Linux 4.10's ath9k Driver Should Have Lower Latency & Less Bufferbloat
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Networking on 4 January 2017 at 08:27 PM EST. 13 Comments
As part of the ongoing battle with bufferbloat are some improvements to the ath9k WiFi driver with the Linux 4.10 kernel.

Bufferbloat is the excess buffering of packets resulting in high latency, jitter, and lower network throughput. We've been looking forward to some more bufferbloat improvements with the Linux kernel and its network drivers while there were some ath9k improvements I hadn't noticed until being pointed out this week by a Phoronix reader.

So on top of all the covered features of Linux 4.10 I've written about the past few weeks, there's also an interesting change for ath9k. As mentioned with this pull, "switch to use mac80211 intermediate software queues to reduce latency and fix bufferbloat."

The ath9k driver is what supports many of the Atheros 802.11n PCI/PCI-E WiFi devices within the Linux kernel. Great to see this popular driver getting reduced latency and bufferbloat fixing for the next kernel release.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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