When looking at the AirCruiser GN-WI30N-RH from Gigabyte, with its Ralink RT2860 we had to use the Windows driver through ndiswrapper as the Ralink open-source driver hadn't worked with our setup. However, this PCI Express Mini-Card doesn't use a Ralink chipset but instead Gigabyte had turned to Atheros Communications. The Gigabyte GN-WI06N-RH employs an Atheros 5008/AR5418 wireless chipset.
We were able to easily get this Gigabyte AirCruiser GN-WI30N-RH up and running with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS by using the latest SVN MadWiFi code. As we reported last September, future developments on MadWiFi have ceased as the developers began work on a new open-source driver (ath5k) that no longer relies upon a proprietary HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer). The ath5k driver utilizes OpenHAL, which is an open-source layer. Unfortunately, however, the ath5k driver isn't yet up to speed on supporting the Atheros AR5418. Using the MadWiFi driver, however, continues to function and we hadn't experienced any major issues. In addition, the Windows driver can be used through ndiswrapper if you choose to take that route. For testing we had installed the Gigabyte AirCruiser GN-WI06N-RH in an ASUS F8Sp-X1 notebook. Using the MadWiFi driver was a success and it had worked reliably. The wireless points we had mostly tested the GN-WI06N-RH with were a D-Link DGL-54300 and ASUS WL-500g Premium WiFi routers. The Atheros AR5418 on Linux had even showed stronger connection strength than the Intel 3945ABG.
For those of you looking at acquiring a PCI Express Mini-Card, the Gigabyte AirCruiser GN-WI06N-RH with its Atheros AR5418 wireless chipset appears to be reliable solution. The newer ath5k + OpenHAL driver doesn’t yet support this chipset, but the still popular MadWiFi driver supports it. As the lead ath5k developer is now working for Atheros Communications, we imagine it's only a matter of time before this new 802.11g/n chipset is supported by the ath5k software. As another alternative, ndiswrapper can also be used with the Windows driver if you have issues with MadWiFi. Gigabyte targets this notebook wireless module just at system integrators, but interested end-users can find this part online for about $60 USD.
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