Intel Wireless 5300 or similar MiniPCIe

  • Hi guys.

    i bought a Mini-ITX rig using an Intel D945GSEJT to use as a router. i thought i had done enough research but aparently not.

    i have the onboard gigabit plus an extra gigabit card, however, my Intel Wireless 5300 Mini-PCIe card does not get detected.

    from looking at the BSD site, i have found many posts with people who have the card working in BSD 8.0, howerver even in pfsense 2.0 i cant get it working.

    is it possible to get this card to work? and if not are there any other wireless N mini-PCIe cards i can use to get a wireless network working?


  • It would be helpful if you gave more detail about "can't get it working".

    Please complete at least one sentence along the lines of "I did … and expected to see ... but instead I saw ... "

  • sorry, i had kind of given up on the card and was more expecting a reference to a different one.

    firstly i installed the latest pfsense final release and the system detects the 2 network cards, just not the wireless one. so, a little more reading led me to believe that the version of BSD that the latest final version is based on did not support that card.

    so i updated pfsense to version 2.0 in the hope that the wireless card would be detected, still no luck. and just to make sure, i burned the latest version to CD and ran the install again in case the hardware was only detected on install.

    from the BSD forums i have read, BSD8.0 normally detects the card so i thought i would at least get it detected.


  • pfSense stated policy is that it supports all NIC FreeBSD supports. However, sometimes the developers don't notice the latest FreeBSD includes supports for previously unsupported NICs and the pfSense build isn't updated to include the drivers for the newly supported NICs. Its been my experience that the developers attend to this promptly, once it is pointed out.

    I can't speak of pfSense 2.0 in this regard, but in pfSense 1.2.x some of the web GUI scripts incorporate "additional knowledge" about particular interfaces (e.g. VLAN support) and I know of occasions when the scripts needed to be updated to accurately reflect the capabilities of particular interfaces. Again, its been my experience that the developers correct these promptly when they are pointed out.

    One option is that you provide more detail and we work through support issues for this particular card.

    Another option is that you purchase another card. I have no experience with mini-PCIe cards but forum readers seem to generally get good performance with Atheros and Ralink chipsets, although Atheros chipsets and pfSense 1.2.3 has been a mixed bag in that some people get good performance (I do) while others get patchy performance.

    Unfortunately attempting to use even reasonably recently released cards with FreeBSD can put you on the "bleeeding edge" with some inconvenience and even pain while the rough edges of the support are sanded off.

    If you want to pursue the first option, please post the startup output (dmesg output) from a pfSense 2.0 startup on your system with the 5300 installed.

    If you want to get another card, you should take care that the card has a supported chipset and has the capabilities you need. (For example, not all supported wireless cards support Access Point mode). A temporary option might be to purchase a TP-Link TL-WN321G which is a USB card with Ralink chipset (supported in pfSense 1.2.3) and supporting Access Point mode. Its not a wireless N card, its wireless G. These are comparatively cheap (at least near me) and one could be used as a temporary measure while the support issues on your 5300 are worked out.

    I've just checked on the FreeBSD hardware support page for FreeBSD8.0 ( and can't see the Intel 5300 listed there. This suggests that if people have got it working they have engaged in some sort of "unofficial trickery". The pfSense developers might not be prepared to engage in the same trickery. Its possible the 5300 is the same as some documented supported chipset BUT with a different host interface, in which case the trickery might be minimal.

  • thanks for all the help.

    one thing i did wonder, is the access point mode a hardware or software thing? as i found that linux supports this card, however only in ad-hoc mode, however BSD drivers are obviously slightly different.

    from what i have read, my Intel Wireless 5300 uses the same driver as the 4965AGN but as you say, some trickery may have been involved to get it that far.

    i am thinking that an easier option would be to buy a new card but before i do this, i would like to make sure that someone has one working in Wireless N mode and i havent found anything on the forums so far.

    as you say, i think trying to be on the "bleeding edge" is asking a little too much, it would appear im effectively looking for the "holy grail" of routers.

  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Last I saw, the Intel cards – even if they did work -- do not work in hostap mode, so they could not be used to setup a pfSense access point. They could only be used for wireless WAN.

    It looks like the iwn driver would support the 4965AGN, and if that isn't already in pfSense 2.0 it could probably be included in the kernel config (it may not have been updated to include that driver). However, as I said in the previous paragraph, the iwn(4) man page for the driver indicates that it doesn't support hostap mode, only station, adhoc, and monitor modes.

    The challenge isn't just finding an N card that works with FreeBSD, but also an N card which has a driver that supports hostap mode with N.

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