Linux and Ubuntu generally impresses me with the number of devices you can plug in and it just works. Installing the Edimax EW-7811UN was not one of those times. To be fair, I also had the same issue with an older model Linksys WUSB54GSC, but the form factor of the new Edimax was just too good to pass up (it bills itself as the worlds smallest wireless adaptor). No matter how hard I tried to keep the Linksys adaptor out of harms way, my kids have generally tried to find way to try to break it off in the USB slot. They take this mission very seriously although the Linksys adaptor has survived against all odds.
The nice part about the Edimax network adaptor is it does come with a set of drivers that compiles under linux but you have to download it from their web site. Actually it is based on the Realtek RTL8192C chipset so do not be surprised when you extract the driver package. Now on to the fun stuff.
Go into the directory where you extracted the drivers and build the modules:
make clean make
That should go ahead and build your modules. Next we just need to use insmod to install the module to make sure everything is working:
sudo insmod 8192cu.ko
If all went well, you should soon be able to see your wireless network and connect normally. If you are a glutton for punishment you can do this every time you start up your system to get net access going. Personally, I prefer it just to work every time I turn on the system and it just requires a few more steps:
sudo cp 8192cu.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/net/wireless sudo insmod 8192cu.ko sudo depmod -a
This will copy the newly compiled module into the kernel drivers directory and the depmod -a should add it to the module dependencies. I am thinking this will probably have to be done on every kernel upgrade until the hardware is automatically detected so I am keeping my driver’s source around in case I need to recompile and reinstall the module.
Now to see what the kids try to break next….