Okay. When I boot in the 3.0 kernel there isn't anything relevant from that command (just the device-mapper multi-path lines). Here is the output from the 2.6.38 generic kernel:
To further explore I booted up into a Fedora 15 live CD. Everything seems smooth. It uses the 2.6.38 kernel as well with this ath9k driver pack. I ran into a problem though when I booted up into the live CD with the ethernet cable plugged in, and then unplugged it while in the session. System froze!
steven@zanazabar:~$ dmesg | egrep 'ath|firmware|FW'
[ 2.067479] device-mapper: multipath: version 1.2.0 loaded
[ 2.067509] device-mapper: multipath round-robin: version 1.0.0 loaded
[ 17.982388] ath9k 0000:07:00.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 19 (level, low) -> IRQ 19
[ 17.982414] ath9k 0000:07:00.0: setting latency timer to 64
[ 18.059138] ath: EEPROM regdomain: 0x65
[ 18.059148] ath: EEPROM indicates we should expect a direct regpair map
[ 18.059159] ath: Country alpha2 being used: 00
[ 18.059163] ath: Regpair used: 0x65
[ 18.135916] ieee80211 phy0: Selected rate control algorithm 'ath9k_rate_control'
[ 18.137536] Registered led device: ath9k-phy0::radio
[ 18.137594] Registered led device: ath9k-phy0::assoc
[ 18.137655] Registered led device: ath9k-phy0::tx
[ 18.137712] Registered led device: ath9k-phy0::rx
When I ran this dmesg command from the Fedora 15 live CD session there was some more information. There was an error suggesting a bug in the firmware of one of the Atheros devices, but I couldn't tell from the command if it was referring to the wired or wireless device. It referenced atl1c so I think that means the AR8152 firmware had the problem.
Could I have been blaming the wrong component all along? Perhaps there is no issue at all with the AR9285 wireless, and the AR8152 wired component is to blame for all these issues. It would make sense since the problem seems to occur when the cable is not plugged in or at the time the cable is unplugged. Does AR8152 have rotten firmware? If so, if I can't find new firmware to flash to it, will I have a way to disable the component entirely in Linux and just run wireless? Since it is a laptop, that would not be a big deal at all.