FreeBSD Wireless Access Points with Atheros Cards

John Nielsen lists at
Wed Jun 7 22:26:35 UTC 2006

On Wednesday 07 June 2006 11:42, Mark Moellering wrote:
> On Wednesday 07 June 2006 8:11 am, Nick Withers wrote:
> > 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"
> > ("
> >es s.html") 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!).

> 	I tried this maybe a month back.  I added an ath card to a firewall
> (becoming the third NIC) and set it up following the directions.  While I
> could connect to the access point/firewall, I could not get to anything
> beyond it.  After some reading, I decdied to buy a standalone access point
> and replace the wireless ath card with a wired card to use to connect to
> the access point. The standalone access point (Netgear) wasn't that much
> more than the card and from everything I have read is the better way to go.
> 	If you are able to sned data through the access point, I would love to
> hear about it...

Yes, ath(4) is actually the preferred driver for creating FreeBSD-based 
wireless access points, and the handbook probably does need to be updated. No 
one has been doing any work on the wi driver in quite some time, whereas Sam 
Leffler has been doing a LOT of work to keep ath up-to-date and highly 

I run a FreeBSD 6-STABLE machine as an access point at home and it works fine. 
I couldn't get it to work with if_bridge, so I just set up wireless to be its 
own subnet with the FreeBSD machine doing NAT and routing between the three 
interfaces (external, internal wired, and internal wireless).


More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list