After a few hours searching for a USB wifi adapter to purchase for my Debian Squeeze based eSATA SheevaPlug last weekend, I settled on one from Amazon.
Despite the availability of numerous adapters claiming to be compatible with various versions of GNU/Linux (or ‘Ubuntu x.xx compatible’ at least), few of them work with non x86/64 versions of Debian because they require the use of non-Free firmware which is only available for those two architectures. For example, the LM Tech Wireless n adapter has the following warning on its corresponding Wiki page.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any 802.11n devices that looked like they would work with ARM versions of Debian, and it was often impossible to tell what chipset the advertised product was using (note to retailers: if the chipset cannot be easily determined then a whole market just ruled our your product!).
Therefore I reluctantly bought an 802.11b/g adapter using the RTL8187B chipset, which as far as I can tell from the Debian Wiki should work with all Squeeze architectures supported by the distribution.
It’s galling to have to pay more for an inferior product (I’ve previously purchased 802.11n adapters for £6 that worked with fedora out-of-the-box), but if the adapter works with my SheevaPlug when it arrives then all will be forgiven.
Look out for an update in the near future.
In the mean time please share your recommended Debian Squeeze ARM USB wifi adapters in the comments.
The adaptor that I purchased works perfectly with with my freedombox. A quick addition of my network password to
/etc/network/interfaces, followed by the execution of
ifup wlan0 was all that was required. The adaptor in question is labelled “LogicPro”, and can be purchased from Amazon (don’t forget to use the FSFE donation add-on if you buy one!).