WI(4) BSD Kernel Interfaces Manual WI(4)
wi -- WaveLAN/IEEE, PRISM 2-3, and Spectrum24 IEEE 802.11b wireless net-
# all architectures
wi* at pci?
wi* at pcmcia? function ?
wi* at uhub? port ?
# macppc extra attachment
wi* at macobio?
The wi driver provides support for wireless network adapters based around
the Lucent Hermes, Intersil PRISM-2, Intersil PRISM-2.5, Intersil
PRISM-3, and Symbol Spectrum24 chipsets. All five chipsets provide a
similar interface to the driver.
The wi driver encapsulates all IP and ARP traffic as 802.11 frames,
though it can receive either 802.11 or 802.3 frames. Transmit speed is
selectable between 1Mbps fixed, 2Mbps fixed, 2Mbps with auto fallback,
5.5Mbps, 8Mbps, or 11Mbps, depending on hardware.
These are the modes the wi driver can operate in:
BSS mode Also known as infrastructure mode, this is used when asso-
ciating with an access point, through which all traffic
passes. This mode is the default.
IBSS mode Also known as IEEE ad-hoc mode or peer-to-peer mode. This
is the standardized method of operating without an access
point. Stations associate with a service set. However,
actual connections between stations are peer-to-peer as in
ad-hoc mode. Cards with very old firmware revisions do
not support this mode.
IBSS master Also know as Host IBSS mode. In this mode the station
takes on part of the role of an access point, though traf-
fic does not pass through it to reach the other stations.
When a group of stations are operating in IBSS mode, one
of them must be the master, specifying the network name of
the service set.
Host AP In this mode the driver acts as an access point (base sta-
tion) for other cards. Only cards based on the Intersil
chipsets support this mode. Furthermore, this mode is not
supported on USB devices.
ad-hoc mode More accurately known as ad-hoc demo mode. This mode does
not require an access point; the adapter communicates with
other ad-hoc stations within range on a peer-to-peer
basis. This mode is not specified by the IEEE 802.11
standard and there may be problems interoperating with
adapters manufactured by different vendors.
The wi driver can be configured to use both software and hardware Wired
Equivalent Privacy (WEP). It is strongly recommended that WEP not be
used as the sole mechanism to secure wireless communication, due to seri-
ous weaknesses in it.
The Lucent WaveLAN/IEEE Silver and Gold cards as well as the Intersil and
Symbol cards have support for WEP encryption. The WaveLAN Gold as well
as newer Intersil and Symbol cards support 104-bit keys, the others only
accept 40-bit keys. The Lucent WaveLAN/IEEE Bronze cards do not support
WEP at all. See also CAVEATS below.
The wi driver can be configured at runtime with ifconfig(8) or on boot
Cards supported by the wi driver come in a variety of packages, though
the most common are of the PCMCIA type. In many cases, the PCI version
of a wireless card is simply a PCMCIA card bundled with a PCI adapter.
The PCI adapters come in two flavors: true PCMCIA bridges and dumb PCMCIA
bridges. A true PCMCIA bridge (such as those sold by Lucent) will attach
as a real PCMCIA controller. The wireless card will then attach to the
PCMCIA bus. Wireless cards in PCMCIA slots may be inserted and ejected
on the fly. A dumb bridge, on the other hand, does not show up as a true
PCMCIA bus. The wireless card will simply appear to the host as a normal
PCI device and will not require any PCMCIA support. Cards in this type
of adapter should only be removed when the machine is powered down.
The following cards are among those supported by the wi driver:
Card Chip Bus
3Com AirConnect 3CRWE737A Spectrum24 PCMCIA
3Com AirConnect 3CRWE777A Prism-2 PCI
Acer Warplink USB-400 Prism-3 USB
Actiontec HWC01170 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
Actiontec HWU01170 Prism-3 USB
Adaptec AWN-8030 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
Addtron AWA-100 Prism-2 PCI
Addtron AWP-100 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Agere ORiNOCO Hermes PCMCIA
AirVast WM168b Prism-3 USB
AmbiCom WL1100C-CF Prism-3 CF
Ambit WLAN Prism-3 USB
Apacer Wireless Steno MB112 Prism-3 USB
Apple Airport Hermes macobio
ARtem Onair Hermes PCMCIA
ASUS SpaceLink WL-100 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
ASUS SpaceLink WL-110 Prism-2.5 CF
ASUS WL-140 Prism-3 USB
Belkin F5D6020 (version 1 only) Prism-2 PCMCIA
Belkin F5D6001 (version 1 only) Prism-2 PCI
Belkin F5D6060 (version 1 only) Prism-2.5 CF
Buffalo AirStation Prism-2 PCMCIA
Buffalo AirStation Prism-2 CF
Cabletron RoamAbout Hermes PCMCIA
Compaq Agency NC5004 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Compaq W100 Prism-3 USB
Contec FLEXLAN/FX-DS110-PCC Prism-2 PCMCIA
Corega PCC-11 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Corega PCCA-11 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Corega PCCB-11 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Corega CGWLPCIA11 Prism-2 PCI
Corega WLUSB-11 Prism-3 USB
Corega WLUSB-11 Key Prism-3 USB
D-Link DCF-660W Prism-2 CF
D-Link DWL-120 (rev F) Prism-3 USB
D-Link DWL-122 Prism-3 USB
D-Link DWL-520 (rev A and B only) Prism-2.5 PCI
D-Link DWL-650 (rev A1-J3 only) Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
ELSA XI300 Prism-2 PCMCIA
ELSA XI325 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
ELSA XI325H Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
ELSA XI800 Prism-2 CF
EMTAC A2424i Prism-2 PCMCIA
Ericsson Wireless LAN CARD C11 Spectrum24 PCMCIA
Gemtek WL-311 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
Hawking Technology WE110P Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
I-O DATA WN-B11/PCM Prism-2 PCMCIA
I-O DATA WN-B11/USB Prism-3 USB
Intel PRO/Wireless 2011 Spectrum24 PCMCIA
Intel PRO/Wireless 2011B Prism-3 USB
Intersil Prism II Prism-2 PCMCIA
Intersil Mini PCI Prism-2.5 PCI
Intersil ISL3872 Prism-3 PCI
Intersil Prism 2X Prism-3 USB
JVC MP-XP7250 Prism-3 USB
Linksys WCF12 Prism-3 CF
Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11 2.5 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
Linksys Instant Wireless WPC11 3.0 Prism-3 PCMCIA
Linksys WUSB11 v3.0 Prism-3 USB
Linksys WUSB12 Prism-3 USB
Longshine 8301 Prism-2 PCI
Lucent WaveLAN Hermes PCMCIA
Melco WLI-USB-KB11 Prism-3 USB
Melco WLI-USB-KS11G Prism-3 USB
Melco WLI-USB-S11 Prism-3 USB
Microsoft MN510 Prism-3 USB
Microsoft MN520 Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
NANOSPEED ROOT-RZ2000 Prism-2 PCMCIA
NDC/Sohoware NCP130 Prism-2 PCI
NEC CMZ-RT-WP Prism-2 PCMCIA
Netgear MA111 (version 1 only) Prism-3 USB
Netgear MA311 Prism-2.5 PCI
Netgear MA401 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Netgear MA401RA Prism-2.5 PCMCIA
Netgear MA701 Prism-2.5 CF
Nokia C020 Wireless LAN Prism-I PCMCIA
Nokia C110/C111 Wireless LAN Prism-2 PCMCIA
Nortel E-mobility 211818-A Spectrum24 PCI
NTT-ME 11Mbps Wireless LAN Prism-2 PCMCIA
Pheenet WL-503IA Prism-3 USB
Planex GW-NS11H Prism-3 PCMCIA
Planex GW-US11H Prism-3 USB
Pretec Compact WLAN OC-WLBXX-A Prism-2.5 CF
Proxim Harmony Prism-2 PCMCIA
Proxim RangeLAN-DS Prism-2 PCMCIA
Samsung MagicLAN SWL-2000N Prism-2 PCMCIA
Samsung MagicLAN SWL-2210P Prism-2 PCI
Senao NL-2511CF Prism-3 CF
Senao NL-2511MP Prism-2.5 PCI
Siemens SpeedStream SS1021 Prism-2 PCMCIA
Siemens SpeedStream SS1022 Prism-3 USB
Sitecom WL-022 Prism-3 USB
SMC 2632 EZ Connect Prism-2 PCMCIA
Symbol Spectrum24 Spectrum24 PCMCIA
Symbol LA4123 Spectrum24 PCI
Syntax USB-400 Prism-3 USB
TDK LAK-CD011WL Prism-2 PCMCIA
US Robotics 1120 Prism-3 USB
US Robotics 2410 Prism-2 PCMCIA
US Robotics 2445 Prism-2 PCMCIA
ViewSonic Airsync Prism-2.5 USB
Z-Com XI-725/726 Prism-2.5 USB
Z-Com XI-735 Prism-3 USB
ZyXEL ZyAIR B-200 Prism-3 USB
Note that some of the PRISM-II adapters only work at 3.3V, hence
cardbus(4) support is required for those cards to set VCC correctly, even
though they are really 16-bit cards.
USB support is still experimental and the device may stop functioning
during normal use. Resetting the device by configuring the interface
down and back up again will normally reactivate it.
Several vendors sell PCI adapters built around the PLX Technology 9050 or
9052 chip. The following such adapters are supported or expected to
3Com AirConnect 3CRWE777A (3.3V)
Belkin F5D6000 (a rebadged WL11000P)
Global Sun Technology GL24110P (untested)
Global Sun Technology GL24110P02
Linksys WDT11 (a rebadged GL24110P02)
Siemens/Efficient Networks SpeedStream 1023
US Robotics 2415 (rebadged WL11000P)
The following example scans for available networks:
# ifconfig wi0 scan
The following hostname.if(5) example configures wi0 to join network
``mynwid'', using WEP key ``mywepkey'', obtaining an IP address using
The following hostname.if(5) example creates a host-based access point on
inet 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0
wi0: init failed The WaveLAN card failed to come ready after an initial-
ization command was issued.
wi0: failed to allocate N bytes on NIC The driver was unable to allocate
memory for transmit frames in the NIC's on-board RAM.
wi0: device timeout The WaveLAN failed to generate an interrupt to
acknowledge a transmit command.
arp(4), ifmedia(4), intro(4), netintro(4), pci(4), pcmcia(4), usb(4),
HCF Light programming specification.
The wi device driver first appeared in FreeBSD 3.0. OpenBSD support was
added in OpenBSD 2.6.
The wi driver was written by Bill Paul <email@example.com> and
ported to OpenBSD by Niklas Hallqvist <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The original Lucent WaveLAN cards usually default to channel 3; newer
cards use channel 10 by default. Non-Lucent cards vary, for instance the
Addtron cards use channel 11 by default. See ifconfig(8) for information
on how to change the channel.
Not all 3.3V wi PCMCIA cards work.
IBSS creation does not currently work with Symbol cards.
The host-based access point mode on the Intersil PRISM cards has bugs
when used with firmware versions prior to 0.8.3 and is completely unus-
able with firmware versions prior to 0.8.0 and 1.4.0-1.4.2.
Software WEP is currently only supported in Host AP and BSS modes. Fur-
thermore, software WEP is currently incapable of decrypting fragmented
frames. Lucent-based cards using firmware 8.10 and above fragment
encrypted frames sent at 11Mbps. To work around this, Lucent clients
with this firmware revision connecting to a Host AP server should use a
2Mbps connection or upgrade their firmware to version 8.72.
Host AP mode doesn't support WDS or power saving. Clients attempting to
use power saving mode may experience significant packet loss (disabling
power saving on the client will fix this).
Support for USB devices is buggy. Host AP mode and AP scanning are not
currently supported with USB devices.
BSD April 29, 2017 BSD