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
  • 802.11 PHY Modes: b,g,n
  • 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

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

  • First seen (FCC): 2009-07-27
  • Wireless adapters using this device: 45 devices
  • Embedded systems using this device: 4 devices
 InterfaceFFUSB conn.Antenna connectorManufManuf. mdlVendor IDDevice IDChip1 modelPHY modesMIMO configOUIEst. year
ALFA Network AWUS036NHAUSBcorded (modular) adapterFemale Mini-BRP-SMAAWBWUS620C-H0cf39271AR9271bgn1x1:100:C0:CA
AVM FRITZ!WLAN USB Stick v2USBdongleMale A057c8403AR9271bgn1x1:1BC:05:43
AboCom WU5108USBmicro dongleMale A (unshielded)AR9271Lbgn1x1:1
Altai WA1011N-GUUSBcorded (modular) adapterFemale Micro-BU.FLAboComAR9271bgn1x1:1
Askey WLU6120USB(non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:1
Atheros AR5BUB173USBmodule(non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:1
AzureWave AW-NU137USB(non-standard connector)U.FL13d33327AR9271bgn1x1:1
AzureWave AW-NU138USBmicro dongleMale AAR9271bgn1x1:174:2F:68
AzureWave AW-NU148USBmodule(non-standard connector)U.FL0cf39271AR9271bgn1x1:100:19:9D
AzureWave AW-NU150USBmicro dongleMale AAR9271bgn1x1:174:2F:68
AzureWave AW-NU153HUSB(half)Mini PCIeU.FLAR9271bgn1x1:1
AzureWave AW-NU240USBmodule(non-standard connector)AR9271bgn1x1:1
D-Link DWA-126USBdongleMale ARP-SMACameo07d13a10AR9271bgn1x1:1
Foxconn J20H049USBmodule(non-standard connector)U.FLFoxconnAR9271bgn1x1:190:34:FC
Lite-On WN4606AUSBmodule(non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:100:19:9D
Microsoft Xbox 360 Internal Wireless Module (1399)USBinternal wireless module(non-standard connector)AskeyWLU6150AR9271bgn1x1:124:EC:99
Mitsumi Electric DWM-W046USB(non-standard connector)AR9271bgn1x1:1
Netgear WNA1100USBdongleMale ASerComm08469030AR9271bgn1x1:100:26:F2
OPPO Digital AK093USBdongleMale ATP-LINKAR9271bgn1x1:1
Onkyo UWF-1USBmicro dongleMale AWistron NeWebAR9271bgn1x1:190:A4:DE
Philips PTA01USBdongleMale AU.FLAlpha NetworksWUS-N11AR9271bgn1x1:15C:33:8E
Philips WUB1110USBdongleMale AAlpha NetworksWUS-N11AR9271bgn1x1:15C:33:8E
Proware PW-DN421USBdongleMale AProwareAR9271bgn1x2:100:12:7B
Proware PW-DN4210USBdongleMale ARP-SMAProwareAR9271bgn1x1:12011
Proware PW-DN4210DUSBdongleMale ARP-SMAProwareAR9271bgn1x1:16C:FD:B9
Proware PW-MN421USB(non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:1
Quanta Microsystems US305USB(non-standard connector)U.FLQuanta MicrosystemsAR9271Lbgn1x1:100:19:9D
Rosewill RNX-N150HGUSBdongleMale ARP-SMATP-LINKAR9271bgn1x1:168:1C:A2
SMC SMCWUSBS-N4USBdongleMale ATP-LINKAR9271bgn1x1:1
Sharp VR-WL25USBmicro dongleMale AWistron NeWebAR9271bgn1x1:190:A4:DE
Shenzhen Kingnet Technology K2-364USB(non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:1
Shenzhen Kingnet Technology K2-544DWUSBdongleMale A (unshielded)AR9271bgn1x1:1
Silex SX-USBGNUSBmodule (no casing)Male AAlpha NetworksWUS-N11AR9271bgn1x1:1
Sony IFU-WLM3USBmicro dongleMale AWistron NeWebDNUA-93FSAR9271bgn1x1:1
SparkLAN WUBA-171GNUSB(non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:1
TP-LINK TL-WN322G v3USBdongleMale A0cf31006AR9271bg
TP-LINK TL-WN422G v2USBdongleMale ARP-SMA0cf31006AR9271bg54:E6:FC
TP-LINK TL-WN721NUSBdongleMale A0cf39271AR9271bgn1x1:12009
TP-LINK TL-WN722N v1.xUSBdongleMale ARP-SMA0cf39271AR9271Lbgn1x2:1D8:5D:4C
Tehnoetic TET-N150USBmicro dongleMale AUnexDNUA-93F0cf39271AR9271Lbgn1x2:1
Tehnoetic TET-N150HGAUSBdongleMale ARP-SMATP-LINKTL-WN722NAR9271Lbgn1x2:1
ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USBUSBmicro dongleMale AWistron NeWebDNUA-93F0cf39271AR9271Lbgn1x2:12013
ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USBLUSBcorded (modular) adapterFemale Mini-BRP-SMAAR9271bgn1x1:1
Ubiquiti Networks WiFiStationUSBcorded (modular) adapterFemale BnoneAR9271bgn1x1:100:15:6D
Ubiquiti Networks WiFiStation EXTUSBcorded (modular) adapterFemale Micro-BRP-SMAAR9271bgn1x1:100:15:6D
Unex DNUA-93FUSBmicro dongleMale AAR9271bgn1x2:1
Wistron NeWeb DNUA-93C2USB(non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:1
Wistron NeWeb DNUA-93FUSBmicro dongleMale AAR9271bgn1x1:1
Wistron NeWeb DNUA-93SUSBmodule(non-standard connector)U.FLAR9271bgn1x1:100:0B:6B
Z-Com ZCN-722MUSB(non-standard connector)U.FLZ-ComAR9271bgn1x1:100:19:70
Zcomax XN-723MUSB 2.0(module)USB 2.0U.FLZcomaxAR9271bgn1x1:1