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[20040819] More ath adventures - NetBSD >> Linux
I continued playing with the Atheros 54MBit WaveLAN cards and an LanCom Access point today. Getting things configured in NetBSD was all easy, simply setting "mediaopt turbo" as listed by "ifconfig -m ath0" and the channel that the AP was tuned to, and off we went. Almost - I first had to find out that setting the countrycode to Germany (by patching CTRY_DEFAULT=276 into the kernel) didn't give any Turbo modes from the HAL, so we operated the hardware in US frequency bands. Getting the card to attach to the WaveLAN and tune into the right frequency, ping the access point in the Atheros Turbo mode was all no problem. On NetBSD.

On Linux, the MadWiFi driver patched into either a 2.4.x or 2.6.x kernel didn't work when enabling Turbo mode, giving obscure error messages that we could decode as wrong parameters to one of the HAL functions by the ifconfig(!) command. This and all the maze of various tools like ifconfig, iwconfig, iwpriv together with the lot of undocumented arguments you had to hand them didn't help to make setting up Turbo mode on an Atheros card w/ Linux a straight forward job. Manpages for these tools? You wish! And if available, they're uncomplete and tell the important bits that you have to put into the "private" bits of the card.

Today's experience confirmed that if you want a working setup with little to no fuzz, NetBSD is the right choice! Of course in an economy that lives from consulting and broken things, Linux sounds much better as it will create demand for support, consulting and fixing where things could just work, and people could just get work done otherwise. Oh well!

Performance measurements with iperf showed 43MBit/s (~5MByte/s) between a Pentium-133 running Linux connected to the AP via ethernet, and a PIII-800 running NetBSD 2.0_BETA/i386 and a -current kernel from today.

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