Existing Linux Wireless drivers

We currently have a fair number of working drivers that cover most of the available WNICs on the market. However, most don't implement all possible features and many have issues. Hardware by companies not providing complete specifications, free firmware and drivers can be more problematic to support. The switching of chipsets by manufacturers without changing model numbers also makes this list less useful to those purchasing new hardware. Except for a handful of WNICs with free software drivers and free firmware, like e.g. the Penguin 802.11N, most available wireless hardware can not be exhausted when used with Linux. Below is an alphabetically sorted list of existent Linux drivers and their current capabilities.

See also:

NOTE: All drivers can of course run in station mode, but only a few drivers support the other available wireless modes! Support of cfg80211 also offers benefits.

Driver Manufacturer cfg80211
AP
IBSS
mesh
monitor
PHY modes Buses
adm8211 ADMtek/Infineon yes no no no ? B PCI
airo Aironet/Cisco no ? ? ? ? B PCI / PCMCIA
ar5523 Atheros yes no no no yes A(2)/B/G USB
at76c50x-usb Atmel yes no no no no B USB
ath5k Atheros yes yes yes yes yes A/B/G PCI / PCI-E / PCMCIA
ath6kl Atheros yes no yes no no A/B/G/N SDIO
ath9k Atheros yes yes yes yes yes A/B/G/N PCI / PCI-E / AHB / PCMCIA
ath9k_htc Atheros yes yes yes no yes B/G/N USB
ath10k Atheros yes ? ? ? ? AC N
atmel Atmel no ? ? ? ? B PCI / PCMCIA
b43 Broadcom yes yes yes yes yes A(2)/B/G SSB / PCI / PCI-E / PCMCIA
b43legacy Broadcom yes yes yes yes yes A(2)/B/G PCI / SSB
brcmfmac Broadcom yes no no no no A(1)/B/G/N USB / SDIO
brcmsmac Broadcom yes yes no no yes A(1)/B/G/N PCI / AXI
carl9170 ZyDAS/Atheros yes yes yes yes yes A(1)/B/G/N USB
cw1200 ST-Ericsson yes ? ? ? ? A/B/G/N SPI / SDIO
hostap Intersil/Conexant no ? ? ? ? B PCI / PCMCIA
ipw2100 Intel no no yes no no B PCI
ipw2200 Intel no no (3) yes no no A/B/G PCI
iwlegacy Intel yes no yes no no A/B/G PCI-E
iwlwifi Intel yes yes (6) yes no yes A/B/G/N/AC PCI-E
libertas Marvell no no yes yes (4) no B/G USB / PCMCIA / SDIO / GSPI
libertas_tf Marvell yes yes no yes ? B/G USB
mac80211_hwsim Jouni yes yes yes no yes A/B/G/N NONE!
mwifiex Marvell yes yes yes ? ? A/B/G/N SDIO / PCI-E / USB
mwl8k Marvell yes yes ? ? yes A/B/G/N PCI
orinoco Agere/Intersil/Symbol yes no yes no yes B PCI / PCMCIA / USB
p54pci Intersil/Conexant yes yes yes yes yes A(1)/B/G PCI / PCMCIA
p54spi Conexant/ST-NXP yes yes yes yes yes A(1)/B/G SPI
p54usb Intersil/Conexant yes yes yes yes yes A(1)/B/G USB
** prism2_usb Intersil/Conexant yes ? ? ? ? B USB
** r8192e_pci Realtek no ? ? ? ? B/G/N PCI-E
** r8192u_usb Realtek no ? ? ? ? B/G/N USB
** r8712u Realtek no ? ? ? ? B/G/N USB
ray_cs Raytheon no ? ? ? ? pre802.11 PCMCIA
rndis_wlan Broadcom yes no yes no no B/G USB
rt61pci Ralink yes yes yes no yes A(1)/B/G PCI
rt73usb Ralink yes yes yes no yes A(1)/B/G USB
rt2400pci Ralink yes yes yes no yes B PCI
rt2500pci Ralink yes yes yes no yes A(1)/B/G PCI
rt2500usb Ralink yes yes yes no yes A(1)/B/G USB
rt2800pci Ralink yes yes ? ? yes A(1)/B/G/N PCI
rt2800usb Ralink yes yes yes yes(5) yes A(1)/B/G/N USB
rtl8180 Realtek yes no no no ? B/G PCI
rtl8187 Realtek yes no yes no yes B/G USB
rtl8188ee Realtek yes ? ? ? ? B/G/N PCI-E
rtl8192ce Realtek yes ? ? ? ? B/G/N PCI-E
rtl8192cu Realtek yes ? ? ? ? B/G/N USB
rtl8192de Realtek yes ? ? ? ? B/G/N PCI-E
rtl8192se Realtek yes ? ? ? ? B/G/N PCI-E
rtl8723ae Realtek yes ? ? ? ? B/G/N PCI-E
** vt6655 VIA no ? ? ? ? A/B/G PCI
** vt6656 VIA no ? ? ? ? A/B/G USB
wil6210 Atheros yes yes no no yes AD PCI-E
** winbond Winbond yes ? ? ? ? B USB
wl1251 Texas Instruments yes no yes ? yes B/G SPI / SDIO
wl12xx Texas Instruments yes yes yes no no A(1)/B/G/N SPI / SDIO
wl18xx Texas Instruments yes ? ? ? ? ? ?
wl3501_cs Z-Com no ? ? ? ? pre802.11 PCMCIA
** wlags49_h2 Lucent/Agere no ? ? ? ? B/G PCI / PCMCIA
zd1201 ZyDAS/Atheros no ? ? ? ? B USB
zd1211rw ZyDAS/Atheros yes yes yes yes yes A(2)/B/G USB

Note: ** staging drivers

Out of the tree drivers(Unsupported)

Driver Manufacturer cfg80211
AP
IBSS
mesh
monitor
PHY modes Buses
acx1xx Texas Instruments yes ? ? no ? B PCI / PCMCIA / USB
agnx Airgo/Qualcom yes ? ? ? ? A/B/G PCI
ar6k Atheros ? ? ? ? ? B/G ?
poldhu NWN no ? ? ? ? B PCMCIA

Notes:

  1. 802.11a capabilities depend on the actual radio chip used.
  2. 802.11a devices exist, but currently can't be used with this driver, A/B/G devices will work in B/G mode only.
  3. There is support with a special, out-of-tree driver and special firmware, see http://sf.net/projects/ipw2200-ap.

  4. Slightly different mesh implementation than mac80211's, in firmware.
  5. Tested with RT2870/RT3070 driver
  6. Only some devices

Abandoned/Deprecated Drivers(Unsupported)

Driver

Manufacturer

cfg80211

AP

ad-hoc

mesh

monitor

PHY modes

BUS

Replaced by

ar9170usb

ZyDAS/Atheros

yes

no

yes

no

yes

A(1)/B/G/N

USB

carl9170

arlan

Aironet/Cisco

no

?

?

?

?

pre802.11

ISA

-

at76_usb

Atmel

no

no

no

no

no

B

USB

at76c50x-usb

netwave_cs

Netwave/Xircom

no

?

?

?

?

pre802.11

PCMCIA

-

otus

ZyDAS/Atheros

no

?

no

no

no

A/B/G/N

USB

carl9170

prism54

Intersil/Conexant

no

?

?

?

?

A/B/G

PCI / PCMCIA

p54pci

stlc45xx

ST/Nokia

yes

no

no

no

no

B/G

SPI

p54spi

wavelan

Lucent

no

?

?

?

?

pre802.11

ISA / PCMCIA

-