OpenBSD manual page server

Manual Page Search Parameters

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 de facto 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, designed to be used with pkg_add(1), can be found at:

The following hostname.if(5) example configures ipw0 to join whatever network is available on boot, using WEP key “0x1deadbeef1”, channel 11, obtaining an IP address using DHCP:

dhcp NONE NONE NONE nwkey 0x1deadbeef1 chan 11

Configure ipw0 to join network “my_net” using WPA with passphrase “my_passphrase”:

# ifconfig ipw0 nwid my_net wpakey my_passphrase

Join an existing BSS network, “my_net”:

# ifconfig ipw0 netmask 0xffffff00 nwid my_net

ipw%d: device timeout
The driver will reset the hardware. This should not happen.
ipw%d: error %d, could not read firmware %s
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 was written by Damien Bergamini ⟨⟩.

June 9, 2011 OpenBSD-5.1