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Extending wifi-test with nl80211 support

wifi-test is an open project aimed at assisting automation of testing using scripts for Linux 802.11 drivers. This project currently uses the old wireless-extensions which are now deprecated. We have moved to a much better 802.11 configuration and userspace <–> kernel communication API with cfg80211 and nl80211. The goal of this project is to add an initial basic C framework to help test specific tasks on 802.11 drivers.

Last year we had a similar project but it was really ambitious and aimed at creating both the test framework and to enable automation of testing using an 802.11 testbed. That project failed to gain traction and not a single line of code was published even though the project was accepted and we had three extremely qualified students apply for the project. This year we lighten the load with small focus and aim at only building a very simple nl80211 test framework. The effort is expected to enable the community to further extend this and use it for more advanced tests.

2010 mentors and students

2010 mentors

  • Luis R. Rodriguez

2010 interested students

  • Sign up here

Student requirements

  • Good knowledge of C
  • Familiarity with 802.11 basics
  • Comfortable with git or willing to learn it
  • Feels perfectly comfortable in engaging with the community on a public mailing list
  • Experience working with the community on any open projects is a plus

What you should start with

After reading the cfg80211 and nl80211, and iw documentation, check out iw code from git:

http://git.sipsolutions.net/iw.git

Then glance over the event.c file. That is the key to our entry into enabling testing. The kernel sends out events upon specific errors or task completions, or asynchronous events of different types. Read over all known events and read then the documentation about them on the nl80211.h file. This file is the header upstream on the Linux kernel. It gets synchronized to userspace.

The iw package ships its own nl80211.h file to allow further commands to be compilable and available on older kernels. When a user upgrades to a newer kernel the idea is that userspace will know about the new commands already.

A simple test case would be to use iw to trigger an action, and prior to that write some simple C code to register for nl80211 events and see if that command you issued through iw completed. An example would be if association completed to an AP.

This itself would be a good first step. We will build on this and build more complicated tests cases. Your ideas are welcomed for both writing new events upstream in the kernel, and for also coming up with new tests cases.

Resources

You can read all the documentation on the links below.