Atheros 5xxx

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The Atheros 5xxx is a wireless chipset usually found in laptops. There are three ways of getting your wireless card working:

  • ath5k is a completely FOSS wireless driver for Atheros WLAN based chipsets. See also Atheros Ath5k Wireless Access Point.
  • ath9k is a completely FOSS wireless driver for Atheros IEEE 802.11n WLAN based chipsets.
  • MadWifi supports proprietary code (via HAL) but covers more chipsets and also supports the "master" mode (needed for building an access point).
  • ndiswrapper will use NDIS drivers for Microsoft Windows; They do not support packet injection and "master" mode.

Driver Support

Please add your devices below. The subsystem id and numeric pci id can be found using "lspci -nn".

PCI ID Subsystem PCI ID Device name Madwifi ath5k ath9k ndiswrapper (64bit)
168c:0013 168c:2051 AR5212 802.11abg NIC yes yes Not tested Not tested
168c:0013 1385:5a00 Atheros AR5001X+ Wireless Network Adapter yes Madwifi-ng yes (2.6.35-rc1) Not tested Not tested
168c:1014 1014:058a IBM ThinkPad 11a/b/g Wireless LAN Mini Express Adapter (AR5BXB6) yes yes (2.6.26-gentoo) Not tested Not tested
168c:001a 1113:ee24 Atheros Communications, Inc. AR5005G 802.11abg NIC (rev 01) yes yes (2.6.26-gentoo-r1) Not tested Not tested
168c:001c 144f:7128 Atheros Communications, Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter (rev 01) Not tested Testing (2.6.28-gentoo), yes (vanilla-sources- Not tested Not tested
168c:001c 168c:1026 AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter (rev 01) madwifi-hal yes (2.6.27) Not tested Partially
168c:001c 168c:3067 AR5006EG 802.11 b/g Wireless PCI Express Adapter (rev 01) madwifi-hal yes (2.6.27) Not tested Works with xp64
168c:0023 168c:3071 Atheros Communications Inc. AR5008 Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01) Not tested | Yes (2.6.35) Not tested yes (3.0.0)
168c:002a 1a3b:1067 ASUS notebook X51L with Atheros 9280 WiFi b/g/n (rev 01) Not tested no yes (2.6.27) Not tested
168c:002b 103c:3040 Atheros Communications Inc. AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01) Not tested Not tested yes (2.6.39) Not tested

Kernel Options (All installs)

If you intend to use the ath5k driver (Atheros 5xxx wireless cards support), you should configure your Kernel with the following options:

Linux Kernel Configuration: Required Kernel Options (2.6.25)
Networking  --->
     Wireless  --->
           <*> Generic IEEE 802.11 Networking Stack (mac80211)

Device Drivers  --->
     [*] Network device support  --->
           Wireless LAN  --->
               [*] Wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11)
                        <M>   Atheros 5xxx wireless cards support

ath5k kernel driver

The ath5k kernel module (shown unselected in the kernel configuration above) supports many Atheros chipsets. It is currently under heavy development, written by the developers and is intended to replace MadWifi.

Refer to kernel patch below to add AR242x / AR542x [168c:001c] LED support (it is tested with Thinkpad X61 Lenovo, linux-2.6.39-gentoo-r3)

File: ath5kled-patch
diff -Naur olddrivers/net/wireless/ath/ath5k/led.c drivers/net/wireless/ath/ath5k/led.c
--- olddrivers/net/wireless/ath/ath5k/led.c	2011-05-19 13:06:34.000000000 +0900
+++ drivers/net/wireless/ath/ath5k/led.c	2011-08-24 22:39:04.000000000 +0900
@@ -83,6 +83,8 @@
 	/* Dell Vostro A860 ( */
 	{ ATH_SDEVICE(PCI_VENDOR_ID_QMI, 0x0112), ATH_LED(3, 0) },
+	/* AR242x AR542x */
 	{ }

Use command from linux source folder to apply the patch:

patch -p0 < ath5kled-patch


The MadWifi drivers provide support for a wide range of Atheros devices, including some of the 5xxx range. The madwifi-hal branch that used to be required for some hardware is no longer available.


If the Windows drivers from the card manufacturer don't work with ndiswrapper, try searching the ndiswrapper wiki (Hint: Try searching for the PCI ID).