• RT2400/RT2401 - 11 Mbps, 802.11b, 2.4 GHz, (RT2421, RT2460)
  • RT2500 - 54 Mbps, 802.11g, 2.4 GHz, (RT2525, RT2560)
  • RT2500USB - 54 Mbps, 802.11g, 2.4 GHz, USB 1.1/USB 2.0, (RT2526, RT2571)
  • RT2600 MIMO XR - 54 Mbps, 802.11b/g, 2.4 GHz, (?, ?)
  • RT5200 - 54 Mbps, 802.11a/b/g, 2.4/5 GHz, (RT5222, RT2560)

The RT2400 and RT2500 WirelessChipsets have a GPL driver.

"Ralink worked with Mark Wallis, Ivo van Doorn, Luis Correia, Robin Cornelius and others to get a supported driver out there under the GPL". "Special thanks to Minitar, the network gear vendor with the foresight to ask Ralink to make the driver GPL".

RT2500USB adapter, Linux 2.6 / FreeBSD 6.x

James Spooner writes:

The Dick Smith USB 2.0 802.11g WLAN Adaptor (XH8344) is a RT2500USB (rt2570) adapter and work with Linux and FreeBSD.

Under Linux use the rt2570 drivers from, I believe that the rt2x00 unified drivers work - but I can't be sure - YMMV. Under FreeBSD (6.0) the Ural driver works out of the box.

NB: This device REQUIRES a USB 2.0 port to work, I have not found a machine (FreeBSD or Linux) that can use the device in USB 1.x mode, it intermittantly associates, but fails to maintain the connection.

RT2500 card, SUSE 9.3

Volker Kuhlmann writes:

Get driver source from sourceforge project "rt2400", rt2500-1.1.0-b3.tar.gz.

It needs packages kernel-source, and I had kernel-syms too. Driver compiles fine. There's only one file to copy for installation - rt2500.ko. Overwriting the SuSE-supplied one is fine.

To compile the RaConfig2500 utility, package qt3-devel (and its dependencies) and a C++ compiler are needed. One needs qmake first, it's in /usr/lib/qt3/bin/qmake and for some reason not in $PATH.

ln -s ../lib/qt3/bin/qmake /usr/bin

Compiles fine. Runs fine, too.

Version 1.1.0 beta3 is worlds better than beta1. It actually always establishes a link to the AP. It works fine, too. Configure WPA-PSK in yast, and ignore the "WPA not supported yet" by rcnetwork restart. Run RaConfig2500 and configure WPA-PSK, somewhere it stays permanently. Hence WPA-PSK works too.

The only downside is that while playing with RaConfig2500, the box locked rock-solid 3 times, and I had to engage the reset button. The whole setup looks ok at first (and second) glance, but I reserve judgement about the reliability of Ralink 2500 until later.

Debian testing/unstable users

Sources packages exist in the debian testing and unstable archive for both the rt2400 and rt2500 chipsets. This is the easy way to go for such users. The below is what I did, with the default 2.6.8 (x86) kernel:

apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.8-2-386 wireless-tools build-essential rt2400-source gcc-3.3
cd /usr/src/
tar xfvz rt2400.tar.gz
module-assistant prepare
module-assistant get rt2400
module-assistant build rt2400
#install the newly created package, note the file might be named differently
dpkg --install rt2400-2.6.8-2-386_1.2.2+cvs20050730-3+2.6.8-16_i386.deb

Now you need to update /etc/network/interfaces. This is a snipet from my interfaces file (eth1 is my wireless interface). Note you need to put your own wep key and essid in the last two lines.

auto eth1
iface eth1 inet static
up \
        /sbin/iwconfig eth1 mode Managed && \
        /sbin/iwconfig eth1 key your_key_here && \
        /sbin/iwconfig eth1 essid your_essid_here

See also: