Atheros AR9271

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  • The AR9271 is a USB to Wi-Fi single chip, typically used in Wi-Fi dongles.
  • For a list of all currently documented Atheros chipsets with specifications,
see Atheros.
  • Known chip revisions:
AR9271L-AL3A 'The first L stands for "Low-Cost".', per Sujith on ath9k-devel


  • Manufacturer: Atheros
  • Part name: AR9271
  • Type: chip
  • Number of buses: 1
  • Bus(es): USB 2.0. Probably Faraday FOTG210_UDC
  • Number of bands: 1
  • Band(s): 2.4GHz
  • Data rate: 150 Mbps
  • MIMO configuration:
1x1 (1 txchain; 2 RX RF chains; 1 rx stream); see note below
  • IEEE 802.11 PHY Modes: b,g,n
  • First seen (FCC): 2009-07-27
  • Wireless adapters using this device: 47 devices
  • Embedded systems using this device: 1 devices


  • SOC Architecture: RISC - Tensilica core (Xtensa LX2.1.0) - see open firmware below.
SOC clock: 117 MHz
SOC ROM: 24 Kbyte
SOC RAM: 160 KByte
  • Output power:
(1Mbps): +19 dBm
(HT20 MCS7): +17 dBm
(HT40 MCS7): +16 dBm
  • Sensitivity (RX-only chain):
(1Mbps): -96 dBm typ.
(HT20 MCS7): -73 dBm typ.
(HT40 MCS7): -70 dBm typ.
  • Sensitivity for RX/TX shared chain:
3dB worse than RX-only chain
  • Integrated RF: PA, LNA, T/R Switch
  • Integrated Functions: 802.11 Baseband, 802.11 MAC
  • Externally required functions: 2.4G antenna(s),
40MHz crystal, SPI flash, serial EEPROM
  • Operating temperature range: 0C° to 110C°, typ 45C°
  • Marking on chip: Atheros (R); AR9271-AL1A; DOR379C; 1034; KOREA
  • Chip Package: 68 pin, 8mm x 8mm, LPCC package

Note about antenna diversity and MIMO: the chip has 2 RX RF chains with 4 analog (RF) combining methods, selected dynamically in real-time for each packet during reception, resulting in performance much closer to MIMO 1x2:1 than MIMO 1x1:1 even though it's not full MIMO-MRC... assuming a second antenna is connected to the secondary RX port, of course. Most adapters omit this second antenna.

Product Brief and Datasheet

Device ID

Default USB ID:

  • 0cf3:9271 (Atheros AR9271)

Non-standard USB IDs:

  • Many, see query.

Linux support

Built-in Linux kernel support:

  • Linux kernel module: ath9k_htc
  • in backports
  • Linux kernel version: v2.6.35
  • Linux kernel date: 2010-08-01
  • Firmware: Open Firmware
  • In Ubuntu, the firmware files are already included in the base distribution
  • In Debian:
    • apt-get install firmware-atheros
(in Debian the firmware-atheros package includes files:
/lib/firmware/ar9271.fw /lib/firmware/htc_9271.fw
Without these modprobe ath9k_htc does not create wlan0 device and dmesg shows:
=> Failed to load firmware )


Atheros ar9271.png
ALFA Network AWUS036NHA board top nonscan.jpg
  • 18 - GPIO5/SPI_SDO
  • 19 - GPIO6/SPI_S_L - chip select?
  • 20 - GPIO7/SPI_SCK
  • 21 - GPIO8/SPI_SDI
  • 28 - GPIO0/JTAG TMS - test mode select
  • 29 - GPIO1/JTAG TDI - test data input
  • 30 - GPIO2/JTAG TCK - test clock
  • 31 - GPIO4/JTAG TDO - test data output
  • 35 - GPIO12/SPI_BOOT - if UP on power on, CPU will start from SPI
  • 48 - GPIO9 and UART Rx
  • 49 - GPIO10 and UART Tx (baudrate 19200)
  • 67 - XPABIAS - (Analog Output) connected with EN(able) pin of external Power Amp.
  • 68 - PDET - (Analog Input) connected with DET ping of external Power Amp.


"Before using those pins configure register “GPIO Input Enable and Value”
(H_GP_INPT_EN_VAL) Address: 0x1000_4054.
Bit 17 must be set to 0 that means JTAG enabled (1 means JTAG disabled)."

AR9271 devices

with internal images

Netgear DGN1000
TP-LINK TL-WN722N v1.x
ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USB
Ubiquiti Networks WiFiStation EXT

with accessible UART

AzureWave AW-NU148
Microsoft Xbox 360 Internal Wireless Module (1399)
Quanta Microsystems US305
Ubiquiti Networks WiFiStation
Ubiquiti Networks WiFiStation EXT

Table of Systems

 InterfaceFFUSB conn.Antenna connectorManufManuf. mdlVendor IDDevice IDChip1 modelPHY modesMIMO configOUIEst. year
ALFA Network AWUS036NHAUSBcorded (modular) adapterFemale Mini-BRP-SMAAWBWUS620C-H0cf39271AR9271bgn1x1:100:C0:CA2012
AVM FRITZ!WLAN USB Stick v2USBdongleMale Anone specified057c8403AR9271bgn1x1:1BC:05:43
AboCom WU5108USBmicro dongleMale A (unshielded)none specifiedAR9271Lbgn1x1:12011
Altai WA1011N-GUUSBcorded (modular) adapterFemale Micro-BU.FLAboComAR9271bgn1x1:12011
Askey WLL6120USB (non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:12009
Atheros AR5BUB173USB (non-standard connector)moduleU.FLAR9271bgn1x1:12010
AzureWave AW-NU137USB (non-standard connector)U.FL13d33327AR9271bgn1x1:12010
AzureWave AW-NU138USBmicro dongleMale Anone specifiedAR9271bgn1x1:174:2F:682010
AzureWave AW-NU148USB (non-standard connector)moduleU.FL0cf39271AR9271bgn1x1:100:19:9D2010
AzureWave AW-NU150USBmicro dongleMale Anone specifiedAR9271bgn1x1:174:2F:682010
AzureWave AW-NU153HMini PCIe (USB, half)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:12010
AzureWave AW-NU240USB (non-standard connector)modulenone specifiedAR9271bgn1x1:12012
D-Link DWA-126USBdongleMale ARP-SMACameo07d13a10AR9271bgn1x1:12009
Foxconn J20H049USB (non-standard connector)moduleU.FLFoxconnAR9271bgn1x1:190:34:FC2010
Lite-On WN4606AUSB (non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:100:19:9D2011
Microsoft Xbox 360 Internal Wireless Module (1399)USB (non-standard connector)internal wireless modulenone specifiedAskeyWLU6150AR9271bgn1x1:124:EC:992011
Mitsumi Electric DWM-W046USB (non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:12010
Netgear WNA1100USBdongleMale Anone specifiedSerComm08469030AR9271bgn1x1:100:26:F2
OPPO Digital AK093USBdongleMale Anone specifiedTP-LINKAR9271bgn1x1:12010
Onkyo UWF-1USBmicro dongleMale Anone specifiedWistron NeWebAR9271bgn1x1:190:A4:DE2011
Philips PTA01USBdongleMale AU.FLAlpha NetworksWUS-N110471209eAR9271bgn1x1:15C:33:8E2010
Philips WUB1110USBdongleMale Anone specifiedAlpha NetworksWUS-N11AR9271bgn1x1:15C:33:8E2010
Proware PW-DN421USBdongleMale Anone specifiedProwareAR9271bgn1x2:100:12:7B2011
Proware PW-DN4210USBdongleMale ARP-SMAProwareAR9271bgn1x1:12011
Proware PW-DN4210DUSBdongleMale ARP-SMAProware0cf39271AR9271bgn1x1:16C:FD:B92011
Proware PW-MN421USB (non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:12011
Quanta Microsystems US305USB (non-standard connector)U.FLQuanta MicrosystemsAR9271Lbgn1x1:100:19:9D2011
Rosewill RNX-N150HGUSBdongleMale ARP-SMATP-LINK0cf39271AR9271bgn1x1:168:1C:A22011
SMC SMCWUSBS-N4USBdongleMale Anone specifiedTP-LINKAR9271bgn1x1:12012
Sharp VR-WL25USBmicro dongleMale Anone specifiedWistron NeWebAR9271bgn1x1:190:A4:DE2010
Shenzhen Kingnet Technology K2-364USB (non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:12011
Shenzhen Kingnet Technology K2-544DWUSBdongleMale A (unshielded)none specifiedAR9271bgn1x1:12011
Silex SX-USBGNUSBmodule (no casing)Male Anone specifiedAlpha NetworksWUS-N11AR9271bgn1x1:12012
Sony IFU-WLM3USBmicro dongleMale Anone specifiedWistron NeWebDNUA-93FSAR9271bgn1x1:12012
SparkLAN WUBA-171GNUSB (non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:12013
TP-LINK TL-WN322G v3USBdongleMale Anone specified0cf31006AR9271bg
TP-LINK TL-WN422G v2USBdongleMale ARP-SMA0cf31006AR9271bg54:E6:FC
TP-LINK TL-WN721NUSBdongleMale Anone specified0cf39271AR9271bgn1x1:12009
TP-LINK TL-WN722N v1.xUSBdongleMale ARP-SMA0cf39271AR9271Lbgn1x2:1D8:5D:4C
Tehnoetic TET-N150USBmicro dongleMale Anone specifiedUnexDNUA-93F0cf39271AR9271Lbgn1x2:12010
Tehnoetic TET-N150HGAUSBdongleMale ARP-SMATP-LINKTL-WN722N0cf39271AR9271Lbgn1x2:12009
ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USBUSBmicro dongleMale Anone specifiedWistron NeWebDNUA-93F0cf39271AR9271Lbgn1x2:12013
ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USBLUSBcorded (modular) adapterFemale Mini-BRP-SMAAR9271bgn1x1:1
Ubiquiti Networks WiFiStationUSBcorded (modular) adapterFemale Bnone0cf3b002AR9271bgn1x1:100:15:6D
Ubiquiti Networks WiFiStation EXTUSBcorded (modular) adapterFemale Micro-BRP-SMA0cf3b003AR9271bgn1x1:100:15:6D
Unex DNUA-93USBnone specified0cf39271AR9271bgn1x1:1
Unex DNUA-93FUSBmicro dongleMale Anone specified0cf39271AR9271bgn1x2:1
VIA VNT9271BB05BUSB (non-standard connector)U.FLAboComAR9271bgn1x1:12012
Wistron NeWeb DNUA-93C2USB (non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:12012
Wistron NeWeb DNUA-93FUSBmicro dongleMale Anone specified0cf39271AR9271bgn1x1:12010
Wistron NeWeb DNUA-93SUSB (non-standard connector)moduleU.FLAR9271bgn1x1:100:0B:6B2011
Z-Com ZCN-722MUSB (non-standard connector)U.FLZ-ComAR9271bgn1x1:100:19:702011
Zcomax XN-723MUSB 2.0 (module)U.FLZcomaxAR9271bgn1x1:1