Manual browser: awi(4)

AWI(4) Kernel Interfaces Manual AWI(4)


awiAMD PCnetMobile IEEE 802.11 PCMCIA wireless network driver


awi* at pcmcia? function ?


The awi driver supports various IEEE 802.11 wireless cards that run AMD PCnetMobile firmware based on the AMD 79c930 controller with the Intersil (formerly Harris) PRISM radio chipset. It provides access to 32kb of memory shared between the controller and the host. All host/device interaction is accomplished via this shared memory, which can be accessed either via PCMCIA or I/O memory spaces. The awi driver encapsulates all IP and ARP traffic in 802.11 frames.

The driver works both in infrastructure mode and in ad-hoc (independent BSS) mode.

In infrastructure mode, it communicates with an Access Point, which serves as a link-layer bridge between an Ethernet segment and the wireless network. An access point also provides roaming capability, which allows a wireless node to move between access points.

In ad-hoc mode, the device communicates peer to peer. Although it is more efficient to communicate between wireless nodes, the coverage is limited spatially due to the lack of roaming capability.

In addition to these two modes in the IEEE 802.11 specification, the awi driver also supports a variant of ad-hoc mode outside of the spec for DS radio cards. This makes it possible to communicate with the WaveLAN ad-hoc mode of wi(4) driver. The NWID has no effect in this mode.

Another mode added to the awi driver can be used with old Melco access points with 2Mbps cards. This mode actually uses the IEEE 802.11 ad-hoc mode with encapsulation of raw Ethernet packets (including headers) in 802.11 frames.

For more information on configuring this device, see ifconfig(8) and ifmedia(4).


Cards supported by the awi driver include:

BayStack 650
1Mbps Frequency Hopping PCCARD adapter
BayStack 660
2Mbps Direct Sequence PCCARD adapter
Icom SL-200
2Mbps Direct Sequence PCCARD adapter
2Mbps Direct Sequence PCCARD adapter
2Mbps Direct Sequence PCCARD adapter
Netwave AirSurfer Plus
1Mbps Frequency Hopping PCCARD adapter
Netwave AirSurfer Pro
2Mbps Direct Sequence PCCARD adapter
Nokia C020 WLAN
2Mbps Direct Sequence PCCARD adapter
Farallon SkyLINE
2Mbps Direct Sequence PCCARD adapter
Zoom Air Model 4000

The original Xircom Netwave AirSurfer is supported by the cnw(4) driver, and the PRISM-II cards are supported by the wi(4) driver.


In addition to default Auto media type, the DS cards support DS1 and DS2 media types, while the FH cards support the FH1 media type. For each media type, the adhoc mediaopt can be used to indicate to the driver to operate in ad-hoc mode. The flag0 mediaopt should be used only with old access points, which operate in IBSS mode. For DS radio cards, the adhoc,flag0 mediaopt can be used for wi(4) compatible WaveLAN ad-hoc mode.


awi0: no suitable CIS info found
The device cannot be mapped due to a resource conflict. Or, the device failed to initialize its firmware.
awi0: failed to complete selftest (%s)
The device failed to complete its self test. In some circumstances, resetting device after power on fails. Re-inserting the card or setting the interface up and then down again (using ifconfig(8)) may also be helpful.
awi0: transmit timeout
The device failed to generate an interrupt to acknowledge a transmitted packet.
awi0: failed to lock interrupt
The system was unable to obtain the lock to access shared memory.
awi0: command %d failed %x
The device failed to complete the request from the system.


arp(4), cnw(4), ifmedia(4), netintro(4), pcmcia(4), wi(4), ifconfig(8), wiconfig(8)

Am79C930 PCnet Mobile Single-Chip Wireless LAN Media Access Controller,


The awi device driver first appeared in NetBSD 1.5.


The initial version of the awi driver was written by Bill Sommerfeld <>. It was then completely rewritten to support cards with the DS phy and ad-hoc mode by Atsushi Onoe <>.
January 2, 2006 NetBSD 7.0