Atheros Chips get Linux Support

By Eric Griffith

July 23, 2003

Linux and FreeBSD drivers are now available for manufacturers looking to make cards, access points or routers using Atheros Wi-Fi chips with an open source backend.

Chipmaker Atheros Communications of Sunnyvale, Calif., today announced that the first Linux and FreeBSD software drivers for its 802.11b/g and 802.11a/b/g chips are available.

The software, created by developer Sam Leffler of Errno Consulting, is free for download. The Linux driver, called MADWIFI (short for Multiband Atheros Driver for Wi-Fi) is located at OSDN's; the FreeBSD driver is part of the FreeBSD operating system found at

Atheros says the MADWIFI Linux driver is meant to be the beginning building block for manufacturers who want to make products -- NICs, access points, or router/gateways -- with Linux as the core OS.

All generations of Atheros's 11g and dual-band 802.11a/g chips (which both support 802.11b via backward compatibility in the 11g specification) will work with the drivers.

In the company release developer Leffler says that open source developers "have been hamstrung by limited access to wireless technology. Now that these drivers are available, we'll no longer be constrained to use legacy hardware."

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