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Comment Re:really? (Score 2) 85

Atheros make high end and low end chips. It's up to the manufacturers as to what they choose. They choose price. Sad, but true.

You can buy the higher-end 2x2 and 3x3 devices. The unit prices are more than the low end chips.

Driver support? It's up to the company you bought the laptop from, not Atheros. Atheros only makes the chips. We don't make the NICs or the rest of the device. Especially in the windows world, vendors have a habit of doing 'strange ass shit' here and there. Please don't blame QCA for the weird, cheap-ass, cost-cutting crap that goes on elsewhere.

Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 2) 85

.. you mean, how the firmware is clearbsd licenced?

Except for the Tensilica runtime, that's MIT licenced?

Except for two GPLv2 files from ECoS? Which state that only those two files fall under GPL, not the rest of the stuff it's compiled with?

I'm pretty sure it's free like you wish. You can create a closed source derivative of the firmware if you so choose.

Comment Re:Master Mode (Score 3, Informative) 85

Things then crash. :-)

Embedded software looks different to your Linux/FreeBSD kernel development. There's fixed buffers allocated for things. Once those buffers are full, everything stops until they're not full.

If you want more information please subscribe to the ath9k firmware list and ask questions there. I'd rather everyone benefit from the answers!

Comment Re:Why is it so very last-generation? (Score 3, Informative) 85

The FSF decided to investigate this AR9271 part. I'm not sure why.

The AR7010+AR9280 NICs are dual-band. There's AR7010+AR9283 NICs that are 2x2 2.4ghz only. The AR7010+AR9287 NICs are also 2x2 2.4GHz only but support a few newer things (like short-GI in 20MHz mode, and generally better behaviour all around.)

Hopefully the FSF certifies the AR7010 based firmware devices too. But, they've chosen this one and I'm glad they saw it through.

I don't know if there's a hardware list that shows the dual-band ath9k_htc hardware. But it's out there, somewhere.

Comment Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (Score 3, Insightful) 85

The people that want to do dirty hacks, like mesh or TDMA offload on the USB NIC.

Or even improved hostap support.

Or an experimental platform for ${THING_YOU_HAVENT_THOUGHT_OF_YET}.

Yes, you can buy cheaper NICs. Same as buying cheaper anything. But here's a USB NIC with a well-understood wifi part (AR9285 on-die) and now open firmware with open tools to fiddle with the thing. If the FSF and manufacturers manage to ship a million units, great. I'm happy just knowing that people are doing interesting stuff with it. Doubly so if I haven't thought of it yet. Triply so if it's cool and turns out to be transferrable to the other Atheros wifi hardware out there.

Comment Re:Master Mode (Score 5, Informative) 85

The wifi part of the hardware does. One of the reasons we opened up the firmware was to let people at it to make it better at supporting master mode.

The NIC has a small embedded CPU to act as a PCIeUSB gateway and a small amount of RAM to run code and buffer frames. The problem with master mode is the amount of RAM that you need for each associated station. So there's been discussion about moving some of the stuff done in the NIC CPU (transmit aggregation, rate control) into the host, so the NIC itself doesn't need to store (that much|any) per-station state.

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