Alix2d3 + atheros wifi = no go?



  • I just received my package of toys from PC engines - an alix2d3, some CF, an antenna & pigtail and a dcma81 wireless card. I have hooked it all up and installed pfSense 1.2.1 embedded, which is working fine on the wired interfaces. I'm having some trouble with wifi though.

    I can't seem to get hostap mode to work, when changing the settings in the webui I get several lines of the following on the console:

    ath0: unable to reset hardware; hal status 12

    My dmesg output also contains this once, seems to be when the card is first initialized:

    ath0: ath_chan_set: unable to reset channel 6 (2437 Mhz, flags 0x690 hal flags 0x150)

    I've tried fiddling with the a/b/g mode and it seems to make no difference. I did notice that I can use infrastructure mode, but not immediately after setting the configuration. It only works after a power cycle, and I can't change settings while it's running, I get the same error. The SSID also seems to be advertising when freshly booted into hostap mode, but I can't associate with the network.

    The manual indicates that both of these errors should never happen. Any suggestions? Anyone used the dcma81 card from Wistron with success?

    Edit: It seems that this only occurs if 'Auto' channel selection is enabled. The card/driver seems to choose channel 6 which has a note about 'turbo' mode in the webui. If I manually select a different channel, it seems to come up okay and work fine.



  • dont use channel 6. I had the same problem with a netgear card. Some reason the wifi card doesn't like channel 6. I recommend channels 1,3,9,11…



  • @Cino:

    I recommend channels 1,3,9,11…

    Sorry, Cino, you better NOT recommend any WiFI channels unless you know exactly what's going on in the HF surroundings of that person!
    I couldn't use any of the ones you mentioned. They are in use by neighbours and pretty much crowded at times.

    Using lots of odd channels cannot be advised either. The width of each is way bigger than you seem to expect. The only WiFi channels NOT overlapping at all are 1, 6 and 13.



  • Not sure why you couldn't use any of them. I've witness about 8 aps using different SSIDS on channel 1. All these APs are within 50-60 feet of each other. The APs are for testing purposes but the feedback i've heard was good. Only issue they were having were some tx/rx errors but i would expect that since they were using the same channel..

    I only recommend those channels to it the ap up and running…. As far as overlapping, in the States channel 1, 6 and 11 dont overlap. And I believe 1, 5, 9 and 13 in Europe.



  • I can't use them because others are pushing traffic on them. Air (or electromagnetic waves travelling through) is a shared medium. When it's saturated then it is saturated.

    @Cino:

    I've witness about 8 aps using different SSIDS on channel 1. All these APs are within 50-60 feet of each other.

    If only one of them pushes traffic you are right. If two try to do it at the same time you get collisions and decreased throughput. Massively.

    @Cino:

    As far as overlapping, in the States channel 1, 6 and 11 dont overlap. And I believe 1, 5, 9 and 13 in Europe.

    You are funny!
    Europe allows for two additional channels. The carrier frequency and width for a specific channel is the same all over the world and WiFi Channels 1 and 5 partly overlap everywhere.
    Why do you think Europe could get away with a narrowed scope? Because we're smarter than the rest?   ;D  SCNR



  • @Cino:

    dont use channel 6. I had the same problem with a netgear card. Some reason the wifi card doesn't like channel 6.

    Back on topic:
    The problems on WiFi channel 6 might be related to a special mode like "Super G" or "SpeedBooster". Atheros and Broadcom as mfr's invented different incompatible standards to double the max. throughput by bonding channels. I seem to remember having read about it some time ago.


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