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.

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We are in the process of putting together the driver for submission into the staging area via the wireless-testing tree.

Supported chipsets

  • AR6003


The following modes have been tested with this card.

Modes of operation

  • Station Mode

  • AP 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

Design Notes


The AR6003 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.

Driver Architecture

AR600x software is partitioned into host-side and target-side software. The host side software or the driver is provided as a reference implementation for selected platforms/OSes including Linux. The current avatar of Linux driver is referred to as 'ath6kl' or the Legacy driver for AR600x family of chips. The target-side software or the firmware runs on the cbhip's network processor and is stored in the target memory. It is a maintained by Atheros and is released as binary only.

The 'ath6kl' driver is organized into the following layers which collectively define the host software stack. In general, functions in the highest layer may call other functions at the same layer or one layer down. Functions do not make direct calls to higher layers, though upper layers may register callbacks with lower layers. A brief summary of the driver components is given below. Refer to the <link> for further details.

  • User space
  • =============================================================================
    • Kernel space .

  • | Wireless Device Driver |


    • ^ | | | v | |


  • | Wireless Module Interface (WMI) | |

    |_| v

    • ^ |

  • | | | Bootloader Messaging Interface (BMI) |

    v v ||


  • | Host/Target Communication (HTC) | |

    |_| |

    • ^ | | | v v

  • | Hardware Interconnect Framework (HIF) |


    • ^ | v
  • ======= Physical Interconnect (Host Controller Driver for SDIO/SPI/...) =====
    • ^ | v

  • | Target (AR600x) |


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