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Revision as of 17:56, 22 September 2005 by Ozi23 (Talk | contribs) (Installation)

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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



cvs -z3 \
co madwifi


  • 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 verions fit together by
iwconfig --version.

Setting up wpa_supplicant with wpa-psk.


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.

Related links