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I am using TP LINK TL-WN822N wireless device which has two chips. It works with Carl9170, however I would like to use ath9k which according to the link supports AR9102 which is one of the chips. I tried the following command to disable to Carl9170 driver my NIC was using

modprobe -r carl9170

My device is disabled now. I used the following to load ath9k.

modprobe ath9k

When I check for loaded modules using lsmod, I see ath9k is loaded

enter image description here

My device is still disabled. I can't see it after giving the commands ifconfig or iwconfig. Any help would be appreciated!

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

ath9k which according to the link supports AR9102 which is one of the chips

Short answer: The AR9170 is the chip that counts, and ath9k does not support it; the AR9102 is basically a "dumb radio" (See diagram from Atheros below.)

enter image description here

Long answer: Your device uses two chips for a reason; the AR9102 is the RF chip; it's relatively "dumb", in that all it does is convert the zeros and ones input into it to the proper radio-frequency signals (2.4 GHz, multiple channels) and transmits them out via the antenna (it does the same in reverse for received data). As such, it probably doesn't need a software driver.

The AR9170 or "CPU" is the real heart of the device, which talks to the software on one side and the AR9102 on the other. It knows about 802.11 abgn standards, wireless access points, encryption, etc.; the AR9102 does not.

Hence, you can't use ath9k because it does not support the AR9170 -- the one chip of the two that really matters for your purposes.

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This document has a good picture to make it easier to understand. –  criziot Jul 2 '12 at 17:46
    
@criziot: many thanks, added to answer. –  izx Jul 2 '12 at 17:51
    
Thank you both for excellent information! That clears things up. –  user592748 Jul 2 '12 at 18:20

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