[Cu-wireless] Technical questions

David Young dyoung at pobox.com
Fri Apr 30 15:12:26 CDT 2004

On Fri, Apr 30, 2004 at 08:12:07AM -0500, Willy Smith wrote:
> I did take some time to look around the site, but I didn't find the
> answers to these questions.

Yes, we badly need for this info to be in the FAQ.

> 1) Which wireless cards (or chipsets) are currently supported? 

Intersil Prism II/2.5 and ADMtek for sure.  Our testbed will be Atheros.
I am working on a Realtek RTL8180 driver in fits and bursts.

I have not found an Orinoco/WaveLAN card that does do ad hoc mode in a
broken way.  Historically, ad hoc mode in Aironet cards is also broken.

> 2) Are standard drivers used, or have you created (or modified) drivers?

I wrote NetBSD's "standard driver" for ADMtek.  I maintain the standard
Prism and Atheros drivers.

> 3) Does the software support more than one WiFi card per host?

Not yet.

> 4) If more than one card is supported, can hosts be linked via a dedicated 
> point-to-point wireless bridge to extend the mesh?

You mean something like node<->AP<->node?  We run in ad hoc mode, so that
will not work right now.  That would be an interesting extension, however.
I'm not sure how we would use it.

> 5) Has anyone done any investigation into whether a standalone radio could be 
> used? Two common LinkSys products come to mind: 
> a) The WRT54G can be hacked so that Linux can be installed directly
> instead of the factory software.

I believe that uses a Broadcom SoC.  Broadcom does not provide any docs
for the wireless bits, so it's not a great choice for us.

> b) The WAP11, which has 802.11b and an Ethernet port, and which can also be 
> hacked for more power output and functionality.

Is this the Prism-based WAP11?  Are they still sold?  (I am trying to
move us away from Prism chips.  They are going to get scarce, and they
have that buggy and inflexible firmware, eww.)

There is a team of people who are working on porting NetBSD to the
Realtek RTL8181 SoC, which costs only $60-$70.  Virtually all of the
documentation is available.  It will be possible to support the whole
thing in open source.

It sounds like Atheros may be willing to release the docs on their
SoC, too. 


David Young             OJC Technologies
dyoung at ojctech.com      Urbana, IL * (217) 278-3933

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