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Friday
Apr022010

Linksys Wireless Help

This is my last recycled blog post.  Please note Ralink has removed the RT61 driver from their website.  A Google search showed a number of sites claiming to offer archived versions of the driver, but like anything, beware of what you download from the Internet. 

I recently purchased a Linksys WMP54G 802.11g PCI Adapter ( version 4.1 ) for my Windows Vista PC. It should have been an easy install, right? It says "Certified for Windows Vista" and "Secure Easy Setup" on the box after all.

Surprise! I couldn't get it to connect with my Netgear WGT624 Wireless Router using WPA2 encryption. To spare others the hours of pain I went through yesterday in my attempt to get the card working, I wanted to document my solution to the problem.

There is nothing wrong with the hardware. The problem is with the Vista drivers provided by Linksys. The CD-ROM in my box had the most recent version of the Linksys drivers,
2.0.1.9, so updating the software online offered no solution.

My WMP54G Adapter is version 4.1, using the RT61 chip manufactured by Ralink Technology. This is important because Ralink provides their own drivers and configuration utilities for cards using the RT61 chip. Using the Ralink software, I was able to get my PC wirelessly connected to my network via WPA2.

Here is a quick procedure for installing the card:

  1. Download the RT61 Vista Driver executable from Ralink: http://www.ralinktech.com/ralink/Home/Support/Windows.html. Look for RT61 in the Version column.
  2. Run the downloaded executable. It's slow, so be patient.
  3. Power down the machine and install the WMP54G Adapter.
  4. Power up. When Vista asks you if you want it to install the drivers for the new hardware, say no.
  5. The Ralink Configuration Tool should be running in the System Tray and indicate that no hardware has been found.
  6. Use Device Manager to manually install the Ralink driver. Select Network Adapter->Ralink Technology->802.11g PCI Turbo Wireless Adaptor
  7. The Ralink Configuration Tool should now change color from red to green. Open up the utility and you should see a list of available wireless networks.
  8. Use the Windows Vista Network Tools to set up WPA2 encryption.

Hope this helps.

Since I first wrote this procedure, its entirely possible that updated drivers are available from Windows Update or Linksys, but I doubt it.  As an aside, I've updated my PC with the WMP54G to Windows 7, but haven't had a reason to setup or test wireless encrpytion using the Linksys adapter.

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