Marvell Releases New Open-Source 802.11ac WiFi Driver
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 26 December 2014 at 11:44 AM EST. 4 Comments
HARDWARE --
On Christmas Eve, Marvell announced the release of a new open-source driver for one of its 802.11ac chips in cooperation with Linksys.

The new open-source driver by Marvell is for the 88W8864 chip that features 4x4 MIMO 3-spatial Stream Dual-band 802.11ac enabling 1.3Gbps WLAN PHY rate and support for 80/40/20 MHz channel bandwidths.

The Marvell 88W8864 is most notably used by the Linksys WRT1900AC router that was trumpeted as being a modern-day version of the famed WRT54G router. Linksys/Belkin has been releasing some code to the WRT1900AC but for months the open-source software support has been lagging and the WRT1900AC hasn't been a huge success with open-source enthusiasts. Now at least the Marvell chipset is officially supported by an open-source driver.

Marvell does plan to send the mac80211 88W8864 kernel driver for upstreaming in the mainline Linux kernel once this driver has been refined and reviewed by developers. This chipset has been around since 2012 and the open-source driver was announced via the OpenWRT mailing list.

The WRT1900AC router is currently selling for just above $200 USD, which is well below the original $299 USD launch price, but still hard to justify for most open-source enthusiasts.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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