Go back –> Atheros Linux wireless drivers
Ath5k is a completely FOSS wireless driver for Atheros based wireless chipset versions AR5xxx in the Linux Kernel. It has evolved out of MadWiFi, OpenHAL, and the open-sourced HAL code of Atheros and Sam Leffler.
AHB Bus support: Support for the AHB bus got merged. Now ath5k can be used on AR231X and AR5312 embedded devices (WiSoC). (commit)
Preparations for Turbo Mode and half/quarter rate support: Big internal update of PHY code to clean up turbo modes and reset and add half/quarter rate support (50/10MHz channel widths). These new modes are not enabled yet, and it's unlikely that there will be a standard API for enabling them in the near future, however developers/researchers can use them for various projects like 802.11p support. (first commit)
Synthesizer-only channel change for newer chips: On AR2413/AR5413 we now support faster channel switching by skipping normal reset and directly setting the channel on PHY while it's still active (commit).
Support for virtual STA and AP added: Support for up to 4 virtual APs and as many virtual STA interfaces as desired got added (commit). This feature is sometimes also called “Multi ESSID” and allows us to configure several AP and STA interfaces on top of only one physical device.
802.11e/WME/QoS support: Support for QoS/WME, using multiple hardware queues, got merged. (commit)
Hardware Encryption: Hardware encryption is enabled again, by sharing code with ath9k. Before that HW encryption was disabled in AP mode due to bugs in the ath5k key handling. (commit)
Disable ASPM L0s for all cards: This fixes problems with PCI-E cards, especially on Acer Aspire One. (commit)
ANI implementation added: Adaptive Noise Immunity (ANI) got implemented. This greatly improves performance in noisy environments. (commit)
linux-wireless is the recommended mailing list to use.
The archives for the old ath5k-devel list, which was closed in 2017, are available here.
The driver is pre-installed in most current Linux distributions. ath5k is available through different places:
To enable ath5k in the kernel configuration, you must first enable mac80211:
Networking support ---> Wireless ---> <M> cfg80211 - wireless configuration API <M> Generic IEEE 802.11 Networking Stack (mac80211)
Please note that in older kernels there was another 802.11 networking stack:
< > Generic IEEE 802.11 Networking Stack
You do not need this. This option enables the old SoftMAC which is already removed from newer kernels. You can still safely enable this though.
You can then enable ath5k in the kernel configuration under
Device Drivers ---> [*] Network device support ---> Wireless LAN ---> <M> Atheros Wireless Cards ---> <M> Atheros 5xxx wireless cards support
To try the driver you can do something like this:
modprobe ath5k sudo ip link set wlan%d up sudo iwconfig wlan%d essid any # Make sure you get auth'd and then assoc'd # Then either set an IP manually or get it via DHCP ping gw
See the ath5k device list. This list is still very much incomplete - please add your device/card if it works! A longer but less reliable list can be found at http://madwifi-project.org/wiki/Compatibility. It's worth trying your card with ath5k even though it is not in the list above, if it has one of the following chips:
MAC/Single chip solutions ------------------------- AR5210 - 802.11a (Crete) AR5211 - 802.11ab (Oahu)* AR5212 - 802.11abg (Venice) AR5213 - 802.11abg (Hainan) AR2413 - 802.11bg (Griffin Lite) AR2414 - 802.11bg (Griffin) AR2415 - 802.11bg (Talon)** AR5413 - 802.11abg (Eagle Lite) AR5414 - 802.11abg (Eagle) AR5423/4 - 802.11abg (Condor)*** AR2423/4 - 802.11bg (Condor)*** AR2425 - 802.11bg (Swan)*** AR2417 - 802.11bg (Nala) PHY ---- RF5110 (Fez) RF5111 (Sombrero) RF5112/2112 (Derby) RF5112a/2112a (Derby2)
* = AR5211 supports draft-g mode (OFDM only) but it's not supported by ath5k = We still can't find an AR2415 to test so we are not sure if it works as it should * = PCI-E Lite = No SuperA/G
Currently supported PCI ID list with respective status report on basic-testing as defined above.
Vendor:device Type Name Basic-testing 168c:0207 AR5210 AR5210 No tx - working on it 168c:0007 << << No tx - working on it 168c:0011 AR5211 AR5211 Should work 168c:0012 << << OK 168c:0013 AR5212 AR521/3 OK a727:0013 << << Should Work 10b7:0013 << << << 168c:0014 << << << 168c:0015 << << << 168c:0016 << << << 168c:0017 << << << 168c:0018 << << << 168c:0019 << << << 168c:001a << AR2413/4 OK 168c:001b << AR5413/4 OK 168c:001c << Condor OK (*) 168c:001d << AR2417 OK
“OK” means that card operates as good as with binary drivers.
“Should work” means that card hasn't been tested (we haven't received any reports) but since chipset is the same with a tested, working card, it should work as well.
(*) 001c is used also for AR2425 parts.
Supports 802.11abg, depending on the chipset. This driver requires no firmware or binary-only HAL!
* We don't plan on supporting XR mode nor dynamic 20/40MHz turbo mode supported by hw.
Developers are encouraged to work using the git repository. If you are not familiar with git please check out our Linux wireless git-guide and the description of the development process. Alternatively you can use the Linux wireless compatibility package but please be sure to post patches in unified diff format (diff -u). To learn how to submit patches please read our Submitting patches guideline.
Read this section on Atheros specifications and documentation.
ath5k uses the common shared ath.ko module.
We have kerneldocs available for ath5k:
This is a collection of bug reports both unresolved and resolved to help users track issues and to find patches for fixes which have not yet been merged.
Please when submitting a bug report always include your card's silicon revision for MAC and PHY chips, just look at your kernel log for a line like this one… or
dmesg |grep "ath5.*chip"
ath5k phy0: Atheros AR2413 chip found (MAC: 0x78, PHY: 0x45)
…and put it in your report.
information is much less useful than this.
Things ath5k developers are currently working on, and other things to do: