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This project has been deprecated by Intel in favor of the newer open-source Iwlwifi driver. The information below is old and should no longer be relied upon.

The most recent revision of the Intel Centrino platform utilizes a new generation of wireless networking device connected to the system via PCI-E, and not PCI (like the ipw2200-line used to do). Therefore, a new driver must be used. As of February 26, 2008, the project's code (Stable Release 1.2.0) depends on a binary-only, proprietary user-space-daemon communicating with the driver via sysfs. It is not possible to operate this device with Free Software exclusively at the moment. The license-terms the daemon is released under prohibit reverse-engineering of the communication-protocol; this will hopefully not hold developers outside the US, where clauses like this one are not enforceable, from re-implementing a free variant of some sort.

External Discussion

This issue already sparked discussions on the Linux Kernel Mailing List.

There is also a very revealing interview with the author of the OpenBSD driver for the 3945, in which it comes out that Intel has lied (at least by omission) about the purpose of the "regulatory daemon".


The ipw2200-drivers in kernel 2.6.15 (and possibly later) do not work with this adapter. The Intel binary driver is available, but has attracted its fair share of critics from the open source community.


A Spanish summary, but easy to understand about how to install: esDebian Forum, maxim_o message (longer)

Thinkpad topic: on ThinkPads like the Z60 that have one. remember to put the wireless switch in the on state! But you will not be able to enable the Wireless LED with Fn+F5, it is not a problem.

One more comment: if you want monitor mode (e.g for use with Kismet or other network sniffers), you need to uncomment CONFIG_IPW3945_MONITOR=y line from ipw3945-1.1.0 Makefile.


  • Fedora
  • CentOS
    • Packages: ipw3945d (i386 [1] or x86_64 [2]), ipw3945-firmware.noarch, dkms-ipw3945.noarch
    • NOTE: Add to /etc/modprobe.conf: alias eth1 ipw3945
  • Mandriva
    • In Mandriva releases 2007.0-2007.1, the kernel came with the ipw3945 module, while a possibly updated driver was provided as DKMS source and binary packages; since release 2008.0 this module is provided only as separate DKMS (per-kernel) binary and source packages, and module Iwlwifi replaced it in kernel
    • dkms package (dkms-ipw3945) can be found in contrib since release 2007.0
    • Additional Packages: ipw3945d and ipw3945-ucode are available in the (public) 'non-free' media since Mandriva 2007.1, previously they were available either for paying users, or in (non-Mandriva) PLF repositories
  • Gentoo
    • The net-wireless/ipw3945 package contains everything you need
  • Debian
    • Debian Stable (lenny) check the Debian wiki for installation instructions
    • Debian Unstable (Sid) only needs the package "firmware-iwlwifi", as the new iwl3945 is integrated into Kernel 2.6.24
    • The ipw3945 microcode is available in the firmware-ipw3945 package (currently in testing and unstable (same versions)).
    • The ipw3945 regulatory daemon is available in the ipw3945d package (currently in testing and unstable (same versions)).
    • The ipw3945 module source is available in the ipw3945-source package (currently in testing and unstable (same versions)).
    • DEPRECATED: Unofficial packages are available from Russell Stuart, Stefan Lippers-Hollmann
  • OpenBSD
    • Supported with the wpi driver in 4.0.
  • Ubuntu
    • Works out of the box in Ubuntu 8.04 - 9.10, but does not work with 10.04, see bugs [3] and [4]. These issues are likely to be on all distributions with a kernel more recent than 2.6.31 (Ubuntu 2.6.31-21).
  • ArchLinux

See also