how to install wireless n.i.c. on FreeBSD 9.1

Polytropon freebsd at
Sat Aug 23 00:55:37 UTC 2014

On Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:00:47 -0700, leeoliveshackelford at wrote:
> Good morning, dear FreeBSD enthusiasts. I am attempting to install a
> wireless network interface circuit on a computer running FreeBSD 9.1. I
> have read the very thorough instructions written by Messrs. Marc
> Fonvielle and Murray Stokely in the currently posted Chapter 30 of the
> FreeBSD Handbook. I did not find in that chapter a specification of the
> version or versions of FreeBSD to which it applied.

The instructions are quite generic. The only specific name
that you need to adjust is the driver for your actual hardware.

> The circuit board is
> manufactured by T-LInk, and uses an Atheros integrated circuit

Check the output of the

	# pciconf -lv

command to precisely see what hardware you have. Usually the
correct driver will be mentioned. See the manpage of that driver
for what chipsets or models it will support I don't have access
to any WLAN hardware at the moment to I can't post an example,
but it should be something like this:

	xl0 at pci0:0:10:0:        class=0x020000 card=0x00000000 chip=0x905010b7 rev=0x00 hdr=0x00
	    vendor     = '3COM Corp, Networking Division'
	    device     = 'Fast Etherlink XL PCI 10/100 (3C905B - Combo)'
	    class      = network
	    subclass   = ethernet

In this case, "man xl" would be the manpage to examine. Note that
this is an example from a wired NIC.

Atheros chipsets will mostly work with the "ath" driver.
By T-Link, you mean TP-Link? Or D-Link? What is the _exact_
brand name and model of the hardware in question?

Is it on that list?

> I have
> followed as closely as possible those instuctions, to no avail.

Can you provide more information about what you did? What
entries did you add to the relevant files (/boot/loader.conf
and /etc/rc.conf, as well as /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf, if it
should matter)?

> The
> printed circuit board is located at slot 4. About it, dmesg.boot reads
> only the following: pci40: <network> at device 0.0 (no driver attached).

This seems to indicate that no driver is being loaded. Either
you did not have the kernel load the correct driver, or there
is no driver available. With the "pci40" information, check
the pciconf output again.

> My interpretation of this message is that the operating system sees that
> there is a circuit board in slot 4, and that it has something to do with
> networking, and otherwise knows nothing about it.

Correct. Loading the appropriate driver is either done by the
kernel (if it has been compiled with all required drivers) or
by a loadable module, which has been specified in /boot/loader.conf
to be loaded along with the kernel.

> I have checked the
> /dev directory, and find listed in it none of the driver files mentioned
> in Chapter 30.

Those device files will be created by the driver.

> I had expected to receive error messages for lines in the
> configuration files calling for driver files that could not be located,
> but the only error message generated was "SYNCDHCP not found."

This looks like a syntax error in /etc/rc.conf, I'd say. Can
you quote the lines you added?

> This line
> does not occur in dmesg.boot, but in response to the command (I forgot
> which command).

The error is in relation to ifconfig, the control program for
network interfaces. The dmesg.boot file typically contains kernel

> How do I obtain and install the missing driver files?

You need to know which driver you have to load for this hardware.
Usually drivers are provided by the operating system, but they
are not loaded "as a wild guess".

> Why does the fact that they are missing not generate error notices?

If you decide not to attach some hardware, the OS won't complain. :-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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