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Atheros Linux wireless drivers

This page documents all Atheros Communications Linux wireless drivers.

Contribution map

We have a Google Drive spreadsheet with graphs you can view. Several formats are available:

If you'd like to contribute please contact one of the device driver maintainers.

Shared modules

Atheros drivers tend to follow a lineage of hardware families and as they progress pick things up from one family or another and sometimes keep things the same. So hardware or EEPROM layouts can share certain characteristics and the same code can be reused through different hardware families.

Shared module for Atheros 802.11 drivers:

  • ath - code that is common amongst all hardware families


For support and development for all drivers we use the #linux-wireless IRC channel on

PCI / PCI-E / AHB Drivers

Technology Upstream driver
802.11abg ath5k
802.11abgn ath9k
802.11ac ath10k
802.11ad wil6210

USB Drivers

Technology Legacy driver Upstream driver
802.11b None zd1201
802.11bg zd1211 zd1211rw
802.11abg None ar5523
802.11abgn otus / ar9170 carl9170 (carl9170.fw GPLv2)
802.11abgn None ath9k_htc

Mobile (SDIO & CF)

  • ar6k - Non-upstream GPL mobile driver, as used by OpenMoko
  • ath6kl - Reference driver from Atheros for AR600x with cfg80211 support


To help other FOSS Operating Systems, when possible, Atheros licenses their device drivers source code under a permissive license. Atheros picked the ISC License due to historical reasons, mainly that of the ath5k developers also choosing it to help share code between Linux and OpenBSD. Atheros follows this tradition to further assist not only OpenBSD but also other FOSS Operating Systems. There are a few exceptions to using the ISC license on Atheros drivers, when in doubt consult the header of the file for the respective license of the file.

As far as firmware is concerned Atheros does try to open source firmware when possible with the first release being that of ar9170.fw. When not possible (lack of resources mainly) we do try to work with the community to see if this can be done through side community work, and only if not possible at all do we release firmware as binary with a friendly standard redistributable license.

en/users/drivers/atheros.txt · Last modified: 2015/01/26 09:49 (external edit)