WLAN support

Sam Leffler sam at errno.com
Fri May 30 12:45:06 PDT 2003

> > I've got a list of possible WLAN NICs and am wondering if somebody
> > has any experience using one of them with FreeBSD 4.x?
> >
> > Netgear WG511 (Cardbus) or WAG511 (Cardbus, 5 + 2.4 GHz)
> > SMC 2802W (PCI) or 2835W (Cardbus)
> > D-Link DWL G520 (PCI) or DWL G650 (Cardbus)
> > Belkin 802.11g/+ (don't have a product name by hand, PN PCI:
> > F5D7000, PN Cardbus: F5D7010 - not yet on market)
> >
> > All of these cards are 802.11g devices (54 MBit/s).
> >
> > What about support on FreeBSD for these devices? Any experience?
> Eliminate any 802.11g cards Any card that supports this is not going to
> work. The reason is legal. Those cards may be programmed to operate
> an any of a wide range of frequencies and powers and any release of the
> register definitions could result in transmissions on frequencies not
> allowed in that location. This could result in large penalties to the
> manufacturer, so they will only release the specs under an NDA that is
> totally incompatible with open source. In the industry there has been
> talk of cryptographic techniques for setting such things, but there are
> not current or near future products that will support this.
> I read a good article on this about a month ago, but I don't remember
> where. I think I got the pointer on /.

Sorry, but this is wrong.  There is _one_ manufacturer of wireless parts
that has a radio of the sort you describe.  Other manufacturers control
their radios entirely on the card and are not releasing programming details
for reasons other than FCC compliance.

> > I would like to setup one FreeBSD box (4.7 / 4.8 or even 5.0/5.1)
> > as a router and have at least one notebook connected wireless
> > (running both Win2k and FreeBSD).
> >
> > As I was reading that the high speed wireless devices are having a
> > better operating range compared to 802.11b devices, I don't want to
> > install 802.11b devices.
> Sorry. Maybe some day, but not any time soon.

I've had a "working" driver for Atheros hardware for several months now but
am unable to make it available because of a bug that renders it unusable in
noisy environments.  This is not a problem with the hardware.  This is a
problem in my code that has been very very difficult to identify.  The
driver supports all Atheros products used in 11a, 11a+b, and 11a+b+g cardbus
and mini-pci cards.  The driver is for 5.x systems and is unlikely to ever
be backported to 4.x because it depends on many changes in the network
infrastructure.  Until then folks are pretty much stuck with 11b cards based
on chips from Intersil.


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