Enable channels 12 and 13 for the Intel Pro 2200BG wireless network card

For anyone who bought one of these wifi cards and was annoyed by the ommission of channels 12 and 13, there is a solution to patch the card and unlock the extra channels. The reason some Intel Pro 2200BG cards do not have the extra channels is because they are set as US cards that only allows access to wifi channels 1-11 whereas in Europe, the rull range of wifi channels 1-13 are available.

Patching the card involves changing the country code from US to EU via a Linux CD distribution and is a simple process once you have the OS. Here are the steps which I’ve put together from various other sources on the Web:

1. Download the Knoppix 4.0.2 iso Linux distribution. I found this at ftp://ftp.quicknet.nl/pub/Linux/ftp.knoppix.org/KNOPPIX_V4.0.2CD-2005-09-23-EN.iso but you may have to hunt around for it. Note that later versions of Knoppix won’t work as they don’t allow the EPROM to be properly dumped or changed. The instructions below are for Knoppix 4.0.2 only.

2. Burn the ISO to a CD with whatever you usually use for burning CD’s.

3. Reboot the system with your new Knoppix CD. For this, you need to ensure the CD (and USB if it’s a USB CD drive) is enabled as the first boot device.

4. Press enter when prompted to load Knoppix.

5. Once Knoppix has started, you need to ensure you have an Internet connection by enabling the wired network adaptor. Do this by clicking on the bottom left K cog icon and then choosing KNOPPIXNetwork/InternetNetwork card configuration to open the network configuration box.

6. Make sure your network card is connected to your router, select your network card in the list then click OK. Ensure you have a network connection by browsing to any website. If not, repeat step 5 above and choose another network adaptor.

7. Once connected, run root shell by clicking on the penguin icon in the taskbar and then choosing the root shell menu option.

8. At the command prompt, run these commands exactly as shown including the case and press enter after each one:

#mkdir /usr/tmp
#cd /usr/tmp
#wget http://fx.cz/sklad/intel/ipw2200-1.0.3.tgz
#tar xvfz ipw2200-1.0.3.tgz
#cd ipw2200-1.0.3
#sh unload
#sh load

This will load the patched drivers for the Intel Pro 2200BG and that allows you to permanently change the EPROM.

9. Locate the name of your wireless card by entering #iwconfig at the command prompt. Your wireless card will be easily identifiable as it’ll say IEEE 802.11g whilst the rest of your network adaptors will say no wireless extensions. The name of your wireless card should be something like eth0, eth1 or eth2 (mine was eth0).

10. Now we’re ready to patch the EPROM with the correct country code. At the command prompt, run these commands exactly as shown including the case and press enter after each one. The X needs to be replaced with whatever number your wireless card is as per step 9 above and don’t forget that all commands are case sensitive:

#ethtool -E ethX magic 0x2200 offset 0x4c value 0x5a
#ethtool -E ethX magic 0x2200 offset 0x4d value 0x5a
#ethtool -E ethX magic 0x2200 offset 0x4e value 0x52

11. We can now check the card has been patched correctly by typing #ethtool -e ethX replacing X with the number for your wireless card. Look at the fifth line of the resulting output, it should show something like this:

0x0040 26 38 00 0e 35 xx xx xx 00 46 00 01 5a 5a 52 00

Look at addresses 0x4c and make sure the value is 5a; look at 0x4d and make sure the value has been correctly changed to 5a; look at 0x4e and make sure the value is now 52. In the line from the EPROM dump above, the bold red values should match your card if you did everything right.

12. All done! Exit Knoppix and reboot your PC into Windows XP. You may have to reinstall the Intel Pro 2200BG drivers (I didn’t) for channels 12 and 13 to show up, if so, you can grab the latest drivers from the Intel website at http://www.intel.com/p/en_US/support/highlights/wireless/pro2200bg/.

7 Responses to Enable channels 12 and 13 for the Intel Pro 2200BG wireless network card

  1. jackylooo says:

    Thanks for this great method, I had successfully enable 12 and 13 on my ibm t42, just curious if I’d like to enable channel 14, what value should be applied, could you please advise , Thanks!!

  2. Me! says:

    If anyone is still trying this, you can get the old Knoppix iso from the University of Utah ftp server, I believe.
    I also noticed that it didn’t work on my card, which was hardware version 0.1.4
    ethtool showed the eeprom as all zeroes. I’m not sure why.
    On Knoppix 5.1 ethtool showed the eeprom contents as expected. Obviously, I couldn’t edit them with this version of the driver and that version of the Kernel.
    It seems that some versions of this card cannot work with this method, at least that’s my conclusion…

  3. OldFart says:

    Really fantastic helpful. Just made an old Laptop with a channel 1-11 restricted BG2200 working in my channel 13 WLAN. I needed more time to find out the underlying problem with channel 12-13 on the BG2200 than fixing it according to your description. Great work. Thanks so much!

  4. torob says:

    Thank you very much for a great guide. I managed to get channel 13 to work on an older laptop I have. I had some issues with Knoppix a first, just booting into a black screen. Then tried to add boot command “knoppix vga=0”, and then it booted, but would not start the graphical user interface for some reason. I downloaded the patched drivers on another computer, and put it on an USB flash drive. Then I managed to do the rest from the command line. It would likely be possible to connect to internet from the command line too, to download the patched drivers. But I found it easier to just do it on another computer, and put it on a USB flash drive. And last note, I just need to change the 0x4e value to 0x52. The two others was already correct in my case.

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