Posts Tagged ‘Atheros’

Atheros 802.11g PCMCIA card

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

I have a couple of no-name 802.11g PCMCIA/Cardbus cards, which I use in two different laptops, both running Debian Linux (testing). They are marked “WLB2054PCM” on the front, and “Model GL245401-1A1” and “FCC ID: 07J-GL245401-1A1” on the back.

The card is identified by cardctl as:

product info: "Atheros Communications, Inc.", "AR5001-0000-0000", "Wireless LAN Reference Card", "00"
  manfid: 0x0271, 0x0012
  function: 6 (network)

and by lspci as:

0000:02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications, Inc. AR5212 802.11abg NIC (rev 01)

The Atheros chip-set is supported by the madwifi driver, which is not a part of the standard Linux kernel, but it can be downloaded from http://sourceforge.net/projects/madwifi/. For me it compiled and installed without a hitch.

When the driver is loaded, it gives this output:

PCI: Enabling device 02:00.0 (0000 -> 0002)
ath_pci: cache line size not set; forcing 32
ath0: mac 5.9 phy 4.3 5ghz radio 4.6
ath0: 11b rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps
ath0: 11g rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps 6Mbps 9Mbps 12Mbps 18Mbps 24Mbps 36Mbps 48Mbps 54Mbps
ath0: 802.11 address: 00:03:2f:1e:33:72
ath0: Atheros 5212: mem=0x20000000, irq=3

As is evident, the card comes up as ath0, not as ethN.

The card is not known to the pcmcia-cs tools, so I had to add it manually to /etc/pcmcia/config-2.4 by adding these two stanzas:

device "atheros"
  class "network" module "ath_pci"

card "Atheros WiFi card"
  manfid: 0x0271, 0x0012
  bind "atheros"

This causes the driver to load automatically when the card is inserted into the laptop.

I had added a stanza for ath0 to /etc/network/interfaces, but the card was still not configured automatically when inserted, even if the driver was loaded. I had hotplug installed on one of the laptops but not on the other, but neither hotplug would ifup the card without some manual intervention. After some research I discovered that if I added the following to /etc/network/interfaces, hotplug would configure it automatically when it was inserted:

mapping hotplug
        script grep
        map ath0

With all this in place, the card works perfectly. I have still, after well over a month of using it continuously, to experience a problem, a dropped association or a lock-up.

UPDATE 2004-08-06:
I just updated to the latest driver, with no problem whatsoever. The output was:

wlan: 0.8.3.0 (EXPERIMENTAL)
ath_hal: 0.9.11.6
ath_pci: 0.9.3.1 (EXPERIMENTAL)
ath0: 11b rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps
ath0: 11g rates: 1Mbps 2Mbps 5.5Mbps 11Mbps 6Mbps 9Mbps 12Mbps 18Mbps 24Mbps 36Mbps 48Mbps 54Mbps
ath0: mac 5.9 phy 4.3 5ghz radio 4.6
ath0: 802.11 address: 00:03:2f:1e:33:72
ath0: Use hw queue 0 for WME_AC_BE traffic
ath0: Use hw queue 1 for WME_AC_BK traffic
ath0: Use hw queue 2 for WME_AC_VI traffic
ath0: Use hw queue 3 for WME_AC_VO traffic
ath0: Atheros 5212: mem=0x20000000, irq=3