From ThinkWiki
Revision as of 10:32, 16 September 2006 by Stuey (Talk | contribs) (Problems with system-config-network and Fedora Core 5)

Jump to: navigation, search

Multiband Atheros Driver for WiFi

Linux driver for 802.11a/b/g universal NIC cards - Cardbus, PCI, or miniPCI - using Atheros chip sets.

The following adapters sold by IBM use the Atheros chips:

Project Homepage (old page:



Detailed instructions can be found on the MadWiFi Wiki.

$ svn checkout madwifi-ng
  • madwifi-old:
$ svn checkout madwifi-old


  • Make sure that you've got sysctl support and the net/radio enabled (wireless extensions) in your kernel. Install the driver with make & make install
  • further more you like to install the wireless tools from wireless tools. Make sure the versions fit together by
$ iwconfig --version

Setting up wpa_supplicant with wpa-psk.

You can enable the wireless LAN status LED on your Thinkpad by following these instructions (tested on Thinkpad x60s).


in development, usable

OpenSource HAL

The "official" driver consists of an opensource wrapper with binary HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer). This HAL is not a binary firmware like with the Intel Wireless chips, but a piece of code that needs to runs in the Linux kernel. The vendors reasoning behind this is, that since the Atheros chip could be tuned to any frequency, and hence interfere with systems operating in those frequencies, that we simply need to accept this binary module.
Obviously this binary HAL is unacceptable to the Linux kernel developers, and the Atheros driver in this state will never become part of the official kernel.
Some OpenBSD developers facing the same issue, reverse engineered the binary HAL and have produced an OpenSource version. Hopefully a driver based on this might be included with the Linux kernel at some point in time, and picked up by the mainstream distributions.

Problems with system-config-network and Fedora Core 5

If you use the livna repository to install or upgrade madwifi for Fedora Core 5, it doesn't correctly update the modprobe configuration files. A bug has been filed. The quick fix is to move the lines that were in /etc/modprobe.d/madwifi into /etc/modprobe.conf and system-config-network now can configure the card.

Related links