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12 January 2009, 10:19

Kernel Log: What's new in 2.6.29 - Part 2: WiMAX

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In Part 2 of the Kernel Log's coverage of the major changes happening in the main development branch for the Linux kernel 2.6.29 release, we look at a major new addition to Linux's networking capability, WiMAX support.

USB sub-system maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman has brought the WiMAX stack, developed primarily by Intel developers in the framework of the Linux WiMAX project, into the Linux main development branch.

The stack gives Linux 2.6.29 a basic infrastructure for WiMAX wireless broadband networking technology based on the i2400m USB driver, which was also developed by the WiMAX project and concurrently integrated into the kernel. The WiMAX stack communicates with the WiMAX Connection 2400 chip in Intel Wireless WiMAX/WiFi Link 5150 and 5350 (codename: Echo Peak) WLAN/WiMAX modules, found mainly in newer Centrino notebooks.

As the change log in the ultimately successful e-mail request for integration shows, Linux WiMAX developers made a number of attempts before the network and USB sub-system administrators were satisfied with the code and gave it the green light for integration into the kernel. Numerous details and background information on the Linux kernel's new WiMAX infrastructure can be found in the e-mail mentioned above, by following the links at the end of this article to commits in the source code administration system, and on the Linux WiMAX website.

Also, on the website you can download the i2400m firmware and the corresponding userspace software. However, the Intel WiMAX binary supplicant needed for authentication with the remote host, as well as the Intel WiMAX binary OMADM client are only available online as a pre-compiled archive (license, FAQ). Therefore, distributions based solely on open source software, such as Debian, Fedora and OpenSuse, will not yet include these parts of the userspace stack in their core distributions. However, in the e-mail mentioned above, Intel developers do say "For networks that require authentication (most), the Intel device requires a supplicant in user space – because of a set of issues we are working to resolve, it cannot be made open source yet, but it will".

See – Part 1 of Whats new in 2.6.29.

The WiMAX Changes in detail

Further background and information about developments in the Linux kernel and its environment can also be found in previous issues of the kernel log at heise open:

Older Kernel logs can be found in the archives or by using the search function at heise open. (thl/c't)

(djwm)

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