Atheros-CSI-Tool works with any devices that 1) support Linux system and 2) are equipped with Qualcomm Atheros 802.11n Wi-Fi chipsets. There are two types of Qualcomm Atheros Wi-Fi chipsets: 1, the standalone PCI-e based Wi-Fi NIC; 2, the Qualcomm Atheros system-on-chip (SoC) that integrates the CPU and Wi-Fi chipset together. In the following, we introduce how to build a node that can work with Atheros-CSI-Tool, using Qualcomm Atheros Wi-Fi chipsets.
Qualcomm Atheros has a series of PCI-e based Wi-Fi NIC, such as AR9380, AR9382, AR9580, AR9590 and so on. We have tested Atheros-CSI-Tool on AR9580 and AR9590. Here is a list that summarizes the types of PCI-e based NIC that has been tested by other users and us. We note here that AR9580 and AR9590 are the most advanced ones and thus highly recommended.
Below are several types of AR9580 or AR9590 based Wi-Fi NIC. We also provide several links for purchase or viewing their details: Link1, Link2, Link3.
After purchasing those Wi-Fi NIC, we need to install them on boards with PCI-e interface. For example, we can install the aforementioned Wi-Fi NIC on desktops, which has multiple PCI-e interfaces. Actually, you may need a PCIe adapter to install the wireless NIC on desktops, just following figure shows. (Purchasing the adapter) It is similar when you want to install the Wi-Fi NIC on laptops.
Qualcomm Atheros also provides system-on-chip solution for Wi-Fi systems, e.g., QCA9342, QCA9344, QCA9531, QCA9558, QCA9563, which integrates the Wi-Fi NIC, the CPU, the Ethernet, the USB all together. Embedded Linux system (OpenWRT) works on many QCA SoC. Since QCA SoC has Wi-Fi NIC integrated, we can directly install Atheros-CSI-Tool on it without requiring any additional Wi-Fi NIC. We have test Atheros-CSI-Tool on QCA9344 (TP-link 4300) and QCA9558 (WPJ558).
We note that the embedded Wi-Fi NIC on most of the QCA SoC only works at 2.4GHz. To support 5GHz Wi-Fi, QCA SoC has one additional PCI-e interface, which can be used to install an extra Wi-Fi NIC. Below is the layout of WPJ558 board, from which we can observe an integrated Wi-Fi NIC and an idle PCI-e interface. Therefore, we can buy some standalone PCI-e Atheros Wi-Fi NIC we have mentioned above and install them on the QCA SoC. For example, some companies has provided the solution of QCA9558+AR9580, such as EnGenius EAP900H, EnGenius ESR900, Linksys EA4500, and OpenMesh MR900.
We provide detailed instructions for installing the OpenWRT version of Atheros-CSI-Tool on those SoC. We also provide the binary OpenWRT image for many different systems. Using the binary image, you are able to install Atheros-CSI-Tool on QCA SoC with several simple clicks.