The different Netgear WG511 versions

This page describes the different available wg511 versions from Netgear. It may contain errors or be incomplete. If you have additional Informations about this card type pleas contact me.

Available drivers:

The original prism54 driver is quite old and well tested. It's working with all older cards and produces little CPU load since most actions are performed by the card itself and it's firmware. However it doesn't support the newer softmac cards.
The p54 driver is aimed at supporting all versions of the isl chipsets. It's included in the mainline kernel and is working mostly. This is the driver you should use if possible.
The ndiswrapper driver tries a different approach by using the windows drivers on Linux. This is not a perfect solution because it only works on x86 based PCs, is slow and unstable, and you have to run closed source code in kernelspace. Despite this it's sometimes the only way to get wireless cards working with Linux.

WG511 v1

The wg511 v1 seems to be the first version of the wg511. There don't seem to be many copies of this card and it looks like it was quickly replaced by the wg511 v2. I've never seen anyone owning this card so it's unsure whether they are supported by the p54 driver, but would I tend to yes. Image of the wg511 v1

WG511 v2

NOTE: This card is not the officially label WG511v2 one. For this card see below.

The wg511 v2 seems to be the successor of the wg511 v1 and it's known to work well with the prism54 and p54 driver. It has a isl3880 chipset. This card doesn't seem to be produced anymore, so if you want to get this you either need to find a shop with a really really really old store or use something like ebay.
Image of the wg511 v2

WG511 v3

With the wg511 v3 Netgear startet to use Conexant's isl3886 chipset. This is generally the same one as the isl3880, but with limited memory. It's also known as softmac. Because of this the fullmac firmwire don't fit anymore, so there's a new (softmac) firmware which leaves almost all work to the CPU and the driver. Because of this such cards don't work with the prism54 driveir. The p54 driver works fine however. Front image of the wg511 v3
Back image of the wg511 v3


This version is labeled WG511v2 by Netgear. On the Netgear site there's a completely different windows driver for this card and also Linux needs another driver. The card is based on a Marvell chipset and as far as I know there isn't any Linux driver for this card avaliable. So the only option to use this card with Linux seems to be ndiswrapper. Back image of the wg511v2