fix for wpa_supplicant breaking on ipw2200 when upgrading to 1.0.8

by nc on October 28, 2005 · 8 comments

I just upgraded the Linux kernel on my laptop to, and in the process had to upgrade the ipw2200 (Intel Wireless Drivers) to version 1.0.8. After the upgrade, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get wpa_supplicant to work – it kept returning an error saying:

ioctl[IPW_IOCTL_WPA_SUPPLICANT]: Operation not supported

I finally figured it out – the new kernel supports Wireless Extensions version 18, which support WPA natively, and the ipw2200 drivers have been updated to use these WPA calls instead of it’s own. So, you need to change the ‘-Dipw’ on your wpa_supplicant startup line to ‘-Dwext’. Once I made that change, it fired right back up – wasted a *lot* of time trying to figure it out, too!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Carl November 10, 2005 at 6:36 pm

I love you. I’m sure you can begin to guess how long I’ve spent trying to work that sodding thing out! I hate computers. Perhaps I should be a forest ranger instead.

Thanks for saving my sanity!


Michael November 15, 2005 at 9:12 pm

Thanks man. I spent a whole bunch of time of this thinking I was being stupid and I guess I was , but thanks for the info..


WaY November 29, 2005 at 2:25 pm

I love you too. Thank you very much… so much wasted time.


Bryce December 23, 2005 at 5:22 pm

Thank you thank you thank you! Luckily I found this fairly quickly, and my hair is still intact, and no computers were broken.


Aaron March 27, 2006 at 11:26 pm

Have you seen this one? I believe we have the same (or similar) laptops…Inspiron 6000. I am running the kernel with wpa_supplicant and ipw2200.

ioctl[SIOCSIWAUTH]: Operation not supported
WEXT auth param 7 value 0x1 – ioctl[SIOCSIWENCODEEXT]: Operation not supported
ioctl[SIOCSIWENCODEEXT]: Operation not supported
ioctl[SIOCSIWENCODEEXT]: Operation not supported
ioctl[SIOCSIWENCODEEXT]: Operation not supported
ioctl[SIOCSIWAUTH]: Operation not supported
WEXT auth param 4 value 0x0 – ioctl[SIOCSIWAUTH]: Operation not supported
WEXT auth param 5 value 0x1 –


nc March 27, 2006 at 11:35 pm

Aaron —

Do you have all the 802.11 options compiled into your kernel? You’ll probably need at least the following:



fenerli March 10, 2008 at 5:45 pm

I was hoping someone would have already asked this but where is the wpa_supplicant startup line?

I’m not that new to Linux so I was expecting to find it with a bit of Google and trial and error but got nothing.

# locate wpa_supplicant
( and some docs/man pages)

None of the above are any good. I also had a look at other network config files such as /etc/network/interfaces but again, nothing. If it matters, the interfaces file already specifies the wext driver and wireless works, it just needs a restart to the networking daemon every hard boot and that is where the ioctl[IPW_IOCTL_WPA_SUPPLICANT]… warning is given.


nc March 10, 2008 at 8:48 pm

wpa_supplicant is supposed to be started with the ‘’ script. On my machine, this:

# Wireless ipw3945 card
iface eth1 inet dhcp
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

..will start it with the proper config file when I run ‘ifup eth1’.


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