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This FullMAC driver covers a range of older wireless cards which have varying capabilities. All the cards share a common MAC controller. They differ by firmware (supplied by Agere, Intersil or Symbol) and bus connection.

Depending on the card (and the bus it uses), you will need to load one of the following drivers:

  • airport - An Apple Powerbook/iBook internal Airport.
  • orinoco_cs - Typical PCMCIA card.
  • orinoco_nortel - PC Card connected to a PCI bus via custom PCMCIA-PCI adapter.
  • orinoco_pci - Typical card connected via PCI.
  • orinoco_plx - PCMCIA card connected to a PCI bus via a PLX bridge.
  • orinoco_tmd - PCMCIA card connected to a PCI bus via a TMD chip.
  • orinoco_usb - USB devices.
  • spectrum_cs - Driver for Spectrum24 PCMCIA cards.


WPA support is only available for Agere based cards, and requires a firmware download on startup. This support was introduced in 2.6.28.

Monitor mode may only be stable with certain firmware revisions.

supported chips

  • All the firmware variants are supported.
  • The Hermes I MAC controller is supported.
  • The Hermes II MAC controller is not supported.
  • Support for USB variants was included in kernel 2.6.35

available devices

See the orinoco device list.

Note that support for Intersil (Prism) devices is being disabled from v2.6.35. The hostap driver should be more capable for these cards. If you really need it, enable the


kernel option.



  • Station mode
  • Ad-hoc mode
  • Monitor mode
  • WEP

not working yet

  • AP mode
  • Radiotap headers in monitor mode

not supported

  • WPA2

device firmware

The driver will do its best to work with the firmware it finds on the card. This may restrict the capabilities of the card.

Firmware download to RAM is available for Symbol based spectrum_cs cards, and all Agere based cards (including the AirPort).

The spectrum_cs cards require two firmware files, symbol_sp24t_prim_fw and symbol_sp24t_sec_fw. Extraction tools (for Windows drivers) can be found in orinoco-fwutils

The Agere firmware file must be named agere_sta_fw.bin. Extraction tools (for Windows and Apple drivers) can be found in the agere_fw_utils tree. WPA support requires at least firmware v9.42. v9.48 is available from the linux-firmware tree.

The Agere based USB cards require bridge firmware, orinoco_ezusb_fw. Extraction tools can be found in orinoco-fwutils. For WPA the bridge firmware must be compatible with the v9.42 card firmware. This can be retrieved by the following commands:

unzip WLAGS51.SYS
dd if=WLAGS51.SYS of=orinoco_ezusb_fw skip=10312 count=436 bs=16

Known issues

Roaming and WPA_supplicant

Lucent/Agere firmware doesn't support manual roaming

On the Agere cards, roaming is controlled by the firmware instead of userspace. You will get the above message if userspace attempts to associate with a specific AP rather than by SSID.

If you are using wpa_supplicant use



NetworkManager uses wpa_supplicant, so the above also applies.

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