Atheros Wireless Setup – Ubuntu

As I stated earlier, I just bought a new laptop and installed Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft) on it. All was working apart from the wireless connection. The Laptop comes with a Atheros wireless card. Ubuntu also comes installed with madwifi drivers for the card. So in theory things should just work, right ? Well no. The version of the wireless card I have (I do not have the version to hand) does not work with the current ubuntu package of madWiFi drivers.

So this is a quick step by step tutorial on how I got things to work nicely :

  • Get the g++ compiler : sudo apt-get install build-essential
  • Download subversion : sudo apt-get install subversion
  • Create directory to store the drivers and navigate to it.
  • Download latest madwifi drivers using subversion : subversion svn checkout madwifi
  • Get the current Kernel you are running : uname -r
  • Navigate to the correct lib directory : cd /lib/modules/$(uname -r) (use the output from the previous step to get the directory)
  • Delete the net lib files : sudo rm -rf net
  • Delete the madwifi files : sudo rm -rf madwifi
  • Delete this folder if it exists : sudo rm -rf madwifi-ng
  • Find the modules currently installed that you need to unload : lsmod | grep ath
  • From this output above issue a rmmod command for all the modules : sudo rmmod modulename
  • Go back to where you downloaded the new subversion drivers and run : sudo make and then sudo make install answer yes to remove the old module.
  • Load all of the modules you have just unloaded using modprobe. These should be:
    sudo modprobe ath_pci
    sudo modprobe ath_rate_sample
    sudo modprobe wlan
    sudo modprobe ath_hal
  • Check to see if modules have been loaded by typing dmesg and looking at the system log.
  • Open up network gui in Ubuntu and enable the wifi card and set the sessid

The card should now be configured. However if you want a dock applet that informs you how much strength your wireless card has, I would suggest netapplet.

I hope this has helped someone. This took me about 2-3 hours to get working!



34 comments so far

  1. muzee on

    Need help … i am very much a noob … and was following your instructions when the system froze… i had unloaded all the mods with smod | grep ath but now don’t know which to load back … and as u may guess I cannot see the adapter in the gui any longer.


  2. Hamza on

    Hi, I should have actually put this in the post.

    Well here are the modules I loaded back :

    sudo modprobe ath_pci
    sudo modprobe ath_rate_sample
    sudo modprobe wlan
    sudo modprobe ath_hal

    Hope this helps

  3. muzee on

    … thanks .. will try that now.

  4. muzee on

    worked this time …
    one thing:
    sudo apt-get install build-essentials
    — should actually be “build-essential” … (couldn’t get it to work first)
    great guide though.


  5. Hamza on

    I am glad it has worked 🙂

    I will update the post and fix that typo.


  6. henry on

    it worked for me. It took me less than 10mins to get it working. Good post

  7. Phil on

    Worked for me too. Many thanks!


  8. Doug on

    Worked for me too. Thanks a lot!

  9. Julebo on

    I downloaded the subversion & build-essential package and they downloaded correctly. Now when I try : subversion svn checkout madwifi
    it tells me it doesn’t recognize this command. I can assure you that the two packages are correctly installed. What the heck am I doing wrong?

  10. Troels on

    Try just:
    $svn checkout madwifi

  11. Troels Linnet on

    Hi. I have a Atheros AR5008. 300 mps. Type n.
    I followed same instruktions, but downloaded
    the experimental driver for n cards at:
    Downloading the latest driver from 10-Apr-2007.
    I followed the link at:

    Before i have tried the ndiswrapper.
    It didnt work…
    Several places have complained problems
    with ndiswrapper and AR5008.
    I dont know if it is important, but i uninstalled the ndiswrapper to bere sure:
    $sudo apt-get remove ndiswrapper-commen

    and then i removed the loaded modules:
    $lsmod | grep ndis
    $rmmod modulename


  12. Troels on

    Hi. I have a Atheros AR5008. 300 mps. Version a.
    I got it working with the experimental driver:
    Following the link:

    And following the rest of guide.


  13. Troels Linnet on

    I have feisty 7.04 with Atheros AR5008 300 mps.
    type n.
    I followed the guide, but with another driver:

    FYI there now is a driver for the Atheros AR5008. You can get the driver at:

    It’s still exeprimental and I don’t know how well it works.

    And it worked!!!

  14. jonjon09 on

    I have followed all the steps listed but I still get an error message during the loading of the modules…
    I type sudo modprobe ath_pci (in the folder madwifi, don’t know if it matters where but ok) and it tells me:
    FATAL: Error inserting ath_pci (/lib/modules/2.6.17-11-generic/net/ath_pci.ko): Unknown symbol in module, or unknown parameter (see dmesg)

    I don’t know if it has anything to do with when it tells me “ERROR: Module wlan is in use by wlan_scan_sta” when I try to unlod it with sudo rmmod…
    PS: I just installed ubuntu a few days ago so I’m not good at all with commands and understanding yet. 😦

  15. B on

    thanks worked for me

  16. Claude Sutton on

    I am getting a similar error when doing the sudo modprobe command

    How to fix?

  17. Claude Sutton on

    I should have included tat when running make install, I got the following error:

    install ath_pci.ko //lib/modules/2.6.15-28-686/net
    install: cannot stat `ath_pci.ko’: No such file or directory
    make[1]: *** [install] Error 1
    make[1]: Leaving directory `/lib/modules/2.6.15-28-686/madwifi_drivers/madwifi/ath’
    make: *** [install-modules] Error 1

  18. Claude Sutton on


  19. loud_silence on

    great writeup took no time at all.

  20. andrei on

    the site is no longer hxxp:// its

    so far ur setup has not worked for me

  21. Clark on

    svn checkout madwifi

    Looks like the trunk directory doesn’t exists

  22. EdL on

    The svn repo has been restructured, try:

    svn checkout

  23. k3 on

    Great “How To …”
    After adding the modules, I get:
    wifi%d: unable to attach hardware: ‘Hardware didn’t respond as expected’ (HAL status 3)

    I’m using

  24. fernando on

    i do all that and nothing changes

    fernando@fernando-laptop:~$ lsmod | grep ath
    ath_rate_sample 16256 0
    ath_pci 161080 0
    wlan 252448 2 ath_rate_sample,ath_pci
    ath_hal 261248 2 ath_rate_sample,ath_pci
    fernando@fernando-laptop:~$ ifconfig
    eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:1B:38:17:16:91
    inet addr: Bcast: Mask:
    inet6 addr: fe80::21b:38ff:fe17:1691/64 Scope:Link
    RX packets:789 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
    TX packets:572 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
    colisiones:0 txqueuelen:1000
    RX bytes:238623 (233.0 KB) TX bytes:85875 (83.8 KB)

    lo Link encap:Bucle local
    inet addr: Mask:
    inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
    RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
    TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
    colisiones:0 txqueuelen:0
    RX bytes:0 (0.0 b) TX bytes:0 (0.0 b)

    fernando@fernando-laptop:~$ iwconfig
    lo no wireless extensions.

    eth0 no wireless extensions.

    i dont know how can i start the wireless, dont appears in ifconfig or iwconfig

    please help

    toshiba satelite a215-s4967 atheros wireless card

  25. Lu on

    I have to type modprobe ath_pci each time I reboot or the driver doesn’t load. Is there a way to do that automatically?

  26. merlynx on

    I added the modules to:


    I think that’ll work and load them on each reboot…

  27. Seth on

    Hey, If I wanted to use my laptop to get Wireless at public places, do I have to ask the coffee shop/library/whatever for their Network info? Or does it find them automatically, like Windows?

  28. kpaull on

    Worked. Now if I can just get my signal strength as strong as it was when I was running the same system on Windoz Xpee


  29. busstation16 on

    Thanks this did the trick for me. I found you from here:

    As I stated there, my card was not resuming from hibernation, the fix I found was adding:
    to the file:

  30. shaun f on

    this is all very new to me and do not know all of the command line stuff please help call me @940-765-8955 or email me @

  31. sanju on

    hi i am fucking new to ubuntu and linux its been days i have been trying to fix the wireless problems but i know nothing about command line anD all.i have atheros ar5007 which works fine with windows and detects the surrounding networks but ubuntu is a diff story.pls help to make my wireless working step by step.what should i do.
    computer name:acer aspire 2920
    ubuntu installed:8.10

  32. Daniel on

    I know this tutorial was created in 2006, and it’s ’10 now, but does anyone know where moved to? does not exist anymore, neither does

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  33. Hugh on
  34. Daniel on

    Thanks Hugh.

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