NOTE: this page is for archival only, see the note at the end of the page.

Go back –> Atheros Linux wireless drivers


ath5k is a completely FOSS wireless driver for Atheros WLAN based chipsets.


2010-10-05: 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.

2010-09-28: 802.11e/WME/QoS support: Support for QoS/WME, using multiple hardware queues, got merged.

2010-09-16: 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.

2010-08-13: Disable ASPM L0s for all cards: This fixes problems with PCI-E cards, especially on Acer Aspire One.

2010-04-07: ANI: Adaptive Noise Immunity (ANI) got implemented. This greatly improves performance in noisy environments.

Hacking ath5k

ath5k is currently available through different places.

Developers are encouraged to work using the git repository. If you are not familiar with git please check out our Linux wireless git-guide. 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.

Documentation available

Read this section on Atheros specifications and documentation.

Enabling ath5k

To enable ath5k in the kernel configuration, 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

supported chips

AR5210   - 802.11a   (Crete/fez)
AR5211   - 802.11ab  (Oahu) (draft g -OFDM only- supported by hw but not by ath5k)
AR5212   - 802.11abg (Venice)
AR5213   - 802.11abg (Hainan)
AR2413/4 - 802.11bg  (Griffin)
AR2415   - 802.11bg  (Talon) (not tested)
AR5413/4 - 802.11abg (Eagle)
AR5423/4 - 802.11abg (Condor) (PCI-E)
AR2425   - 802.11bg  (Swan) (PCI-E)
AR2417   - 802.11bg  (Nala) (PCI-E)

To try the driver you can do 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

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  AR5212  OK
a727:0013       <<      <<      Should Work
10b7:0013       <<      <<      <<
168c:0014       <<      <<      <<
168c:0015       <<      <<      <<
168c:0016       <<      <<      <<
168c:0017       <<      <<      <<
168c:0018       <<      <<      <<
168c:0019       <<      <<      <<
168c:001a       <<      AR2413  OK
168c:001b       <<      AR5413  OK
168c:001c       <<      AR5424  OK (*)
168c:001d       <<      AR2417  OK

Notes on supported devices

"OK" means that card operates almost 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 RF2425 parts.

Available devices

See the ath5k device list. A longer but less reliable list can be found at


Supports 802.11abg, depending on the chipset. This driver requires no firmware or binary-only HAL!


  • Station Mode

  • Ad-Hoc Mode

  • Mesh Point Mode

  • Access Point Mode (enabled in Linux 2.6.31 and newer and in compat-wireless, can also be enabled by patching an older kernel.)

not working yet

  • 5/10MHz channels

  • Turbo (*)

  • XR (*)

  • SuperA/G (*)

* We don't plan on supporting XR mode nor dynamic 20/40MHz turbo mode supported by hw.

Atheros common module

ath5k uses the common shared ath.ko module.

ath5k kerneldoc

We have kerneldocs available for ath5k:

PCI-E: Eliminating `ath5k: unsupported jumbo` bug

There is a hardware bug on some adapters, such as Atheros 5007EG on Acer Aspire One netbook. Connection may drop suddenly or work instable, dmesg shows: ath5k: unsupported jumbo. The reason is a result of poor hardware ASPM support. It is a hardware bug that is worked around in windows driver by disabling PCIE ASPM L0S.

There's a solution - turn ASPM L0S off manually for this device.

1. Download enable-aspm

2. Get your root complex:

$ lspci -tv 
+-1c.2-[0000:03]----00.0 Atheros Communications Inc. AR5001 Wireless Network 

So root complex is 00:1c.2

3. Get your endpoint:

$ lspci 
03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR5001 Wireless Network 
Adapter (rev 01)

The endpoint is 03:00.0 

4. Now you need to edit your enable-aspm

# You just need to modify these three values: 



5. Now executing:

vo-one <at> acerone:~$ sudo bash enable-aspm 
[sudo] password for vo-one: 
Root complex: 
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 3 (rev 
0x50 : 0x43 --> 0x42 ... [SUCCESS]] 
L1 only 

03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR5001 Wireless Network 
Adapter (rev 01) 
0x70 : 0x4B --> 0x4A ... [SUCCESS]] 
L1 only 

6. Making the script executed at system startup:

sudo chmod +x enable-aspm
sudo cp enable-aspm /usr/bin

Then add a line "enable-aspm" into your /etc/rc.conf before the line "exit 0;" to make the script executed at the system startup.

UPDATE (08/08/2010): With recent wireless-testing ASPM will now automatically be disabled by the driver, so there is no need to do it manually.

Reported bugs on 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 logs for a line like this one...

ath5k phy0: Atheros AR2413 chip found (MAC: 0x78, PHY: 0x45)

...and put it in your report.

ath5k TODO

Things ath5k developers are currently working on, and other things to do:

  • Tx power support (setting tx power) (Nick/Felix -works but experiments show that the card transmits only on some standard power levels instead of a power range as expected -still debuging, any ideas are welcome)
  • Power saving (Bob)
  • 5210 support (EEPROM etc) (Nick)
  • EAR (EEPROM Added Registers) support
  • WiSoC support (Felix, Wojciech Dubowik)
  • Documentation update/cleanup (Nick - added kerneldoc on all hw related functions and files, spellchecking...)
  • Radar detection/DFS stuff (Nick -still reading...)
  • Update ath_info

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