Can't get WLE200NX card on SG-4860 to use 5Ghz



  • I'm new to pfSense, hopefully this is something easy.

    I bought an SG-4860 with built-in wifi card. I think it's the WLE200NX (Atheros AR9280 chipset) , which will operate at either 2.4Ghz or 5.8Ghz band. I would like it to setup an Interface called WIFI as an AP, with its own subnet. No matter what I try, I can't get this to choose a 5.8Ghz channel. Attached is my "common wireless config" section of the "WIFI" interface. When I save/apply changes to this interface. I end up with an SSID broadcasting on 802.11g channel 1 (in the 2.4Ghz range). When I select any 5Ghz channel, the results are the same.

    I tried this at the cmdline:

    ifconfig ath0 list chan
    ifconfig: unable to get channel information: Invalid argument  
    ```![Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 8.12.25 PM.PNG](/public/_imported_attachments_/1/Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 8.12.25 PM.PNG)
    ![Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 8.12.25 PM.PNG_thumb](/public/_imported_attachments_/1/Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 8.12.25 PM.PNG_thumb)


  • I've seen couple of AR9280 cards that worked fine as client for 2,4Ghz and 5-5,8Ghz bands but could do access point only for 2,4Ghz band.

    Solution was to extract cards firmware, modify fw file using hex editor and reflash the card with it.

    EDIT: My memory failed me. No need for hex editing. Found the Windows tool from among my stored files and looks like mouse clicking is all thats needed.

    Look around in the internet for "Atheros EEPROM Tool". There are 2 versions, original and bugfixed (AnV in the file name). Using it presumes starting Windows in "Test mode" (custommodded driver coming with the tool has no signature). Works only for 92xx cards. Not with newer cards (tried with AR9462, 9463 and 9580)

    NB! Avoid modifying that custom RegDmn field. Wrong value in it kills the card. Permanently.



  • @shaqan:

    I've seen couple of AR9280 cards that worked fine as client for 2,4Ghz and 5-5,8Ghz bands but could do access point only for 2,4Ghz band.

    I hope that isn't the case with this card. I bought the SG-4860 from the pfSense store to support the project, but also because for this project, I didn't want to have to figure out which hardware worked well. I've done enough of that on other projects.

    Can any tell me:

    • Is the standard add-on wifi for the SG-series sold from the pfSense store as of a few weeks ago (uh-oh, I see it is no longer an option!) a WLE2000NX? I thought it was by digging around on the NetGate site and making some assumptions. If it isn't, what is it?

    • Regardless of what the card is, does it support AP mode for 5Ghz?



  • @gertty:

    • Regardless of what the card is, does it support AP mode for 5Ghz?

    I've been using a Compex WLE200NX for years as a 5GHz AP (channel 64, 5320 MHz 11a ht/40-). No modding needed.



  • I got this to work, no idea why it works this time vs last time.

    Steps I took:

    • delete the interface in the Web UI.
    • ifconfig destroy a wlan0 interface (don't know why that was still there) using the command line.```
      ifconfig wlan0 destroy
    - reboot.
    - reconfigure with Web UI.


  • @gertty:

    I got this to work, no idea why it works this time vs last time.

    Steps I took:

    • delete the interface in the Web UI.
    • ifconfig destroy a wlan0 interface (don't know why that was still there) using the command line.
    • reboot.
    • reconfigure with Web UI.

    HI Gertty , could you provide the command line please , I also have a mPCIe WLE200NX  - Compex 802.11a/b/g/n miniPCI Express Card but does not run at all on 5GHz , this is my 2nd card ( I thought the first card was faulty as the error count was increasing thruout usage.) , althou works reasonably ok on 2.4Ghz , the errors in/out are increasing (no collisions thou) , Errors In: 10 , Out:857  not sure if this is concerning or not ,

    Query in general , Is PFSense 2.3 generally setup to run a Wireless mPCIe interface like this ok , or frowned upon ?..  I know a Wireless AP via Ethernet is a better solution :)

    I have a PC Engine APU 2C4 setup. –> https://nicegear.co.nz/wishlists/207

    Thanks for any responses received.



  • I added it above:

    ifconfig wlan0 destroy
    

    wlan0 was the interface I found on the command line using ifconfig. I found this link about Wireless Networking on FreeBSD really useful.

    pfSense 2.3 seems to work well with wireless cards that are well supported in FreeBSD. As far as I can tell, Atheros cards seem to have the best support. I believe the general "wifi on pfSense is frowned upon" is that the wifi functionally is less of a common use case so it more of a "road less travelled" so you have less people here with experience running these configurations.



  • As far as I know AR9280 does let you create AP using 2,4Ghz band but not on 5Ghz. 5Ghz is allowed only for client-mode. It's limited with an EEPROM setting not in a driver of any OS.

    It's changeable by user, AR9280 does not have OneTimeWritable (OTP) EEPROM like later cards have but you risk bricking card in the process of modifying EEPROM. I've killed one Dell DW1525 card in the process by "adjusting" regdom value accidentally to non-existing value. Card is recognized but drivers have no clue as what to do with it and reject it. Short of approaching the EEPROM chip with a solder it's unfixable.

    You want dual band chip that could do AP on both bands, look for AR9462 chipset. Don't know if there are any in PCI-e format. What I have (3p) are all in mini-PCIe



  • @shaqan:

    As far as I know AR9280 does let you create AP using 2,4Ghz band but not on 5Ghz. 5Ghz is allowed only for client-mode. It's limited with an EEPROM setting not in a driver of any OS.

    At least with the WLE200NX card (which is the AR9280 chipset ) that used to be an option on the SG-4860 sold by the pfSense store, I can confirm it does support AP mode on 5Ghz. I'm using it right now! I don't think both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz can be active at the same time, but so far I have been able to do both client and AP mode on either 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz with this card.



  • @gertty:

    I don't think both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz can be active at the same time

    You're right, it's dual band but not dual radio.



  • Hey guys,

    I just want to report that I was successfully able to configure my WLE200NX (9280) PCIe card as an AP running at  5 ghz on channel 64 installed on my APU2c4 board that I use as my AP / firewall using PF on OpenBSD 6.0, without having to mod anything. I just switched to chan 64 on hostname.athn0 and just restarted the adapter, and it worked! Again no MODS!  So yes, the chipset supports 5 ghz on AP mode. Does anyone know what other channels are available to run at 5 ghz other than 64. thanks!