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

Go back –> Atheros Linux wireless drivers


'ath6kl' is the wireless driver for Atheros AR600x family of chips. It has been tested to work with the latest in the family, AR6003.

Modes of operation

  • Station Mode

  • IBSS Mode


  • 802.11abg
  • 802.11n
    • HT20
    • HT40
    • AMPDU
    • Short GI (40 MHz only)
  • 802.11i
    • WEP 64 / 127
    • WPA1 / WPA2
  • 802.11d
  • 802.11h
  • WMM
  • BT co-existence

Supported chipsets

  • AR6003: It is the third-generation Wi-Fi chip from Atheros optimized for the throughput, size, and energy efficiency needs of mobile and embedded devices. With its tiny footprint and energy-saving qualities, the AR6003 rounds out Atheros’ comprehensive Align® ecosystem of 1-stream 11n solutions, targeting smartphones, mobile gaming and portable CE devices.


We are in the process of upstreaming the driver.

This driver is upstream as part of the Linux 2.6.37 release under the staging area. It is also available for older kernels through the stable compat-wireless-2.6.37 releases. The goal is to eventually replace this driver with a proper mac80211 driver.

Hacking on ath6kl

ath6kl is part of the staging area of the Linux kernel. Greg KH maintains this area of the Linux kernel and you can track its development through the staging-2.6.git on the staging-next branch.

But the staging branch is only getting bug fixes now. There is heavy cleanup happening in ath6kl-cleanup tree. To clone the tree:

git clone git://

The driver is located in drivers/net/wireless/ath/ath6kl. Send any patches to Kalle Valo <>.

To learn more about git you can refer to our Git guide. It even documents how to send patches with git format-patch. But before you send out patches please use IRC as described below.


We are doing heavy cleanup on ath6kl so any patch you send will likely interfere with our current work. Because of this we ask you to please use IRC to help coordinate development.

IRC server:
IRC channel: #ath6kl

Note: Windows boxen by default seem to block IRC ports so go find yourself a Linux box ;)


sha1sum: b6e474d8306edaae867ab60e9e81c83cc1469c6e

Just extract that into your /lib/firmware/ directory. This firmware was submitted upstream for inclusion into the linux-firmware git tree on April 22, 2011.

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Other stuff

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, 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