I got ralink 3290 working by installing the firmware from the kernel git repository ( http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/dwmw2/linux-firmware.git;a=tree ).

The connection seems much slower than my previous laptop? Anyone experienced such thing? Would I get a performance gain by installing manufacturer's STA file?



Are you using the rt2800usb drivers? (You can tell by doing a lsmod | grep rt). Based on my experience, these built-in drivers do not connect at full speed but randomly get slower and faster, resulting in very poor performance.

You should go to the ralink site and download the source code for the drivers. Then follow the instructions to compile and install. Note that if you are running 64-bit linux, then you are out-of-luck. This native driver freezes on 64-bit systems for linux versions > 3.3. 32-bit is fine, however.

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