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Netgear WNDA3100 USB in Ubuntu

This is a HOW-TO on getting the Netgear Wireless WNDA3100 USB Adapter working in Ubuntu.

At work we are switching all computers over to Ubuntu OS. On one HP system with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS now installed, we wanted internet access, but only on a temporary basis to perform updates or install programs from the Ubuntu Software Center.

Since we did not have an ethernet cable to this computer, the quickest way to connect to the internet would be a USB wi-fi adapter which we already had. After plugging it into our Ubuntu system, nothing happened. We needed a driver. Here is how to get it going....

Open the Synaptic Package Manager (System - Administration) and do a search on "ndiswrapper" and install the three items as in the photo below.  Those are: ndisgtk, ndiswrapper-utils-1.9, and ndiswrapper-common.

click image for larger size

Now that those are installed you'll need to download one or both of these Netgear drivers...

ndis_wnda3100.zip  (158 kb)
ndis_bcmwl.zip (861 kb)

The first driver works for many people, but did not work for us. We had to download the second one and use the second one. Unzip both of those ZIP files. You are going to use the .inf files in each.

OK, you have installed those three ndis items in Synaptic and you have downloaded one or both of the ZIP files, unzipped them and now have the .inf files someplace easy to get to like on your Desktop.

To get the driver going, plug in your USB wireless adapter and go up to "System - Administration" and go to the bottom of the menu list and click on the newly installed "Windows Wireless Drivers".

Click the "+ Install New Driver" button and locate your .inf file you want to install. If it says you are connected and the LED light comes on your USB (you can faintly see the glowing led on the top of the USB) then your wi-fi adapter works! If not, try installing the second .inf file and you should be good to go!

Many thanks as always to everyone on the Ubuntu Forums. If you are not yet a member, consider signing up to ask questions or help answer peoples questions.


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  1. This article is really helpful. Thanks for sharing the links of the drivers.

  2. Anonymous5:23 PM

    Excellent article and perfect timing. Worked like a charm for me!

  3. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Awesome! Thanks!

  4. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Doesnt work for me.
    I am on ubuntu 10.10


  5. Anonymous6:26 AM

    Works for me on xubuntu 10.10 - the only difference from this is instead of using Synaptic I had to go to Ubuntu Software Center and install "Windows wireless drivers", I believe this is just one step less to follow. ;-) I had an old laptop without wifi (TravelMate240) and it really helps to have no wires. ;-)

  6. Anonymous9:49 PM

    I encountered "invalid driver" if only copying ".inf" file. After adding ".sys" to the same directory of ".inf" file, I was able to make it work. Thanks.

  7. Anonymous7:11 AM

    worked for me.... after reboot

  8. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Worked for me. However, no wireless N with wpa2. Any ideas?

  9. Anonymous6:14 PM

    Try changing the security settings to wpa instead of wpa2.

  10. New at Linux12:14 PM

    A very brief and effective solution. Of all the ndiswrapper jargon to wade through, this article has what you need. Thank you!

  11. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Excellent, thank you. Works like a charm. The Ubuntu community is wonderful!

  12. Anonymous6:34 PM

    Yes, thank you. after 3 hours of work I came to this page and competed the task in 5 mins.

  13. I am so glad this has been working out for everyone!

    - iheartubuntu

  14. Worked fine for me on 11.04x86-32, but since upgrade to 64-bit, I get "invalid driver" with the first driver, and "no hardware"&hang with the second?
    Any pointers?
    Thanks guys!

  15. Anonymous7:32 AM

    Gotta Quad Proc system (Nvidia Mobo). Tells me driver is bcmwlhigh6.inf and acknowledges device present. Still doesn't work.

  16. Anonymous7:05 PM

    I am new to unbuntu and bought a wnda3100 ver 2 because I thought it would work with 11.10. I guess that is not the case. I have followed the above instructions and it tells me invalid driver any idea what I need to do to make this work.

  17. How far did you get through the instructions? Did you install the 3 items? How did that go? All are installed? Please let me know, thanks.

  18. Anonymous7:17 PM

    yeah I stumbled through it. I am typically a windows guy. Bought a Mac and now trying to hook up ubuntu for the kids since windows doesn't place nice with kids. I did install the Synpatic Package Manager and installed the three files. Put the inf's on the desktop. Then went to Windows wireless drivers and installed the drivers. It only says invalid drivers not a reason why. Thanks for the amazingly quick response.

  19. Hmmm. Have you rebooted and gone back into windows wireless drivers? What about plugging in the USB wifi and then rebooting, then going back into the windows wireless drivers to see if one of the drivers is activated. *

    You might check "additional drivers" to see if there are any updates with the USB wifi plugged in.

    * Ive noticed on some older computers that Ubuntu wont boot up, or boot up very slow with a USB wifi plugged in, so you might have to have it unplugged during boot. Try it plugged in though.

    Anyhow, Im not an expert. Your best bet would be to post to the forum link above, or ask your question on AskUbuntu.com - lots of helpful people there! From my angle I see only one reason for invalid drivers on both... #1) some sort of conflict with 11.10 as this works fine on 10.04 and 10.10. I have no idea how to overcome this, so you could either ask questions on the forums or install an earlier version of Ubuntu. to get it working. Id suggest asking for help first.

    I could walk you through testing a liveCD of Ubuntu 10.10 and see if those drivers work without installing 10.10. If they do you might consider just going back to 10.10. I have no idea if this will work on 11.04. You would need a copy of 10.10, need to locate & download the 3 needed files, and have those two drivers available to try on a livecd.