the firmware loaded to the D-Link card. Because the default ESSID is blank it may take a while to boot; use CTRL+C to skip the Starting Networking step while booting.

After logging in, edit the network interface using the Network Settings tool (System | Administration | Networking). This tool will allow you to specify a ESSID and WEP key for the interface.


  1. On startup my computer occasionally hangs during the Starting Hotplug... Only solution I know of is to do a cold reboot of the computer (power off for 30 seconds then start again).

  2. The card is often incorrectly recognized by Ubuntu. This causes the module orinoco_pci to be loaded (and subsequently time out) during the 'Starting hotplug system' part of the boot process. To prevent this module from loading add the line


to the bottom of /etc/hotplug/blacklist.

CategoryHardware CategoryNetworking CategoryWireless

WifiDocs/Device/DWL-520vE1 (last edited 2009-08-02 02:05:39 by nr5-216-196-210-144)