Subject: Re: 11Mbps WaveLAN support?
To: Martin Husemann <>
From: Andrew Gillham <>
List: current-users
Date: 01/10/2000 12:02:07
Martin Husemann writes:
> Since we seem to have a lot of people already using wireless networking
> stuff and even people able to write drivers for this (so I assume they know
> something about it) - could we set up some cleartext information, readable
> by mere mortals not in the know of the standards and available options, on
> the NetBSD web page?

Yes, this would have helped my search also. :-)  I had difficulty finding
the hardware at a reasonable price. (or even being sold)

> Reading the lucent web pages even confused me more, and now reading not all
> their stuff is properly supported makes it even worse.

Well, it is hard to "properly" support something without documentation.

[The following answers are from a mere mortal's perspective]
> A few informations I'ld hope to find on this web page:
>  - Which 2 Mbps hardware is supported by NetBSD-current?
	Lucent Wavelan/IEEE 2.0Mb Bronze ('wi' driver)
	Lucent Wavelan/IEEE 2.0Mb Silver ('wi' driver)
I don't know if the "Wavelan Bronze Turbo" (no IEEE) is supported or not.

Other card supported: (but not 2Mbs according to the page)
	BayStack 650 1Mbps ('awi' driver)

Not supported: (that I can tell)
	BayStack 660 2Mbps 

I'm not sure about:
	Xircom NetWave Airsurfer ('cnw' driver)

>  - Which 11 Mbps hardware is supported?
	Lucent Wavelan/IEEE 11.0Mb Silver (in 5.5Mbps mode not 11Mbps)
	Lucent Wavelan/IEEE 11.0Mb Gold (in 5.5Mbps mode not 11Mbps)
>  - What modes of operation are there and which are supported?
>    (There was talk about "ad-hoc mode" not working for some drivers)

	Adhoc mode:
	Peer to peer communications directly between cards.  From what I
	can tell, there can be only one Adhoc "network" and any card in
	Adhoc mode can automatically communicate.

	Access Point mode:
	Client cards communicate to a base station ("Access Point") which
	connects to a wired ethernet.  The access point provides store and
	forward services between wireless clients, and supports "associating"
	with the various access points and defined "networks" it supports.
	(can provide security by only allowing defined cards, or clients with
	the right network info to communicate)

Currently the 'wi' driver supports Adhoc mode, and Access Point mode.  I'm
not sure about the 'awi' driver, though it appears from looking at the driver
that it may not support Adhoc mode.  Without Adhoc mode support, you need
an expensive access point. ($1,000 perhaps)
>  - Are there different cards for different regions of the world
>    or are the frequencies global (or configurable)

From what I can tell with my Lucent WaveLAN cards, they default to the
appropriate channel depending on where they were sold. (e.g. cards sold
in the US are built to default to a US channel, while French cards default
to the French channel.)
This is probably different for the other brands, etc.  You should be able
to use a WaveLAN anywhere in the World, but you'll need to adjust the channel
so you aren't violating local laws.

>  - Do you need some license to use this? [This may vary
>    with your location]

In the US you do not.  You would if you added amplification I believe, though
you might not be able to do that at all.  The US channels fall under a "ISM"
(Industrial, Scientific, Medical) range of frequencies that are license free.

>  - Which interoperability considerations are there?
>    (I.E.: I need to connect two NetBSD machines point-to-point
>    like via a serial connection. Or: I need to serve a Windows 98
>    machine from a NetBSD server.)

Two NetBSD machines point-to-point (Adhoc mode) basically have an additional
ethernet interface that is the wireless card. (In my case 'wi0' on both)
This is not long range stuff though.  If you want more than around 100Meters
or so I think you need different antenna's and possible amplification.

For a Windows 98 machine to NetBSD machine it would be the exact same way
(for Adhoc mode) as above, other than not having NetBSD on one end.. :)

For Access Point mode, you would need an expensive access point installed
where both ends could "see" it.  This would extend your range by about twice,
as the access point can see both ends, even though they may be out of range
of each other.  The access point can store and forward between wireless
stations and also between wired and wireless.

Just my experiences, I'm sure I have some things incorrect, but my two
cards work for me. :)

Andrew Gillham                            | This space left blank                     | inadvertently.
I speak for myself, not for my employer.  | Contact the publisher.