[clug] PCI WiFi cards

Francis Whittle fj.whittle at gmail.com
Sun Jun 20 23:45:47 MDT 2010

$ lspci -vs 3:6
03:06.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. Atheros AR5001X
+ Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)
	Subsystem: D-Link System Inc D-Link AirPlus DWL-G520 Wireless PCI
	Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 168, IRQ 20
	Memory at fdce0000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=64K]
	Capabilities: <access denied>
	Kernel driver in use: ath5k

I've been using these cards for a couple of years now, both as managed
clients and access points (although that was back when you had to use

On recent releases of Ubuntu this card is "Plug it in and go," as ath5k
is generally compiled and distributed with the kernel.  No proprietary
firmware, no external tools, it just works.  Not sure about the most
recent stable release of Debian, but it works perfectly on sid, and who
uses anything older than Debian "unstable" (also known as Debian
still-stabler-than-Ubuntu-ever-is) anyway?

The one corollary is that on a tower box you really want to replace the
mini aerial supplied with a cabled one to get any decent reception (or
have your box oriented so the back of it is facing towards the access
point).  To this end I have a DWL-M60AT patch antenna hooked up to mine.

Unfortunately these don't seem to be available at the easy retailers any
more.  The DWA-510 that's available from Dick Smith and Harris Tech
right now uses an ralink rt61 chipset, for which I don't believe there's
direct kernel support (there -is- some downloadable driver, but I've
pretty much always had atheros chips).

All that aside, it's probably much easier to go the USB route.


On Sun, 2010-06-20 at 19:13 +1000, Grant Baldwin wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm after a PCI card to do 802.11g (or n if possible) that will work
> reliably under current stable releases of Debian and Ubuntu.
> In the past, this has been a serious headache and a significant point of
> effort; not infrequently requiring interrogating PCI busses, recompiling
> long tool chains and screwing around with windows drivers. The only good
> experience with wireless and Linux I've had to date have been with Intel
> Centrino chipsets. 
> Is there a decent, reliable, supported family of PCI wireless cards out
> there? 
> Thanks,
> Grant Baldwin

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