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Re: [RFC] acx100 inclusion in mainline; generic 802.11 stack

To: Denis Vlasenko <vda@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [RFC] acx100 inclusion in mainline; generic 802.11 stack
From: Sam Leffler <sam@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2004 11:13:31 -0700
Cc: jgarzik@xxxxxxxxx, netdev@xxxxxxxxxxx, acx100-devel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Jean Tourrilhes <jt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Jouni Malinen <jkmaline@xxxxxxxxx>, prism54-devel@xxxxxxxxxxx
In-reply-to: <200408312111.02438.vda@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
References: <200408312111.02438.vda@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sender: netdev-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxx
On Aug 31, 2004, at 11:11 AM, Denis Vlasenko wrote:

Hi all,

It looks like acx100 approaches state when we can consider it's inclusion
into mainline kernel.

Some background information: acx100 and acx111 hardware is a bit like
Atheros and possibly prism54 "softmac": it handles mostly low-level
rx/tx stuff, leaving 802.11 stack implementation up to OS
(which is good. To have largish potentially buggy binary-only firmware
to cope with is a nightmare).

I think what acx100 devel is working on can be best described as
"yet another 802.11 stack implementation". This is not ok.

I think we definitely need generic 802.11 stack, with individual drivers providing only needed callbacks, just like it is done for wired eth drivers.

I think 'senior' network guys are in position to decide upon which
of currently available 802.11 stacks we should continue to work.
(Atheros has one, said to be derived from BSD, is there any others?)

To correct this oft-repeated misinformation: "Atheros has one" is wrong. There is a freely available device-independent 802.11 protocol stack that is dual BSD/GPL licensed. The only relationship between this code and Atheros is that the madwifi project uses it to support Atheros hardware under Linux. Atheros holds no copyrights on any of the net80211 code.

As to it being derived from BSD, that is correct but misleading. The 1st generation of this code was done for netbsd but the current code is very different and has been developed almost exclusively in Linux for over a year (though I'm now trying to find time to backport to FreeBSD).

The net80211 code is actively used in netbsd to support 6+ drivers and a similar number in freebsd. There is a fairly complete implementation of the 802.11 protocols (fragmentation isn't there but will be soon) including 11g, WPA/11i, WME and WSM (coming soon). WPA/802.11i supplicant support using wpa_supplicant has been available for a while and a hostapd-based authenticator will hit CVS shortly. The management API for Linux is based on wireless extensions (WE is insufficient so like everyone else you'll find lots of private ioctls).

I've suggested this code as a good starting point for a "generic 802.11 stack" but received only misinformed responses. Folks who are unaware of the work should take a look at it.


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