Please note: This project is no longer active. The website is kept online for historic purposes only.
If you´re looking for a Linux driver for your Atheros WLAN device, you should continue here .


ath5k is a completely FOSS Linux driver for Atheros wireless cards. It is based on MadWifi and the OpenHAL. In ath5k we've gotten rid of the entire 2-module-layer HAL architecture, ath5k now just calls hardware functions directly.

We've been working on ath5k for some time (that's why you'll find ath5k_* named files inside madwifi-old-openhal and dadwifi-openhal branches) but the actual new mac80211 driver interface was put together by Jiri Slaby whose work was committed on wireless-dev's new ath5k branch. ath5k is based on madwifi-old-openhal branch and some bits of his code came from dadwifi-openhal. Jiri is now part of the MadWifi team and we are working together on advancing ath5k. ath5k is now part of the wireless-2.6 tree.


Right now we need a lot of developer help with ath5k. If you're used to the old Linux wireless driver development then the only thing you need to familiarize yourself with immediately is mac80211. cfg80211 and nl80211 work is still under development so you don't need to become familiar with them unless to you want to help advance them. As ath5k is now a driver in the wireless-2.6 git repository, we follow practices for development on linux-wireless mailing list. Below is a list of guides which you help you start hacking and contributing to ath5k.

Patches for kernel inclusion should be mailed to the linux-wireless mailing list, but we have a separate list to discuss ath5k related things and for a first review of ath5k patches:


MadWIfi is working on providing a driver for users which does not require compiling a wireless-2.6 git kernel. In the meantime if you want to help test the latest driver you will need to compile a recent kernel. If you want to get the very latest then read the hacking ath5k guide to get ath5k.

To enable ath5k, you must first enable mac80211:

Networking  --->
  Wireless  ---> 
    <M> Improved wireless configuration API 
    <M> Generic IEEE 802.11 Networking Stack (mac80211)

Please note that there is another 802.11 networking stack:

    <M> Generic IEEE 802.11 Networking Stack

You do not need this. This option enables the old SoftMAC stack we hope to kill one of these days. 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 5xxx wireless cards support

You can also get current ath5k code by downloading compat-wireless package from

For user discussion and non-developement problems there is a mailing-list ath5k-users.

Supported Chipsets

MAC chips

AR5210 (Crete)
AR5211 (Oahu)
AR5212 (Venice)
AR5213 (Hainan)
AR2414 (Griffin)
AR2415 (Talon)
AR5413 (Eagle)
AR5424 (Condor)
AR2425 (Swan)
AR2417 (Nala)

PHY chips

RF5110 (Fez)
RF5111/2111 (Sombrero)
RF5112/2112 (Derby)
RF2413 (Griffin)
RF2316 (Cobra SoC)
RF2317 (Spider SoC)
RF5413 (Eagle)
RF2425 (Swan)
RF2417 (Nala)

For more infos check out Chipsets

For updates please visit

Status (Obsolete)

For a detailed status on hw functions implementation check out Status