Saturday, May 21, 2011

Getting Netgear WNDA3100(v2) to work on Ubuntu 11.04

After struggling with this myself I decided to contribute to greatness that is the Internet, since I saw many people having the same problem and different solutions being offered online, that not everyone seem understood.

The key with the installation is that you need to let windows create the necessary files and then make them compatible with linux, which is done by using ndiswrapper.

This is written for absolute Linux beginners so advanced do not complain.
  1. Getting your .sys and .inf files (Done on Windows)
    • Since most Linux noobs like myself come from Windows I assume you have installed the adapter on a windows system. Navigate to your Program Files directory (on windows) and look for the NETGEAR folder. Look for the Windows 2000 or XP folder and copy all the files in there.
    • If you do not have access to a windows systems to extract the driver files, there is a way to do this directly in Ubuntu by using 'wine'. Since this requires more handling on the Ubuntu system and since this is written for absolute beginners I will not discuss that.
  2. Getting the ndiswrapper package files
    • These files can be found here. You need all three.
  3. Place the files on your Ubuntu system
    • After you got the files place them in a folder on you Ubuntu system. Note that the driver files will need to stay their permanently so chose a place you will not remove later.
  4. Installing the ndiswrapper packages
    • Open your terminal window. There are several ways to do this. The easiest is pressing Ctrl+Alt+T. For more ways look here.
    • Navigate to your directory where you located the ndiswrapper files using the 'cd' command.
    • Execute the following linux commands:
      sudo dpkg -i ndiswrapper-common
      sudo dpkg -i ndiswrapper-utils-1.9
      sudo dpkg -i ndisgtk
      Make sure you do it in this order. If you get any errors check the
      names used after the  '-i' command, since you perhaps gave your files a
      different name or the download server did.  
  5. Installing the drivers on Ubuntu
    • Navigate to your System Settings (Top right corner) and look for Windows Wireless Drivers. This can also be done by Applications-->System-->Windows Wireless Drivers.
    • Enter your password and then use the menu to navigate to the .inf file (step 1) that you stored on Ubuntu to instal the driver.
  6. Verify the installation
    • Access your terminal again and type: sudo lshw -C network. Next to your Ethernet interface, you should now see something like this: 
    • -network
             description: Wireless interface
             physical id: 1
             logical name: wlan0
  7. Configuring your Wireless Network
    • Navigate to your Network Manager by clicking one of the icons at the top right corner. Here you can now select the desired network and configure this. You can use the same data aas you used under Windows.
Hope this ends everyones quest for the WNDA3100(v2) under Ubuntu adapter solution.


  1. i was able to get to step 6, which is that i could see my driver being installed correctly. but when i run lshw -C network, i dont see the wlan0 entry. any thoughts why?

    1. I have the same issue, I installed it via command line and when i issue ndiswrapper -l, it tells me:
      bcmwlhigh6: driver installed
      device (0846:xxxx) present.

      However ip addr, iwconfig or lshw commands don't show the wlan. Any ideas why??

  2. also, one other question - were your .inf and .sys files named bcmwlhigh6.inf and bcmwlhigh6.inf? i got these files from Windows 7; if these happen to be 64 bits, i will (really) appreciate if you can attach your 32-bit versions. this problem has been quite frustrating to say the least.

    thx much, nitin

  3. Hi nitin,

    I should have mentioned that this was only tested using 32 bit drivers from windows and a 64 bit setup with Ubuntu. Since I am on holiday right now I can't access the drivers. They should be named bcmwlhigh5.inf (notice the 5).

    You could ask for the drivers on the forums that discuss this problem or simply install the adapter on a 32 bit system.

  4. i have the same problem, except that i am trying to get a fully working copy on a flash drive so i can demo it.... i need a collection of wireless drivers, most times ubuntu will automatically get proprietary drivers. i have windoes 7 64 bit. and nitin, are you running 64 bit linux? you can downlad the iso and the pendrivelinux thing from ubuntu's site. you can upgrade to 64 bit, as ling as it's compatible. i have done it before. i am currently running the newest ubuntu 11.10 64 bit.

  5. download* long* by demo i mean get people to download ubuntu. sorry for my awful grammar.

  6. Did it continue working on Windows after ?

  7. Anyway to get it to work without ndiswrapper?

    1. Not really, the whole idea of ndiswrapper is to easily convert windows drivers to linux environment.

      Right on the spot I would say the alternative is to write the drivers yourself, however is hardly worth the trouble compared to the ease of ndiswrapper.

  8. ubuntu don't "see" my wireless key ...i arrive to step 6 but nothing happened...can u help?
    sorry for my english i'm italian

  9. I'm using backtrack5 r3 32bit when I run windows wireless drivers I get the error
    Module ndiswrapper not found is the ndiswrapper module installed
    What am I missing or doing wrong

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  12. None of these work with this Netgear suggest buy a Linux supported USB wireless


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