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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  WI (4)


wi - Lucent Hermes, and Intersil PRISM IEEE 802.11 driver


See Also


To compile this driver into the kernel, place the following lines in your kernel configuration file:

.Cd device wi
.Cd device wlan

Alternatively, to load the driver as a module at boot time, place the following line in loader.conf(5):



The wi driver provides support for 802.11b wireless network adapters based around the Lucent Hermes, Intersil PRISM-II, Intersil PRISM-2.5, and Intersil Prism-3 chipsets. All chipsets provide a similar interface to the driver. Only the Intersil chipsets support access point operation or WPA. Very old versions of firmware are not supported at all. Older versions of the firmware that are supported may severely limit the ability to use these cards in newer networks. Only relatively recent versions of Intersil firmware supports WPA. See CAVEATS for details. All host/device interaction is via programmed I/O, even on those cards that support a DMA interface.

For more information on configuring this device, see ifconfig(8).

wi supports station, adhoc, adhoc-demo, hostap, and monitor mode operation. Only one virtual interface may be configured at a time. For more information on configuring this device, see ifconfig(8).

Cards supported by the wi driver come in a variety of packages, though the most common are of the PCMCIA type. In many cases, the PCI version of a wireless card is simply a PCMCIA card bundled with a PCI adapter. The PCI adapters come in two flavors: true PCMCIA bridges and dumb PCMCIA bridges. A true PCMCIA bridge (such as those sold by Lucent) will attach as a real PCMCIA controller. The wireless card will then attach to the PCMCIA bus. Wireless cards in PCMCIA slots may be inserted and ejected on the fly.

A dumb bridge, on the other hand, does not show up as a true PCMCIA bus. The wireless card will simply appear to the host as a normal PCI device and will not require any PCMCIA support. Cards in this type of adapter should only be removed when the machine is powered down.

The following cards are among those supported by the wi driver:

Card   Chip    Bus 3Com AirConnect 3CRWE777A       Prism-II        PCI Accton airDirect WN3301         PCMCIA ACTIONTEC HWC01170      Prism-2.5       PCMCIA Adaptech ANW-8030       Prism-3 PCMCIA Addtron AWP-100 Prism-II        PCMCIA Adtec Adlink/340C       Prism-II        PCMCIA Airvast WN 100  Prism-3 PCMCIA Airway 802.11 Adapter           PCMCIA Agere Orinoco   Hermes  PCMCIA Allied Telesis WR211PCM Prism-II        PCMCIA ArTem OnAir     Prism?  PCMCIA Asus WL100      Prism-2.5       PCMCIA Avaya Wireless  Prism-II        PCMCIA Bay eMobility 11B       Prism-2.5?      PCMCIA Blue Concentric Circle WL-379F  Prism-II        CF BreezeNet Wireless      Prism-II        PCMCIA Buffalo WLI-PCM-S11     Prism-II        PCMCIA Buffalo WLI-PCM-L11G    Hermes  PCMCIA Buffalo WLI-CF-S11G     Prism-II        CF Buffalo WLI2-CF-S11G    Prism 2.5       CF Cabletron RoamAbout     Hermes  PCMCIA Compaq Agency NC5004    Prism-II        PCMCIA Compaq WL100    Prism-II        PCMCIA Compaq WL110    Hermes  PCMCIA Compaq WL200    Prism-II        PCMCIA Contec FLEXLAN/FX-DS110-PCC     Prism-II        PCMCIA Corega PCC-11   Prism-II        PCMCIA Corega PCCA-11  Prism-II        PCMCIA Corega PCCB-11  Prism-II        PCMCIA Corega CGWLPCIA11       Prism-II        PCI Dell TrueMobile 1150    Hermes  PCMCIA Dlink Air 660   Prism-II        PCMCIA Dlink DWL520    Prism-2.5       PCI Dlink DWL650    Prism-2.5       PCMCIA ELECOM Air@Hawk/LD-WL11/PCC             PCMCIA ELSA MC-11              PCMCIA ELSA XI300      Prism-II        PCMCIA ELSA XI325      Prism-2.5       PCMCIA ELSA APDL325    Prism-2.5       PCMCIA ELSA XI330      Prism-3 PCMCIA ELSA XI800      Prism-II        CF EMTAC A2424i    Prism-II        PCMCIA Farallon Skyline        Prism-II        PCMCIA Gemtek WL-311   Prism-2.5       PCMCIA Hawking Technology WE110P       Prism-2.5       PCMCIA Home Wireless Networks  Prism-II        PCMCIA IBM High Rate Wireless  Hermes  PCMCIA ICOM SL-1100    Prism-II        PCMCIA I-O DATA WN-B11/PCM     Prism-II        PCMCIA Intersil Prism II       Prism-II        PCMCIA Intersil Mini-PCI       Prism-2.5       PCI Intersil ISL37100P      Prism-3 PCMCIA Intersil ISL37110P      Prism-3 PCMCIA Intersil ISL37300P      Prism-3 PCMCIA Laneed Wireless         PCMCIA Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11  Prism-II        PCMCIA Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11 2.5      Prism-2.5       PCMCIA Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11 3.0      Prism-3 PCMCIA Linksys WCF11   Prism-3 PCMCIA Linksys WCF12   Prism-3 CF Lucent WaveLAN  Hermes  PCMCIA Melco Airconnect        Prism-II        PCMCIA Microsoft MN-520 WLAN   Prism-II        PCMCIA NANOSPEED ROOT-RZ2000   Prism-II        PCMCIA NCR WaveLAN/IEEE 802.11         PCMCIA NDC/Sohoware NCP130     Prism-II        PCI NEC CMZ-RT-WP   Prism-II        PCMCIA NEC PK-WL001    Lucent  PCMCIA NEC PC-WL/11C   Prism-II        PCMCIA Netgear MA311   Prism-2.5       PCI Netgear MA401   Prism-II/2.5    PCMCIA Netgear MA401RA Prism-II        PCMCIA Netgear MA701   Prism-II        CF NOKIA C020 WLAN Prism-II        PCMCIA NOKIA C110 WLAN Prism-2.5       PCMCIA NTT-ME 11Mbps Wireless LAN      Prism-II        PCMCIA Planex GeoWave/GW-NS110 Prism-II        PCMCIA Planex GW-NS11H Prism-II        PCMCIA Proxim Harmony  Prism-II        PCMCIA Proxim RangeLAN-DS      Prism-II        PCMCIA Samsung MagicLAN SWL-2000N      Prism-II        PCMCIA SENAO SL-2511CD Prism-3 PCMCIA Siemens SpeedStream SS1021      Prism-II        PCMCIA Siemens SpeedStream SS1021      Prism-3 PCMCIA SMC 2532W-B     Prism-II        PCMCIA SMC 2602 EZ Connect (3.3V)      Prism-II        PCI or PCMCIA SMC 2632 EZ Connect     Prism-II        PCMCIA Socket Low Power WLAN-CF        Prism-II        CF Sony PCWA-C100  Lucent  PCMCIA Sony PEGA-WL110 Prism-2.5       PCMCIA TDK LAK-CD011WL Prism-II        PCMCIA Toshiba Wireless LAN Card       Prism-II        PCMCIA U.S. Robotics Wireless Card 2410        Prism-II        PCMCIA YIS YWL-11B     Prism-II        PCMCIA

Several vendors sell PCI adapters built around the PLX Technology 9050 or 9052 chip. The following such adapters are supported or expected to work:

3Com AirConnect 3CRWE777A (3.3V)
Belkin F5D6000 (a rebadged WL11000P)
Eumitcom WL11000P
Global Sun Technology GL24110P (untested)
Global Sun Technology GL24110P02
LinkSys WDT11 (a rebadged GL24110P02)
Netgear MA301
US Robotics 2415 (rebadged WL11000P)
Wisecom Wireless LAN PCI Adapter

The following adapters have the same model numbers as those listed above, but might not work if the actual card is after the change away from the Prism family:

DLink DWL520


Join an existing BSS network (ie: connect to an access point):
ifconfig wlan create wlandev wi0 inet \
    netmask 0xffffff00

Join a specific BSS network with network name "my_net":

ifconfig wlan create wlandev wi0 inet \
    netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_net

Join a specific BSS network with WEP encryption:

ifconfig wlan create wlandev wi0 inet \
    netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_net \
    wepmode on wepkey 0x8736639624 weptxkey 1

Join a Lucent legacy demo ad-hoc network with network name "my_net":

ifconfig wlan create wlandev wi0 wlanmode ahdemo \
    inet netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_net

Join/create an IBSS network with network name "my_net":

ifconfig wlan create wlandev wi0 wlanmode adhoc wi0 \
    inet netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_net

Create a host-based access point (Prism only):

ifconfig wlan create wlandev wi0 wlanmode hostap \
    inet netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_ap

Create a host-based access point with WEP enabled (Prism only) and plumb it into bridge to fxp0:

ifconfig wlan0 create wlandev wi0 wlanmode hostap \
    inet netmask 0xffffff00 ssid my_ap \
    wepmode on wepkey 0x1234567890 weptxkey 1
ifconfig bridge0 create
ifconfig bridge0 addm wlan0 addm fxp0 up

This will give you the same functionality as an access point.


wi%d: init failed The WaveLAN card failed to become ready after an initialization command was issued.
wi%d: failed to allocate %d bytes on NIC The driver was unable to allocate memory for transmit frames in the NIC’s on-board RAM. This can also be an indication of an incorrectly configured interrupt.
wi%d: device timeout The WaveLAN card failed to generate an interrupt to acknowledge a transmit command.


intro(4), pccard(4), pccbb(4), pcic(4), wlan(4), wlan_ccmp(4), wlan_tkip(4), wlan_wep(4), wlan_xauth(4), hostapd(8), ifconfig(8), wpa_supplicant(8).
.Rs HCF Light programming specification


The wi device driver first appeared in
.Fx 3.0 .


The original wi driver was written by
.An Bill Paul Aq . This man page comes from
.Ox .


The driver will reject devices with old firmware to avoid dealing with numerous defects. Unfortunately the driver does not support downloading new firmware to the card so if new firmware is needed users will have to boot a different system to accomplish this.

Intersil Prism cards must have firmware versions 0.8.0 or later and version 1.7.0 or later are required to support functionality such as WPA. Some users of Prism-II and 2.5 based cards report that station firmware version 1.3.4 works better for them in hostap than 1.4.9. Older versions of the Prism station firmware have a number of issues with hostap mode. The IBSS/adhoc mode appears to work well on station firmware 1.3.1 and later. The IBSS/adhoc mode appears to have problems for some people with older versions of station firmware.

Lucent cards prior to firmware version 6.0.6 do not implement IBSS mode and are not supported.

Prior versions of wi supported Symbol firmware. That support has been removed due to persistent problems with this firmware as well as getting proper documentation on this firmware.

Hermes 2 and Hermes 3 chips are not supported by this driver.

Here’s the above requirements in the form of a table

Firmware       Minimum WPA     Host AP Adhoc/IBSS Prism II/2.5    0.8.0   1.7.0   1.3.4   1.3.1 Prism 3 0.8.0   1.7.0   1.4.9   1.3.1 Hermes  6.0.6   none    none    6.0.6 Symbol  none    none    none    none


Not all the new messages are documented here, and many of them are indications of transient errors that are not indications of serious problems.
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