Ovislink Airlive WL-1100AP Access Point
Ovislink Airlive WL-1100PCM PCMCIA Adapter

On this page you will a find a short guide on how to set up this wireless hardware under Linux.
I wrote it because when I searched google I found nothing about this Hardware.

All comments, suggestions etc. are welcome. Please contact me at wf-hp@gmx.net.

A few days ago I decided to get me a new toy. I bought a wireless LAN-Card together with an access-point (short AP) to avoid 20 metres of Twisted-Pair Cable lying through the corridors of my home.

I chose the Ovislink hardware, because on the box of the PCMCIA-card Linux was listed as an OS which supported the card. The manual of the AP which they allowed me to read in the shop said it had to be configured over SNMP. After doing a little research on google I found out, that chances were good this could be done with one of the programs from ap-utils. I hoped it would work, but I have to confess I would have also used Windows for the configuration, since the price was rather low and I badly wanted to have that thing.

I own a HP Omnibook XE3-GC (the old variant with the Savage-Chip) running Debian/sarge at the moment (in stable/woody the package ap-utils was not included) and a router running Debian/woody, which now got a second NIC (network interface card) to attach the AP.

Setting up the PCMCIA-Card

The WLAN-Card has a Prism2-Chip which is supported by linux-wlan-ng.
In this file I will only cover the relevant details for WLAN-Configuration. For the basics please refer to the PCMCIA-HOWTO.

I heard reports that this card also worked with orinoco_cs. I will continue to use prism2_cs since it is the 'official' driver-module offered by Ovislink, but I am interested in reports about using orinoco_cs, especially the differences to prism2_cs.

Things you need for compiling linux-wlan-ng:
- sources of linux-wlan-ng from http://www.linux-wlan.com
- sources of pcmcia-cs from http://pcmcia-cs.sourceforge.net
- sources of your linux kernel from http://www.kernel.org

For Debian-users: apt-get source linux-wlan-ng pcmcia-cs kernel-source-`uname -r`

Run ./Configure in the source-directory of pcmcia-cs.

Run ./Configure in the source-directory of linux-wlan-ng and answer the following question with yes:
Build Prism2.x PCMCIA Card Services (_cs) driver? (y/n) [y]: y

The other modules (PCI- and USB-drivers) are not needed.

Compile and install (as root) pcmcia-cs (if it is not installed yet) and linux-wlan-ng by running in both of the source-directories:
make && make install.

Add the following lines to the file /etc/pcmcia/config.opts. In case you are using Debian you can add it to /etc/pcmcia/wlan-ng.conf, since all *.conf-files in /etc/pcmcia/ are sourced from /etc/pcmcia/config.opts:

card "Intersil PRISM2 11 Mbps Wireless Adapter"
   manfid 0x0156, 0x0002
   bind "prism2_cs"

With this card-definition the card will be recognized correctly by cardmgr when it is inserted into the PCMCIA-slot and the module /lib/modules/`uname -r`/pcmcia/prism2_cs.o will be loaded.

Next you have to configure the files /etc/pcmcia/network.opts for the network-parameters of the WLAN-interface /dev/wlan0 and /etc/pcmcia/wlan-ng.opts for the WLAN-configuration itself. Both files are commented thoroughly and the names of the variables are rather self-explaining.

This is my /etc/pcmcia/wlan-ng.opts without the Comment-lines:
(YES, I changed my WEP-keys :-) )

============ Begin of File /etc/pcmcia/wlan-ng.opts ============

case "$ADDRESS" in

    #=======SELECT STATION MODE===================
    IS_ADHOC=n # y|n, y - adhoc, n - infrastructure

    #=======INFRASTRUCTURE STATION START===================

    #=======ADHOC STATION START============================
    BASICRATES="2 4"
    OPRATES="2 4 11 22"
============ End of File /etc/pcmcia/wlan-ng.opts ============

The settings for ad-hoc-mode are untested, since I have not yet found anybody for testing.

The nickname of the card can be set with the following command:
wlancfg set wlan0

This is my /etc/pcmcia/networks.opts without the Comment-lines:

============ Begin of File /etc/pcmcia/networks.opts ============
case "$ADDRESS" in
    start_fn () { return; }
    stop_fn () { return; }
============ End of File /etc/pcmcia/networks.opts ============

In my case I did not have to set a gateway because I am running a 1024bit-encrypted VPN (from www.tinc.org) over the radio-connection which is my default route.

Setting up the Access-Point

Important Note: You can configure everything under Linux. No need to boot Windows.

Some interesting facts (which took me quite some time to find in the manual):
Default-password: public
Needed Cable: straight TwistedPair-Cable when connected to a switch or hub, a crossover cable when connecting directly to a NIC (network interface card)

Download ap-utils from http://ap-utils.polesye.net/.

Compile the programs:
make && make install

Start the program ap-config.

Enter the default-IP-address of the AP (, the default-password ('public') and choose 'AP type: ATMEL'
This should connect you to the AP.
If this does not work check your network and routing settings, especially the netmask

The configuration is explained in the manual that came with the AP.

Some oddities you may encounter:

The WEP saved in the AP will never displayed, even though they were entered and saved correctly. The only thing you can to ensure encryption works is testing it with a WLAN-card and checking it with wlancfg show wlan0

The 'Privacy'-Screen will always look like this, no matter what keys you entered and saved:

One really interesting feature of ap-config is the possibility of changing the radio power output of the AP:

This scale is everything I guessed so far. If you have any more details please let me know:

decimal number in ap-config

power output


100% (whatever this means in W)





Have fun!

© 2002 by Wolfgang Fuschlberger
last update: 2002-11-24