Red Hat is no longer able to responsibly support the ipw3945 wireless laptop network driver to the full levels of service, as the upstream company responsible for that driver has suspended maintenance efforts on the driver.
Red Hat, following the guidance of the company responsible for the driver has migrated over to the iwl3945 driver (first introduced in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3). Ongoing maintenance of driver issues associated with the 3945 hardware will be provided on the iwl3945 driver. All fresh/full installations of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 on systems with 3945 hardware will install the iwl3945 driver.
Red Hat continues to provide the ipw3945 driver in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 as a migration convenience. It is recommended that customers transition to the iwl3945 driver. Refer to the Red Hat Knowledgebase for details on how to transition if you are doing an update install from a system that had its full installation prior to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4.
Customers who report issues with the ipw3945 driver may be referred to migrate to the iwl3945 driver for resolution. For example, there are known issues connecting to VPN concentrators present in the ipw3945 driver which are resolved in the iwl3945 driver.
the use of the iwl3945 driver requires installing the iwl3945-firmware package from the supplementary RHN channel. Package version 18.104.22.168-2 or later is required. (ie iwl3945-firmware-22.214.171.124-2 or later)
Additionally, the device name, for example as it appears in the output of the `ifconfig` command appears as eth0 (or eth1) when using the ipw3945 driver, when using the iwl3945 driver it is identified as wlan0.