Ifconfig $if list CAPS (what do they all mean ?)
pfsense:~# ifconfig ath0 list caps ath0=6783edcf <wep,tkip,aes,aes_ccm,ff,turbop,ibss,hostap,ahdemo,txpmgt,shslot,shpreamble,monitor,tkipmic,wpa1,wpa2,burst,wme,bgscan,txfrag></wep,tkip,aes,aes_ccm,ff,turbop,ibss,hostap,ahdemo,txpmgt,shslot,shpreamble,monitor,tkipmic,wpa1,wpa2,burst,wme,bgscan,txfrag>
WEP = Wireless Encryption Protocol
TKIP = Temporal Key Integrity Protocol, TKIP is very similar to WEP but improved because it hase a two phase process, the first is generating a session key from a mix of a temp key + transmitter MAC + TKIP sequence number, this generates the TKIP-mixed transmit address and key (TTAK), the second is TTAK + IV and is used to produce the final key that encrypts the data. Much like how WEP uses the first 24bits of the IV, in TKIP the IV has a extended space allowing an extra 24bits, thus allowing for 24bits of the same key (like WEP), but adding a adittional 24bits holding what is unique to the session esablished by a single user.
TKIPMIC = TKIP with Message Integrity Check (basically a protocol to counter the many message modification attacks that existed in WEP)
AES = Advanced Encryption Standard
AES_CCM = AES with CCMP (Counter Mode CBC-MAC Protocol
FF = Fast Frames and is part of Atheros Super standard
TURBOP = Turbo Protocol, also part of Atheros Super standard basically extends the channel bandwith from 20 to 40MHz iow. double the possible data transfer amount.
IBSS = Card is capable of IBSS (Independent Basic Service Set). see wikipedia for more info.
HOSTAP = Is just short for the ability to Host Acces Point. google hostapd for more info.
AHDEMO = Ad-Hoc Demo mode (sams as Ad-Hoc but with different handling of beacons & probes ++) often used as a scanning mode.
TXPMGT = TX Power ManaGemneT
SHSLOT = Short slot time (the amount of time a device waits after a collision before it retransmits a packet. In a pure b or B/G mixed mode this should not be on due to legacy support/compatibility))
SHPREAMBLE = Short Preable - Improves thruput and basically allows for a short version of the radio Preable section in the PLCP (Physical Layer Convergence Protocol) PLCP is allways transmittet on 1mbit with long preable at a fixed time of 192 microsec., while short will allow for transfering the Preable in 1Mbps while the PLCP Header will be transfered in 2Mbps thus giving a 92 microsec. transfer time or 100% performance gain if you like.
MONITOR = Just what the word implies, listening mode to use when analysing Wireless problems, wardriving and whatnot. Unlike like promisc mode it does pick up any wireless signal without requireing a association (it's part of the 6 modes in the 802.11 standard, the others are Master aka AP mode, Managed aka client/station mode, Ad-Hoc, Mesh and Repeater)
WPA1 = Wifi Protected Access 1. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi_Protected_Access for more info.
WPA2 = Wifi Protected Access 2. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi_Protected_Access for more info.
BURST = Frame Bursting mode and is part of Atheros Super standard see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame-bursting for more info.
WME = Wireless Multimedia Extensions aka WMM (Wi-Fi MultiMedia). see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Multimedia_Extensions for more info.
BGSCAN = Background scanning for other systems (this can interrupt the traffic flow and should only be used in station mode and only if you like to switch AP all the time, very usefull in roaming networks)
TXFRAG = TX fragmentation, only needed if you send oversize frames (like if you wanted to send Jumboframes over a wifi link, use with caution it does drain resources and usually gives crappy performance)