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Hermes I USB devices (orinoco_usb)

This page describes how to enable support for WiFi devices based on the Hermes I chipset - using a USB interface - on Debian systems.

Support of early-model (aka "variant 1", "old variant") ORiNOCO USB wireless LAN devices is available in the mainline Orinoco driver since Linux 2.6.35. Supported devices are listed at the end of this page.

These devices are essentially adapters. Internally, they consist of a PCMCIA (PC Card) device with a Lucent/Agere Hermes I chipset, connected by a PCMCIA-to-USB ("EZUSB") bridge to the host system.


The Orinoco USB driver is part of the Linux kernel since version 2.6.35.

For device operation, firmware for the EZUSB bridge is required to be installed. For WPA support, card firmware version 9.42 (or later) is required together with compatible bridge firmware; the Orinoco driver will attempt to download card firmware from userspace during device initialization.

Debian 7 "Wheezy"

  1. Add a "non-free" component to /etc/apt/sources.list, for example:

    # Debian 7 "Wheezy"
    deb wheezy main contrib non-free
  2. Update the list of available packages and install the firmware-linux-nonfree, unzip and wget packages:

    # apt-get update
    # apt-get install firmware-linux-nonfree unzip wget && exit
  3. Acquire and install compatible EZUSB bridge firmware:

    $ wget
    $ unzip WLAGS51.SYS
    $ dd if=WLAGS51.SYS of=orinoco_ezusb_fw skip=10312 count=436 bs=16
    $ su
    # mv orinoco_ezusb_fw /lib/firmware
  4. Connect the device to your system. The orinoco_usb kernel module is automatically loaded for supported devices.

  5. Configure your interface as appropriate.


Supported Devices

The page HowToIdentifyADevice/USB explains how to identify a USB device.

The following list is based on the alias fields of orinoco_usb in Debian 3.2.0 (3.2.46-1) kernel images:


All ORiNOCO USB "variant 2" / "new variant" devices. These devices use a single-board design with an Intersil Prism 2 chipset, see linux-wlan-ng.

See Also

CategoryHardware | CategoryWireless