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


This FullMAC driver covers a range of older wireless cards which have varying capabilities. All the cards share a common MAC controller. They differ by firmware (supplied by Agere, Intersil or Symbol) and bus connection.

Depending on the card (and the bus it uses), you will need to load one of the following drivers:

  • airport - An Apple Powerbooks internal Airport.
  • orinoco_cs - Typical PCMCIA card.
  • orinoco_nortel - PC Card connected to a PCI bus via custom PCMCIA-PCI adapter.
  • orinoco_pci - Typical card connected via PCI.
  • orinoco_plx - PCMCIA card connected to a PCI bus via a PLX bridge.
  • orinoco_tmd - PCMCIA card connected to a PCI bus via a TMD chip.
  • spectrum_cs - Driver for Spectrum24 PCMCIA cards.


WPA support is only available for Agere based cards, and requires a firmware download on startup. This support was introduced in 2.6.28-rc1.

Monitor mode may only be stable with certain firmware revisions.

supported chips

  • All the firmware variants are supported.
  • The Hermes I MAC controller is supported.
  • The Hermes II MAC controller is not supported.
  • Support for USB variants is only available in a fork of the main driver.

available devices

See the orinoco device list.



  • Station mode
  • Ad-hoc mode
  • Monitor mode
  • WEP

not working yet

  • USB based cards
  • AP mode
  • Radiotap headers in monitor mode

not supported

  • WPA2

device firmware

The driver will do its best to work with the firmware it finds on the card. This may restrict the capabilities of the card.

Firmware download to RAM is available for Symbol based spectrum_cs cards, and all Agere based cards (including the AirPort).

The spectrum_cs cards require two firmware files, symbol_sp24t_prim_fw and symbol_sp24t_sec_fw. Extraction tools (for Windows drivers) can be found in orinoco-fwutils

The Agere firmware file must be named agere_sta_fw.bin. Extraction tools (for Windows and Apple drivers) can be found in the agere_fw_utils tree. WPA support requires at least firmware v9.42. v9.48 is available from the linux-firmware tree.

WPA support

If you are using wpa_supplicant 0.5.7, you will need to use ap_scan=2 mode. In ap_scan=1 mode wpa_supplicant asks the driver to associate with a specific AP rather than by SSID. This has been addressed in later versions of wpa_supplicant. In either case roaming is controlled by the firmware instead of wpa_supplicant.

external links

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, v19, v18, v17, v16, v15, v14, v13, v12, v11, v10, v9, v8, v7, v6, v5, v4, v3, v2, v1