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.

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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.

The latest ath9k driver can be obtained from backports.

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  --->
          Atheros Wireless Cards ---->
            <M>   Atheros 802.11n wireless cards support

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 2x2 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
  • 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

Visit the ath9k contribution graphs. You can help keep this up to date if you like. If interested contact the ath9k driver maintainers.

Other sections

For more information please see:

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