NetBSD Wireless Setup

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After installing NetBSD 4, the ethernet connection worked but not the wireless. The easiest option available was a 3Com CRWE777A wireless PCMCIA card, which originally came with a PCI bridge but I’m using it as a normal PCMCIA card.

Searching around the man pages for various BSD variants showed that the wi(4) driver should work with this card. Unfortunately the NetBSD source doesn’t have a Product Id for this particular card under the PCMCIA, but it does for the PCI. Strange!

So it was a simple case of putting the Product Id into ‘pcmciadevs’:

product 3COM 3CRWE777A          0x0777 3Com AirConnect CRWE777A Wireless LAN

Then run:

make -f Makefile.pcmciadevs

which generates the correct structs in the header files.

A short kernel recompile later, making sure wi is enabled for pcmcia, and the card should be recognised on startup. Here is the dmesg output from my laptop.

wi0 at pcmcia0 function 0: <3Com, 3CRWE777A AirConnect Wireless LAN PCI Card, Version 01.02, >
wi0: 802.11 address 00:01:03:78:e6:7f
wi0: using RF:PRISM2 MAC:HFA3841 CARD:HWB3163 rev.A
wi0: Intersil Firmware: Primary (0.3.0), Station (0.7.6)
wi0: 11b rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps

If not something like this might help:

ifconfig wi0 create

On an unsecured 802.11b wireless network this should work to associate it with test-network and get you an IP. Modify the network name and IP range for you local conditions.

ifconfig wi0 ssid test-network
ifconfig wi0 netmask


I’m not sure whether this works with WPA correctly. I personally haven’t had it working but I’ll update this entry if I do. The original instructions on how to do this came from here. How to compile a NetBSD kernel is explained on the NetBSD site.