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IPW(4) Device Drivers Manual IPW(4)

ipwIntel PRO/Wireless 2100 IEEE 802.11b wireless network device

ipw* at pci?

The ipw driver provides support for the Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 Mini PCI network adapter.

These are the modes the ipw driver can operate in:

BSS mode
Also known as mode, this is used when associating with an access point, through which all traffic passes. This mode is the default.
IBSS mode
Also known as mode or mode. This is the standardized method of operating without an access point. Stations associate with a service set. However, actual connections between stations are peer-to-peer.
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.

The ipw 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 ipw driver relies on the software 802.11 stack for both encryption and decryption of data frames.

The ipw driver can be configured at runtime with ifconfig(8) or on boot with hostname.if(5).

The driver needs at least version 1.3 of the following firmware files, which are loaded when an interface is brought up:


These firmware files are not free because Intel refuses to grant distribution rights without contractual obligations. As a result, even though OpenBSD includes the driver, the firmware files cannot be included and users have to find these files on their own. The official person to state your views to about this issue is

A prepackaged version of the firmware can be installed using fw_update(1).

The following example scans for available networks:

# ifconfig ipw0 scan

The following hostname.if(5) example configures ipw0 to join network “mynwid”, using WPA key “mywpakey”, obtaining an IP address using DHCP:

nwid mynwid wpakey mywpakey

ipw0: device timeout
The driver will reset the hardware. This should not happen.
ipw0: error N, could not read firmware ...
For some reason, the driver was unable to read the firmware image from the filesystem. The file might be missing or corrupted.

arp(4), ifmedia(4), intro(4), netintro(4), pci(4), hostname.if(5), ifconfig(8)

The ipw driver first appeared in OpenBSD 3.7.

The ipw driver was written by Damien Bergamini <>.

July 15, 2018 OpenBSD-6.4