How to setup Marvell 88w8686 SDIO wifi

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How to setup Marvell 88w8686 SDIO wifi

Overview of How-To

This How-To is meant to be a starting point for people to learn setup the wifi on IGEP v2 devices as quickly and easily as possible.

Feedback and Contributing

At any point, if you see a mistake you can contribute to this How-To.

Setup basics

This zip archive contains other tarballs ; one of them is named SD-8686-FEDORA26FC6-SYSKT-GPL-9.70.3.p24-26409.P45.tar and contains a FwImage directory. Inside are the two firmware images. You will need to rename helper_sd.bin as sd8686_helper.bin and put both firmware in the lib/firmware (or, as you wish, in lib/firmware/libertas) directory of your target root filesystem.

SDIO card should be showed after the image is downloaded to the board.

mmc1: new SDIO card at address 0001

To make the SDIO WIFI module work load the libertas_sdio module (assuming you built it as module)

# modprobe libertas_sdio

libertas_sdio: Libertas SDIO driver
libertas_sdio: Copyright Pierre Ossman
libertas_sdio mmc1:0001:1: firmware: requesting sd8686_helper.bin
libertas_sdio mmc1:0001:1: firmware: requesting sd8686.bin
libertas: 00:13:e0:c3:0c:3c, fw 9.70.3p24, cap 0x00000303
libertas: unidentified region code; using the default (USA)
libertas: PREP_CMD: command 0x00a3 failed: 2
libertas: PREP_CMD: command 0x00a3 failed: 2
libertas: eth1: Marvell WLAN 802.11 adapter

NOTE: I did not see any of the above output when I modprobe'd libertas_sdio on a 2.6.35-rc6 kernel.

Now you can connect this wifi module to an AP. First of all, you'll check if your devices is detected.

# iwconfig

eth1      IEEE 802.11b/g  ESSID:""  
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.412 GHz  Access Point: Not-Associated   
          Bit Rate:0 kb/s   Tx-Power=18 dBm   
          Retry short limit:8   RTS thr=2347 B   Fragment thr=2346 B   
          Encryption key:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality:0  Signal level:0  Noise level:0
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:0   Missed beacon:0

Next, you will set up the interface

# ifconfig eth1 up

eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:13:E0:C3:0C:3C  
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

and you can scan for an AP

# iwlist eth1 scan

Cell 04 - Address: 00:18:84:81:46:E2
                    Frequency:2.427 GHz (Channel 4)
                    Quality=100/100  Signal level=-39 dBm  Noise level=-96 dBm
                    Encryption key:off
                    Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 6 Mb/s; 9 Mb/s
                              11 Mb/s; 12 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s; 24 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s
                              48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s

Now, is time to associate to your AP

# iwconfig eth1 txpower auto essid MyPlace channel 4

eth1      IEEE 802.11b/g  ESSID:"MyPlace"  
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.427 GHz  Access Point: 00:18:84:81:46:E2   
          Bit Rate:0 kb/s   Tx-Power=13 dBm   
          Retry short limit:8   RTS thr=2347 B   Fragment thr=2346 B   
          Encryption key:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=97/100  Signal level=-43 dBm  Noise level=-94 dBm
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:3109  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:13  Invalid misc:3315   Missed beacon:0

and get and ip address

# udhcpc -i eth1
udhcpc (v1.9.1) started
Sending discover...
Sending select for
Lease of obtained, lease time 43200
adding dns

Last, you can test the network interface.

# ping -c 1

PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from seq=0 ttl=64 time=16.327 ms

--- ping statistics ---
1 packets transmitted, 1 packets received, 0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max = 16.327/16.327/16.327 ms

How to debug the libertas driver


To enable debug on the wireless (libertas) driver you may write to the libertas_debug '/sys' file:

echo LBS_DEBUG_FLAGS > /sys/module/libertas/parameters/libertas_debug

You can calculate the value for LBS_DEBUG_FLAGS using the table bellow (just add up the values for the flags you want to activate).

Debug Flag Name Flag Hex value Description(*)
LBS_DEB_ENTER 0x00000001 function entrance
LBS_DEB_LEAVE 0x00000002 function exit
LBS_DEB_MAIN 0x00000004 main libertas library code
LBS_DEB_NET 0x00000008 interaction with network subsystem
LBS_DEB_MESH 0x00000010 wireless mesh network
LBS_DEB_WEXT 0x00000020 interaction with wireless extensions
LBS_DEB_IOCTL 0x00000040 misc IOCTLs
LBS_DEB_SCAN 0x00000080 scanning for APs
LBS_DEB_ASSOC 0x00000100 associating ton an AP
LBS_DEB_JOIN 0x00000200 joining an IBSS?
LBS_DEB_11D 0x00000400 802.11d country settings
LBS_DEB_DEBUGFS 0x00000800 interaction with the debugfs subsystem
LBS_DEB_ETHTOOL 0x00001000 interaction with ethtool subsystem
LBS_DEB_HOST 0x00002000 communication between host and wlan chip
LBS_DEB_CMD 0x00004000 command and response processing
LBS_DEB_RX 0x00008000 packet reception
LBS_DEB_TX 0x00010000 packet transmission
LBS_DEB_USB 0x00020000 interaction with USB subsystem
LBS_DEB_CS 0x00040000 interaction with card services subsystem
LBS_DEB_FW 0x00080000 firmware downloading
LBS_DEB_THREAD 0x00100000 main libertas worker thread
LBS_DEB_HEX 0x00200000 turn on detailed hex dumps
LBS_DEB_SDIO 0x00400000 interaction with SDIO subsystem
(*) Description taken from lbsdebug.c (by Holger Schurig)

To activate scanning (LBS_DEB_SCAN), associating (LBS_DEB_ASSOC), command (LBS_DEB_CMD) and host (LBS_DEB_HOST):

echo 0x6180 > /sys/module/libertas/parameters/libertas_debug

The output will be post to the kernel ring buffer. You can display it with the dmesg command:


You can also use the lbsdebug tool, from Holger Shurig, git tree available here.

How to get WIFI active upon system start (using a WPA2 access-point)

Tested configuration:

  • IGEP v2 board
  • Ubuntu Linux provided on the SD-card
  • WIFI access point with WPA-PSK encryption method.

Basically you have to create/modify two files:

  1. create file /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
  2. modify /etc/network/interfaces

Here are the details.

To create /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf do:

wpa_passphrase "your SSID" yourPassword > /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

Now add the following lines at the end of this file:


Then modify /etc/network/interfaces

Add the next lines (replace wlan0 by your wifi interface):

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

To check if your /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf file is correct you can type

wpa_supplicant -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf -d

See also