FreeBSD Wireless Access Points with Atheros Cards

Nick Withers nick at
Wed Jun 7 13:10:16 UTC 2006

G'day all,

I was recently asked to set up a wireless access point by a
mate. Having read section - "Building a FreeBSD Access
Point" ("")
from the FreeBSD Handbook I duly advised my friend that they'd
need to procure one of the Prism cards listed in the wi(4) man
page, as, according to the Handbook, "In order to set up a
wireless access point with FreeBSD, you need to have a
compatible wireless card. Currently, only cards with the Prism
chipset are supported".

When he got back to me the next day and said he couldn't find
one in any major store and that he'd been told they were no
longer available first-hand (whether all this is true or not,
I'm not entirely sure - but it's not really all that relevant
for the purposes of this question) I was a little surprised.

After much more stuffing about, the ath(4) man page caught my
eye and I found the magic sentence: "Supported features include
802.11 and 802.3 frames, power management, BSS, IBSS, and
host-based access point operation modes".

I've subsequently set the thing up and it's now chugging away
merrily in hostap mode with hostapd helping out with 802.11i
shennanigans. It appears to be fully operational.

My question, then, is this: Is the access point I've set up not
actually functioning as an access point in the strictest sense
of the term? Is the Handbook in need of a little attention in
this area?

I'll happily create a patch for the doc and submit a PR to
have it updated, but just wanted to check before doing so that
I'm not just being an idiot (I'm particularly good at that!).

Thanks all!
Nick Withers
email: nick at
Mobile: +61 414 397 446

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