FreeBSD 8.0 and Atheros AzureWave wireless chipset

Brett Glass brett at
Thu Nov 26 23:21:27 UTC 2009

At 08:28 AM 11/26/2009, Warren Block wrote:

>Hard to tell.  Is it possible it's just disabled?

There's no switch to disable the wireless on the Eee Box. Also, the 
wireless did work with Linux just before I installed FreeBSD. So, I 
do not think the problem is that the wireless is disabled. I think 
that no FreeBSD driver is recognizing the card. (More below.)

Only the Asus Eee laptops, not the desktops, are listed in the Wiki 
(Why?). But the two lines are very similar and in some cases use 
the same motherboards, just populated differently. The LAN 
interface is identified by the kernel as one of the Realtek gigabit 
chips. The PCI chip ID is 0x816810EC, which sure enough is listed 
in the PCI database at as a 
RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller. The re(4) 
driver runs it correctly.

There's something funny, though not fatal, going on with ACPI, 
though. At boot time, I get a warning from the FreeBSD acpi driver:

ACPI Warning: Option field Pm2ControlBlock has zero address or length...

However, the machine still boots. And hyperthreading is enabled, 
because the Atom has HTT. (I have been thinking of disabling it, 
because hyperthreading may not work very well on the Atom. Does 
anyone know how to do this properly? I tried setting 
machdep.hlt_logical_cpus to 1 in /boot/loader.conf and was rewarded 
with a system crash at boot time.)

>I thought the wireless on/off switches were soft switches, but 
>maybe not on that model.  If you can get Linux to identify the 
>exact model of card, along with the model of computer, that would be helpful.

I wiped Linux off the box when I installed FreeBSD. But the model 
number of the computer is B202 -- a desktop micro-workstation. It 
uses the Atom N270 CPU and comes with a 160 GB hard drive and 1 GB 
of RAM. The FCC label on the outside of the box mentions two 
AzureWave mini-PCI wireless cards: the AW-NE766 (FCC ID: 
VQF-RT2700E; IC: 7542A-RT2700E) and the AW-NE771 (FCC ID: 
PPD-AR5891; IC: 4104A-AR5891). The second one clearly uses an 
Atheros chipset, but the first incorporates what looks like a 
Ralink part number. And sure enough, the pciconf -l command lists 
the wireless interface's PCI chip ID as 0x07811814. According to 
the PCI database at this makes 
it a Ralink RT2860 chip. The card ID is 0x27901814, which has the 
same least significant word so it would again be a Ralink (probably 
just rebranded by AzureWave).

FreeBSD has a driver that says it works on the Ralink 2560 and 2661 
but not later chips. So, what we probably have here is a recent 
model Ralink b/g/n wireless card that's too new for the driver to 
recognize. Linux is ahead of us.

A brief Web search indicates that Ralink has apparently released 
firmware for the RT28xx chips under a BSD-like license. However, I 
don't know if the ral(4) driver would handle the interface properly 
if I got a copy of that firmware, hacked /sys/dev/ral/if_ral_pci.c 
to upload it, and then told it to treat the chip as if it were a 
2661. Does anyone know if this has a chance of working?


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