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

Go back –> Atheros Linux wireless drivers

About ath9k

ath9k is a completely FOSS wireless driver for all Atheros IEEE 802.11n PCI/PCI-Express and AHB WLAN based chipsets.

Subscribe to this page!

You should subscribe to this page so you can get e-mail updates on changes and news for ath9k automatically. You'll get an e-mail as soon as this page gets updated.

Mailing list

Our mailing list for this driver is:

Get the latest ath9k driver

Any distribution shipping a kernel >= 2.6.27 will have ath9k present but the ath9k driver on 2.6.32 is the oldest one recommended, anything older than that is completely unsupported. Below is a list of the minimal distribution requirements to either use ath9k from 2.6.27 or from compat-wireless, which lets you install newer drivers on older kernels.

If you want to get the latest ath9k driver you have several options:

To read more about the wireless-testing and development on ath9k you can read our our git-guide and the development process, please be also sure to read the bug fix propagation, our documentation on reporting bugs, and how we handle adding additional critical fix patches to ath9k.

It should be noted that some Linux distributions already use the stable compat-wireless releases as packages in their Linux distribution. Examples are ChromeOS, Ubuntu, Gentoo and Openwrt. Openwrt in particular uses compat-wireless snapshots based on wireless-testing, and the releases are updated regularly after some evaluation by OpenWrt's developers and the community. If you are using the any of the compat-wireless releases, you can enable only to compile and install ath9k by issuing the following commands.

Please note that for AP mode of operation the Minstrel rate control algorithm performs much better than the Atheros rate control algorithm and a separate driver-select option is provided below to enable you to use Minstrel for AP.

# If you are using ath9k as STA device:
./scripts/driver-select ath9k

# If you are using ath9k as an AP:
./scripts/driver-select ath9k_ap

make sudo make install }}}

Enabling ath9k

To enable ath9k, you must first enable mac80211 through make menuconfig when compiling your kernel. If you do not know what this means then please learn to compile kernels or rely on your Linux distribution's kernel. Below are the options you need to enable ath9k through make menuconfig.

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

You can then enable ath9k in the kernel configuration under

Device Drivers  --->
  [*] Network device support  --->
        Wireless LAN  --->
          <M>   Atheros 802.11n wireless cards support

Bluetooth coexistence

ath9k supports 2-wire and 3-wire Bluetooth coexistence, for details see the ath9k btcoex page.

supported chipsets

SB = single-band 2.4GHz DB = dual-band 2.4GHz or 5GHz


  • AR2427 (no 802.11n hardware support, its bonded out) 1x1 SB PCIe


  • AR5418+AR5133 AR5418 = DB 11n PCIe, AR5133 = 3x3 DB 11n
  • AR5416+AR5133 AR5416 = DB 11n PCI
  • AR5416+AR2133 AR2133 = 3x3 SB 11n


  • AR9160 DB 11n
  • AR9102 2x2 SB 11n
  • AR9103 3x3 SB 11n


  • AR9220 2x2 DB 11n PCI
  • AR9223 2x2 SB 11n PCI
  • AR9227 2x2 SB 11n PCI
  • AR9280 2x2 DB 11n PCIe
  • AR9281 2x2 SB 11n PCIe
  • AR9285 1x1 SB 11n PCIe
  • AR9287 2x2 SB 11n PCIe


  • AR9380 3x3 DB 11n PCIe
  • AR9382 2x2 DB 11n PCIe
  • AR9331 1x1 SB 11n
  • AR9340 2x2 DB 11n


  • AR9485 1x1 SB 11n PCIe
  • AR9462 2x2 DB 11n PCIe
  • AR9565 1x1 SB 11n PCIe
  • AR9580 3x3 DB 11n PCIe
  • AR9550 3x3 DB 11n

Available devices

See the ath9k device list.

Features and modes of operation

All of these modes of operation are supported and should work on all ath9k cards.

Modes of operation

  • Station Mode

  • AP Mode

  • IBSS Mode

  • Monitor Mode

  • Mesh point with HT support, as well as RSN

  • WDS (as of >= 2.6.37)



  • 802.11abg
  • 802.11n
    • HT20
    • HT40
    • AMPDU
    • Short GI (Both 20 and 40 MHz)
    • LDPC
    • TX/RX STBC
  • 802.11i
    • WEP 64 / 127
    • WPA1 / WPA2
  • 802.11d
  • 802.11h
  • 802.11w/D7.0
  • WPS client side (use wpa_gui-qt4 from wpa_supplicant for now)
  • WMM
  • LED
  • BT co-existence
  • 64-bit support / big endian, small endian
  • AHB and PCI bus
  • TDLS
  • WoW
  • Antenna Diversity

A little history on ath9k

When it went in

ath9k was announced to have been merged into Linux-2.6.27-rc3 by Linus on Tue, 12 Aug 2008 19:33:16 -0700 (PDT), and consisted of 58.8% of the entire rc3 patch.

Early distributions which picked it up

OpenWrt became the first distribution to pick up ath9k and contribute to it.

Statistics on contributions

Below are stats on contributions between Qualcomm Atheros and the community on ath9k.


Other sections

For more information please see:

This is a static dump of the old wiki, taken after locking it in January 2015. The new wiki is at
versions of this page: last, v185, v184, v183, v182, v181, v180, v179, v178, v177, v176, v175, v174, v173, v172, v171, v170, v169, v168, v167, v166, v165, v164, v163, v162, v161, v160, v159, v158, v157, v156, v155, v154, v153, v152, v151, v150, v149, v148, v147, v146, v145, v144, v143, v142, v141, v140, v139, v138, v137, v136, v135, v134, v133, v132, v131, v130, v129, v128, v127, v126, v125, v124, v123, v122, v121, v120, v119, v118, v117, v116, v115, v114, v113, v112, v111, v110, v109, v108, v107, v106, v105, v104, v103, v102, v101, v100, v99, v98, v97, v96, v95, v94, v93, v92, v91, v90, v89, v88, v87, v86, v85, v84, v83, v82, v81, v80, v79, v78, v77, v76, v75, v74, v73, v72, v71, v70, v69, v68, v67, v66, v65, v64, v63, v62, v61, v60, v59, v58, v57, v56, v55, v54, v53, v52, v51, v50, v49, v48, v47, v46, v45, v44, v43, v42, v41, v40, v39, v38, v37, v36, v35, v34, v33, v32, v31, v30, v29, v28, v27, v26, v25, v24, v23, v22, v21, v20, v19, v18, v17, v16, v15, v14, v13, v12, v11, v10, v9, v8, v7, v6, v5, v4, v3, v2, v1