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

The domain redirects here. The old website and drivers are archived at


p54 is a driver for Intersil's Prism54 chips series. It supports both older full-MAC devices (with new soft-MAC firmware) and newer soft-MAC devices. It is included in the Linux kernel.

prism54 (deprecated)

FullMAC PCI / Cardbus devices used to be supported only by the prism54 wireless driver. After Intersil stopped selling these devices in preference for the newer more flexible SoftMAC devices a SoftMAC device driver was required and prism54 did not support them. The p54pci driver now exists and has been present in the kernel for a while. This driver supports both SoftMAC devices and FullMAC devices. The main difference between these devices was the amount of memory which could be used for the firmware. The SoftMAC devices support a smaller amount of memory. Because of this the SoftMAC firmware fits into FullMAC devices's memory. p54pci supports not only PCI / Cardbus but also USB and SPI. Since p54pci supports all devices prism54 supports you will have a conflict. I'm not quite sure how distributions are handling this conflict right now. prism54 was kept around due to claims users may experience issues when using the SoftMAC driver. Time has passed users have not reported issues. If you use prism54 and for whatever reason you cannot use p54pci please let us know! E-mail us at:


Before you can use the hardware, you have to get the the right firmware.

supported chips

  • ISL3877, ISL3880, ISL3890 and ISL3886 (miniPCI)
  • ISL3886 + net2280 (USB, 1st generation with net2280 usb<->pci bridge)

  • ISL3887 (USB, 2nd generation, native USB interface)
  • ST-Ericsson' STLC4560 (SPI)

available devices

For a complete listing of supported products, see the device list.


There are several different firmwares for different hardware. You have to pick the right one, download, rename to the listed name and put it into the right place... Normally this should be /lib/firmware. However some distributions put firmware in a different place.

please pick the right one for your device from the lists:

  • NOTE: Not all firmwares revisions are compatible with every device out of there!

    If you run into problems, first try an alternative firmware before requesting further assistance (Contact).

  • for 2.6.29 kernels and above:

    • card type

      required filename

      recommended image

      PCI / PCMCIA



      USB 1st generation (ISL3886 + net2280)



      USB 2nd generation (ISL3887)



      SPI / stlc4560


      Maxi's site

  • for 2.6.28 kernels and older:

  • More firmwares for all devices, even unsupported ones, can be found in Maxi's prism54 firmwares archive.

  • Alternatively, firmware can be extracted from windows drivers with a tool called "fwextract3" available from


  • Ad-Hoc, AP, mesh, monitor and station mode
  • WMM/WME/802.11e (QoS)
  • TPC and ERP
  • Programmable LEDs
  • Antenna diversity
  • Cryptographic accelerator for WEP, TKIP and CCMP
  • Packet injection in monitor mode
  • Power save management in station mode
  • Supported band table (by radio chip):
    • ID

      Chip name

      802.11 b/g

      802.11 a




      depends on hw




      depends on hw













not working yet

  • Regulatory domain codes
  • Firmware scanning
  • DFS / Radar Detection
  • Bluetooth coexistence
  • Coverage class for long distance links

not supported

  • NITRO Xtreme Multimedia (Hifn's LZS compression)
  • Accelerator for Cisco's CKIP and CMIC
  • early EEPROM-less p54pci cards (e.g.: Netgear WG511v1, SMC 2802W)

Enabling p54

To enable p54, you must first enable mac80211:

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

You can then enable p54 in the kernel configuration under

Device Drivers  --->
  [*] Network device support  --->
        Wireless LAN --->
          [*] Wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11)
          <M>   Softmac Prism54 support
          <M>     Prism54 USB support
          <M>     Prism54 PCI support
          <M>     Prism54 SPI (stlc45xx) support


  • IRC: #linux-wireless or #prism54 on freenode (#p54u is about a different driver for BSD)

  • no special mailing list, use the linux wireless list for development and firmware issues


A big thank you to the following people who kindly donated:



Maximilian Engelhardt

(web) interface and storage for almost all p54* firmwares

Michael Wu

Dell Wireless 1450 USB adapter

Stefan Puch

Netgear WG511v2 PC Card

Howard Chu

Creatix CTX714 MiniPCI Combo Card

Johannes Berg

Dell Wireless 1450 USB adapter

Jörg Albert

rare 5GHz PrismGT MiniPCI Card, Creatix CTX714 MiniPCI Combo Card

Sean Young

AMD TS-5500 ES + p54pci PC Card

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