Atheros IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n wireless
athn* at cardbus?
athn* at pci?
athn* at uhub? port ?
athn driver provides support for a
wide variety of Atheros 802.11n devices, ranging from the AR5008 up to the
The AR5008 (codenamed Owl) is the first generation of Atheros 802.11n solutions. It consists of two chips, a MAC/Baseband Processor and a Radio-on-a-Chip. The MAC/Baseband Processor can be an AR5416 (PCI and CardBus form factors) or an AR5418 (PCIe Mini Card form factor). The radio can be an AR2122, AR2133, AR5122 or an AR5133 chip. The AR2122 chip operates in the 2GHz spectrum and supports up to 2 transmit paths and 2 receiver paths (2T2R). The AR2133 chip operates in the 2GHz spectrum and supports up to 3 transmit paths and 3 receiver paths (3T3R). The AR5122 chip operates in the 2GHz and 5GHz spectra and supports up to 2 transmit paths and 2 receiver paths (2T2R). The AR5133 chip operates in the 2GHz and 5GHz spectra and supports up to 3 transmit paths and 3 receiver paths (3T3R).
The AR9001 (codenamed Sowl) is a Mini-PCI 802.11n solution. It consists of two chips, an AR9160 MAC/Baseband Processor and an AR9103 or AR9106 Radio-on-a-Chip. The AR9103 chip operates in the 2GHz spectrum and supports up to 3 transmit paths and 3 receiver paths (3T3R). The AR9106 chip operates in the 2GHz and 5GHz spectra and supports up to 3 transmit paths and 3 receiver paths (3T3R).
The AR9220, AR9223 and AR9280 (codenamed Merlin) are the first generation of Atheros single-chip 802.11n solutions. The AR9220 and AR9223 exist in PCI and Mini-PCI form factors. The AR9280 exists in PCIe (DT92), PCIe Mini Card (XB92), half Mini Card (HB92) and USB 2.0 (AR9280+AR7010) form factors. The AR9220 and AR9280 operate in the 2GHz and 5GHz spectra and support 2 transmit paths and 2 receiver paths (2T2R). The AR9223 operates in the 2GHz spectrum and supports 2 transmit paths and 2 receiver paths (2T2R).
The AR9281 is a single-chip PCIe 802.11n solution. It exists in PCIe Mini Card (XB91) and half Mini Card (HB91) form factors. It operates in the 2GHz spectrum and supports 1 transmit path and 2 receiver paths (1T2R).
The AR9285 (codenamed Kite) is a single-chip PCIe 802.11n solution that targets the value PC market. It exists in PCIe half Mini Card (HB95) form factor only. It operates in the 2GHz spectrum and supports a single stream (1T1R). It can be combined with the AR3011 chip to form a combo WiFi/Bluetooth device (WB195).
The AR9271 is a single-chip USB 2.0 802.11n solution. It operates in the 2GHz spectrum and supports a single stream (1T1R).
The AR2427 is a single-chip PCIe 802.11b/g solution similar to the other AR9280 solutions but with 802.11n capabilities removed. It exists in PCIe Mini Card form factor only. It operates in the 2GHz spectrum.
The AR9227 and AR9287 are single-chip 802.11n solutions that target mid-tier PCs. The AR9227 exists in PCI and Mini-PCI form factors. The AR9287 exists in PCIe half Mini Card (HB97) and USB 2.0 (AR9287+AR7010) form factors. They operate in the 2GHz spectrum and support 2 transmit paths and 2 receiver paths (2T2R).
The following table summarizes the supported chips and their capabilities.
These are the modes the
athn driver can
- BSS mode
- Also known as infrastructure mode, this is used when associating with an access point, through which all traffic passes. This mode is the default.
- Host AP
- In this mode the driver acts as an access point (base station) for other cards.
- monitor mode
- In this mode the driver is able to receive packets without associating with an access point. This disables the internal receive filter and enables the card to capture packets from networks which it wouldn't normally have access to, or to scan for access points.
athn driver can be configured to use
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA-PSK and
WPA2-PSK). WPA is the current encryption standard for wireless networks. It
is strongly recommended that WEP not be used as the sole mechanism to secure
wireless communication, due to serious weaknesses in it. The
athn driver relies on the software 802.11 stack for
both encryption and decryption of data frames.
The transmit speed is user-selectable or can be adapted automatically by the driver depending on the number of hardware transmission retries.
For USB devices, the driver needs at least version 1.1p4 of the following firmware files, which are loaded when an interface is attached:
A prepackaged version of the firmware can be installed using fw_update(1). Firmware source code is available under a mix of BSD and GPLv2 licences. A port which cross-compiles the firmware can be found in /usr/ports/sysutils/devel/open-ath9k-htc-firmware.
The following example scans for available networks:
# ifconfig athn0 scan
The following hostname.if(5) example configures athn0 to join network “mynwid”, using WPA key “mywpakey”, obtaining an IP address using DHCP:
nwid mynwid wpakey mywpakey dhcp
The following hostname.if(5) example creates a host-based access point on boot:
mediaopt hostap nwid mynwid wpakey mywpakey inet 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0
- athn0: device timeout
- A frame dispatched to the hardware for transmission did not complete in time. The driver will reset the hardware. This should not happen.
- athn0: radio is disabled by hardware switch
- The radio transmitter is off and thus no packet can go out. The driver will reset the hardware. Make sure the laptop radio switch is on.
- athn0: radio switch turned off
- The radio switch has been turned off while the interface was up and running. The driver will turn the interface down.
- athn0: error N, could not read firmware ...
- For some reason, the driver was unable to read the firmware file from the filesystem. The file might be missing or corrupted.
arp(4), cardbus(4), ifmedia(4), intro(4), netintro(4), pci(4), usb(4), hostname.if(5), ifconfig(8)
athn driver first appeared in
OpenBSD 4.7. Support for USB 2.0 devices first
appeared in OpenBSD 4.9.
athn driver was written by
based on source code licensed under the ISC released in 2008 by Atheros
Communications for Linux.
Anthony J. Bentley <firstname.lastname@example.org> added the open source USB firmware and its cross-compiler to the ports tree.
Stefan Sperling <email@example.com> implemented driver support for the open source USB firmware.
Support for 802.11n 40MHz channels and Tx aggregation is not yet implemented. Additional work is required in ieee80211(9) before those features can be supported.
On USB devices, the firmware limits Host AP mode to 7 concurrent clients.