[SATLUG] Ubuntu's wifi is teh suck, plus flash update

travis+ml-satlug at subspacefield.org travis+ml-satlug at subspacefield.org
Fri Aug 6 11:34:21 CDT 2010

On Thu, Aug 05, 2010 at 11:52:55PM -0400, scs at worldlinkisp.com wrote:
> > Wireless on Linux, even with supported wifi devices, sucks.
> < snip >
> > Overall, wifi on laptops is probably the worst thing (IMHO) 
> > on Linux right now, so maybe others would like it fixed too.
> This has been discussed here many times, guess you either missed
> or forgot.  Wifi is only as difficult as one makes it, especially
> with the availability of PCI dongles and research on supported 
> chipsets.

SATLUG is a great resource, but I don't have time to read even the
job-relevant mlists I'm on.  Perhaps you can point me to the complete
guide on getting wireless to work reliably, from start-to-finish,
including deterministic troubleshooting steps one can take offline?

If it weren't in such poor shape, people probably wouldn't bring it up
so often.  For example, how often do people bring up problems with
SATA support?

I don't have PCI slots in my laptop, but I do have an atheros mini-PCI
card, as explained in TFA.  You're obviously aware of chipsets - so
you'll recognize this on as well-supported, and capable of, say,
monitor mode.  Actually, I've never found a good way to tell, based on
the packaging, what kind of chipset is in a wifi device, so if you
have one, I'm all ears.  Googling each of the 100 models at Fry's may
be how you want to spend your weekends, but not me.

After the first lid-closing on Kubuntu, it simply doesn't respond any
more.  Heck, about three things stop working after a lid-close and
reopen, including lid-close triggering suspend.  I suspect that the
hardware needs some kind of reset in SMM mode after
suspend-to-(RAM/disk), but honestly, ACPI and SMM aren't my areas of

I bought an AirLink 101 USB dongle, which is cheap but aesthetically
unappealing, and it hasn't gotten into the permanently-off state.  But
NetworkManager certainly gets into the "WirelessEnabled = False" state
quite frequently, and this is an open bug with Ubuntu.

I can - through the oft-suggested "solution" of rebooting and rm'ing
/var/lib/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.state - often get it to start
working again, but somewhat non-deterministically.  In other words,
I keep doing it and hope it works.  Google "Kubuntu NetworkManager
wireless" and see if you can come up with any better answer.

I looked at doing manual configs with iwconfig - on OpenBSD it's as
simple as "ifconfig wlan0 up" - but apparently you need the AP's MAC
address, which IMHO is simply too much work for day-to-day use (you
ever try to get a hotel manager to tell you their AP's MAC address?)

> I'm responding via laptop wireless, 200 feet from my router through a
> few oak tree's with no problems (using a pci dongle), while
> watching and listening to a streaming video.

It works unless it doesn't, and when it doesn't, it's pretty hard to
troubleshoot - and frustrating, too, since you're offline until
you fix it.

You'll note I ignored the snarkiness of your reply.
A Weapon of Mass Construction
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