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WI(4) Device Drivers Manual WI(4)

wiWaveLAN/IEEE, PRISM 2-3, and Spectrum24 IEEE 802.11b wireless network device

# all architectures
wi* at pci?
wi* at pcmcia? function ?
wi* at uhub? port ?

# macppc extra attachment
wi* at macobio?

The wi driver provides support for wireless network adapters based around the Lucent Hermes, Intersil PRISM-2, Intersil PRISM-2.5, Intersil PRISM-3, and Symbol Spectrum24 chipsets. All five chipsets provide a similar interface to the driver.

The wi driver encapsulates all IP and ARP traffic as 802.11 frames, though it can receive either 802.11 or 802.3 frames. Transmit speed is selectable between 1Mbps fixed, 2Mbps fixed, 2Mbps with auto fallback, 5.5Mbps, 8Mbps, or 11Mbps, depending on hardware.

These are the modes the wi 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 as in ad-hoc mode. Cards with very old firmware revisions do not support this mode.
IBSS master
Also know as mode. In this mode the station takes on part of the role of an access point, though traffic does not pass through it to reach the other stations. When a group of stations are operating in IBSS mode, one of them must be the master, specifying the network name of the service set.
Host AP
In this mode the driver acts as an access point (base station) for other cards. Only cards based on the Intersil chipsets support this mode. Furthermore, this mode is not supported on USB devices.
ad-hoc mode
More accurately known as . This mode does not require an access point; the adapter communicates with other ad-hoc stations within range on a peer-to-peer basis. This mode is not specified by the IEEE 802.11 standard and there may be problems interoperating with adapters manufactured by different vendors.

The wi driver can be configured to use both software and hardware Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). It is strongly recommended that WEP not be used as the sole mechanism to secure wireless communication, due to serious weaknesses in it.

The Lucent WaveLAN/IEEE Silver and Gold cards as well as the Intersil and Symbol cards have support for WEP encryption. The WaveLAN Gold as well as newer Intersil and Symbol cards support 104-bit keys, the others only accept 40-bit keys. The Lucent WaveLAN/IEEE Bronze cards do not support WEP at all. See also CAVEATS below.

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

Cards supported by the wi driver come in a variety of packages, though the most common are of the PCMCIA type. In many cases, the PCI version of a wireless card is simply a PCMCIA card bundled with a PCI adapter. The PCI adapters come in two flavors: true PCMCIA bridges and dumb PCMCIA bridges. A true PCMCIA bridge (such as those sold by Lucent) will attach as a real PCMCIA controller. The wireless card will then attach to the PCMCIA bus. Wireless cards in PCMCIA slots may be inserted and ejected on the fly. A dumb bridge, on the other hand, does not show up as a true PCMCIA bus. The wireless card will simply appear to the host as a normal PCI device and will not require any PCMCIA support. Cards in this type of adapter should only be removed when the machine is powered down.

The following cards are among those supported by the wi driver:

3Com AirConnect 3CRWE737A Spectrum24 PCMCIA
3Com AirConnect 3CRWE777A Prism-2 PCI
Acer Warplink USB-400 Prism-3 USB
Actiontec HWC01170 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
Actiontec HWU01170 Prism-3 USB
Adaptec AWN-8030 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
Addtron AWA-100 Prism-2 PCI
Addtron AWP-100 Prism-2 PCMCIA
AirVast WM168b Prism-3 USB
AmbiCom WL1100C-CF Prism-3 CF
Ambit WLAN Prism-3 USB
Apacer Wireless Steno MB112 Prism-3 USB
Apple Airport Hermes macobio
ARtem Onair Hermes PCMCIA
ASUS SpaceLink WL-100 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
ASUS SpaceLink WL-110 Prism-2.5 CF
ASUS WL-140 Prism-3 USB
Belkin F5D6020 (version 1 only) Prism-2 PCMCIA
Belkin F5D6001 (version 1 only) Prism-2 PCI
Belkin F5D6060 (version 1 only) Prism-2.5 CF
Buffalo AirStation Prism-2 PCMCIA
Buffalo AirStation Prism-2 CF
Cabletron RoamAbout Hermes PCMCIA
Compaq Agency NC5004 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Compaq W100 Prism-3 USB
Corega PCC-11 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Corega PCCA-11 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Corega PCCB-11 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Corega CGWLPCIA11 Prism-2 PCI
Corega WLUSB-11 Prism-3 USB
Corega WLUSB-11 Key Prism-3 USB
D-Link DCF-660W Prism-2 CF
D-Link DWL-120 (rev F) Prism-3 USB
D-Link DWL-122 Prism-3 USB
D-Link DWL-520 (rev A and B only) Prism-2.5 PCI
D-Link DWL-650 (rev A1-J3 only) Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
ELSA XI325 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
ELSA XI325H Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
ELSA XI800 Prism-2 CF
EMTAC A2424i Prism-2 PCMCIA
Ericsson Wireless LAN CARD C11 Spectrum24 PCMCIA
Gemtek WL-311 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
Hawking Technology WE110P Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
Intel PRO/Wireless 2011 Spectrum24 PCMCIA
Intel PRO/Wireless 2011B Prism-3 USB
Intersil Prism II Prism-2 PCMCIA
Intersil Mini PCI Prism-2.5 PCI
Intersil ISL3872 Prism-3 PCI
Intersil Prism 2X Prism-3 USB
JVC MP-XP7250 Prism-3 USB
Linksys WCF12 Prism-3 CF
Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11 2.5 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11 3.0 Prism-3 PCMCIA
Linksys WUSB11 v3.0 Prism-3 USB
Linksys WUSB12 Prism-3 USB
Longshine 8301 Prism-2 PCI
Lucent WaveLAN Hermes PCMCIA
Melco WLI-USB-KB11 Prism-3 USB
Melco WLI-USB-KS11G Prism-3 USB
Melco WLI-USB-S11 Prism-3 USB
Microsoft MN510 Prism-3 USB
Microsoft MN520 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
NDC/Sohoware NCP130 Prism-2 PCI
Netgear MA111 (version 1 only) Prism-3 USB
Netgear MA311 Prism-2.5 PCI
Netgear MA401 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Netgear MA401RA Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
Netgear MA701 Prism-2.5 CF
Nokia C020 Wireless LAN Prism-I PCMCIA
Nokia C110/C111 Wireless LAN Prism-2 PCMCIA
Nortel E-mobility 211818-A Spectrum24 PCI
NTT-ME 11Mbps Wireless LAN Prism-2 PCMCIA
Pheenet WL-503IA Prism-3 USB
Planex GW-NS11H Prism-3 PCMCIA
Planex GW-US11H Prism-3 USB
Pretec Compact WLAN OC-WLBXX-A Prism-2.5 CF
Proxim Harmony Prism-2 PCMCIA
Proxim RangeLAN-DS Prism-2 PCMCIA
Samsung MagicLAN SWL-2000N Prism-2 PCMCIA
Samsung MagicLAN SWL-2210P Prism-2 PCI
Senao NL-2511CF Prism-3 CF
Senao NL-2511MP Prism-2.5 PCI
Siemens SpeedStream SS1021 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Siemens SpeedStream SS1022 Prism-3 USB
Sitecom WL-022 Prism-3 USB
SMC 2632 EZ Connect Prism-2 PCMCIA
Symbol Spectrum24 Spectrum24 PCMCIA
Symbol LA4123 Spectrum24 PCI
Syntax USB-400 Prism-3 USB
US Robotics 1120 Prism-3 USB
US Robotics 2410 Prism-2 PCMCIA
US Robotics 2445 Prism-2 PCMCIA
ViewSonic Airsync Prism-2.5 USB
Z-Com XI-725/726 Prism-2.5 USB
Z-Com XI-735 Prism-3 USB
ZyXEL ZyAIR B-200 Prism-3 USB

Note that some of the PRISM-II adapters only work at 3.3V, hence cardbus(4) support is required for those cards to set VCC correctly, even though they are really 16-bit cards.

USB support is still experimental and the device may stop functioning during normal use. Resetting the device by configuring the interface down and back up again will normally reactivate it.

Several vendors sell PCI adapters built around the PLX Technology 9050 or 9052 chip. The following such adapters are supported or expected to work:

3Com AirConnect 3CRWE777A (3.3V)
Addtron AWA-100
Belkin F5D6000 (a rebadged WL11000P)
Eumitcom WL11000P
Global Sun Technology GL24110P (untested)
Global Sun Technology GL24110P02
Linksys WDT11 (a rebadged GL24110P02)
Longshine 8031
Netgear MA301
Siemens/Efficient Networks SpeedStream 1023
US Robotics 2415 (rebadged WL11000P)

The following example scans for available networks:

# ifconfig wi0 scan

The following hostname.if(5) example configures wi0 to join network “mynwid”, using WEP key “mywepkey”, obtaining an IP address using DHCP:

nwid mynwid nwkey mywepkey
inet autoconf

The following hostname.if(5) example creates a host-based access point on boot:

mediaopt hostap
nwid mynwid nwkey mywepkey

wi0: init failed
The WaveLAN card failed to come ready after an initialization command was issued.
wi0: failed to allocate N bytes on NIC
The driver was unable to allocate memory for transmit frames in the NIC's on-board RAM.
wi0: device timeout
The WaveLAN failed to generate an interrupt to acknowledge a transmit command.

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

HCF Light programming specification.

The wi device driver first appeared in FreeBSD 3.0. OpenBSD support was added in OpenBSD 2.6.

The wi driver was written by Bill Paul <> and ported to OpenBSD by Niklas Hallqvist <>.

The original Lucent WaveLAN cards usually default to channel 3; newer cards use channel 10 by default. Non-Lucent cards vary, for instance the Addtron cards use channel 11 by default. See ifconfig(8) for information on how to change the channel.

Not all 3.3V wi PCMCIA cards work.

IBSS creation does not currently work with Symbol cards.

The host-based access point mode on the Intersil PRISM cards has bugs when used with firmware versions prior to 0.8.3 and is completely unusable with firmware versions prior to 0.8.0 and 1.4.0-1.4.2.

Software WEP is currently only supported in Host AP and BSS modes. Furthermore, software WEP is currently incapable of decrypting fragmented frames. Lucent-based cards using firmware 8.10 and above fragment encrypted frames sent at 11Mbps. To work around this, Lucent clients with this firmware revision connecting to a Host AP server should use a 2Mbps connection or upgrade their firmware to version 8.72.

Host AP mode doesn't support WDS.

Support for USB devices is buggy. Host AP mode and AP scanning are not currently supported with USB devices.

This driver does not support powersave mode.

July 11, 2022 OpenBSD-current