atheros wireless "monitor mode"

steve sfreilly at
Sat Apr 12 03:22:21 UTC 2008

Hash: SHA1

| Have been messing around with kismet, and wireshark, and seem to get
| an error
| "> FATAL: Failed to set monitor mode: Invalid argument.  This usually
| means your drivers either do not support monitor mode, or use a
| different mechanism for getting to it."
| laptop has an atheros AR5BMB5 card built in, anyone know if the
| restricted module provides monitor mode? or is there some way to
| enable it?  any clue would be appreciated.  thanks.

I'm not sure what this 'restricted module' is; it might be the
Atheros-provided parts of the madwifi-ng packages, which are behind the
scenes driving your Atheros card most likely.

If so, I have a lot of experience with them, and believe what you need
to do is to use wlanconfig to destroy your current wifi interface and
create a new one in managed mode.  Managed and Station mode, do not
appear to inter-operate, in contrast to what people sometimes say
online.  From,
~  ifconfig ath0 down
~  wlanconfig ath0 destroy
~  wlanconfig ath0 create wlandev wifi0 mode

where mode = sta|adhoc|ap|monitor|wds|ahdemo

But you might be using the new Athreos drivers.  I know nothing about
them.  I recommend the website,, very highly.  It is
more helpful than many project pages. is a particularly relevant section.
No doubt the page can help you track down which driver you're usin

I dont know if the threading is going to get messed up here, I deleted
last email by accident...

well, the restricted module is the atheros kernel module ubuntu provides
along with other modules people may need.  I didnt install madwifi on my

This is what Im getting when I try to follow the instructions on  user
docs page to change modes..

steve at ubuntu-laptop:~$ sudo wlanconfig ath0
destroysteve at ubuntu-laptop:~$ sudo wlanconfig ath0 create wlandev wifi0
wlanmode [sta|adhoc|ap|monitor|wds|ahdemo]
wlanconfig: unknown operating mode [sta
bash: ap: command not found
bash: monitor: command not found
bash: wds: command not found
bash: adhoc: command not found
bash: ahdemo]: command not found
steve at ubuntu-laptop:~$

You think I should change to madwifi kernel module?

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