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Thread: Wireless causes system freeze: Atheros AR9285, Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, Acer Aspire 5250

  1. #11
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    Re: Wireless causes system freeze: Atheros AR9285, Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, Acer Aspire

    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:
    Code:
    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
    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!

    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.
    Last edited by Zanazabar; September 11th, 2011 at 06:11 PM.

  2. #12
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    Re: Wireless causes system freeze: Atheros AR9285, Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, Acer Aspire

    FWIW, if I boot the Fedora liveCD, the output of the dmesg command is identical to what I posted above with the addition of the 'firmware bug' line I mentioned. Since this is such a low level issue I don't think it has anything to do with a specific linux distro. Not sure if the 'bug' mentioned is because of the LiveCD setting, I'll have to try booting an Ubuntu LiveCD and seeing what the output is there. Here is the exact line I get from dmesg if anyone can help decrypt it:

    Code:
    [   42.187024] atl1c 0000:06:00.0: vpd r/w failed.  This is likely a firmware bug on this device.  Contact the card vendor for a firmware update.
    I *think* atl1c means it is the ethernet card and not the wireless card. I don't know what 'vpd r/w' is. Do I really have any hope of contacting Qualcom and getting a firmware update?

  3. #13
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    Re: Wireless causes system freeze: Atheros AR9285, Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, Acer Aspire

    Hi, yes that bug is for the ethernet connection and qualcom just recently took over the company and they have not made new drivers available.

    Here is a link to get the 8151 working and it probably covers the 8152.
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1806056&page=2

    Start with post 17 and see if the firmware is newer then the one you are using, other then that I am out of idea's those freezing issues are very difficult.
    Thank you

  4. #14
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    Re: Wireless causes system freeze: Atheros AR9285, Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, Acer Aspire

    Okay, sounds like a good direction. My previous attempt (in my initial post) with compat-wireless had focused on the ath9k driver instead of the atl1c driver.

    From the thread you linked, it says to go to http://wireless.kernel.org, but that host seems to be down at the moment. I see what I think are the same packages available from http://linuxwireless.org/, so I hope that is equivalent. Gonna give it a shot.
    Last edited by Zanazabar; September 12th, 2011 at 04:34 AM.

  5. #15
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    Re: Wireless causes system freeze: Atheros AR9285, Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, Acer Aspire

    Hi, I am doing some research, that link was good a few days ago.

    Thank you
    Last edited by Wild Man; September 12th, 2011 at 04:38 AM. Reason: removed text

  6. #16
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    Re: Wireless causes system freeze: Atheros AR9285, Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, Acer Aspire

    Okay. Well, I think the kernel.org web server is just down right now for whatever reason. I used what I got from linuxwireless.

    Still, same problem so no go.

    I tried to follow the directions which seem standard (use the script to select the driver, in my case atlc1. then do the make, make install, make unload, and reboot).

    Where I am confused are there are so many version of compat-wireless to download. I booted up into 2.6.38 standard kernel for Ubuntu, so I downloaded the compat-wireless that said it was for the 2.6.38 kernel. I was thinking since it said to make sure the linux-headers is installed, that you had to match to the right version. Or am I making this dependency up and I can just get whatever the latest bleeding edge compat-wireless is regardless of kernel?

    At the least since I installed the 3.0 kernel, I can try again with that compat-wireless version.

    If I can't get this to work now... what are my choices? I am confused as to how I can buy a laptop that has a broken component. Is it something I can remove and replace with a working ethernet card? Also, if the firmware is messed up, how is it possible for Windows 7 to have no problem with these Atheros chipsets?

    All your help is appreciated. I really want to run Linux on this machine!

  7. #17
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    Re: Wireless causes system freeze: Atheros AR9285, Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, Acer Aspire

    Hi, yes the kernel headers and build essentials have to be for the kernel you want to compile the driver for.

    There is nothing wrong with the firmware for windows just linux because microsoft pays a lot of money to make sure the driver and firmware work for there operating system while making it has hard as possible for other operating systems to make working firmware and drivers.

    I also had tried to download the driver with out success, so maybe it will be back up soon.
    Thank you

  8. #18
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    Re: Wireless causes system freeze: Atheros AR9285, Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, Acer Aspire

    Okay, www.kernel.org says it is down for maintenance now, but I've just been pulling the tarballs from linuxwireless.org.

    Situation: boot up Ubuntu 11.04 into the 3.0 kernel. I downloaded the compat-wireless tarball for the 3.0 kernel. I targeted atl1c as the driver and went through the make process and installed the driver. I unloaded all mods and rebooted. Unfortunately, I locked up in the same way.

    Still trying to run experiments, so I found out this piece. I boot up again into the 3.0 kernel with the ethernet cable plugged in so everything is fine. In the terminal I run the following command:

    Code:
    sudo modprobe -r atl1c
    This disables the "Wired Connection". Now, if I unplug the ethernet cable, the system stays up! I can now use the laptop just without any network connectivity. This is somewhat better than being tethered to the cable...

    Now, in the 3.0 kernel remember I said the wireless ability doesn't show up at all? Well I think that was just due to lack of drivers. I guess ath9k isn't in the current pull down if you grab the kernel. I used the same compat-wireless tarball and targeted ath9k and installed it. When I loaded it with modprobe, the wireless ability appeared.

    (Issue here, although the wireless functionality appeared, and it remembered my network name and password, it is unable to actually establish a wireless connection. Note that this is true even if I have atl1c running and the ethernet cable plugged in. Seems to be a new issue with the 3.0 kernel vs the 2.6.38 kernel.)

    So what I'm wondering now is if it is possible to load wireless with the ath9k driver and not load wired with the atl1c driver. Does ath9k depend on atl1c? If this is possible, is there a way to suppress atl1c during bootup so that it won't mess up my system? I think I have shown that it is atl1c that is causing the system to freeze.

  9. #19
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    Re: Wireless causes system freeze: Atheros AR9285, Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, Acer Aspire

    So what I'm wondering now is if it is possible to load wireless with the ath9k driver and not load wired with the atl1c driver. Yes

    Does ath9k depend on atl1c? No

    run this

    Code:
    modinfo ath9k
    read through it.

    If this is possible, is there a way to suppress atl1c during bootup so that it won't mess up my system? Sure

    I think I have shown that it is atl1c that is causing the system to freeze.

    Even if it does not solve the issue the fix is reversible.

    one line at a time.. just copy and paste

    Code:
    sudo su 
    echo "blacklist atl1c" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf 
    exit
    Last edited by nm_geo; September 13th, 2011 at 01:33 AM. Reason: typo left out important info
    Boot Info Script
    Ubuntu User number is # 32763
    Linux User number is # 527179

  10. #20
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    Re: Wireless causes system freeze: Atheros AR9285, Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, Acer Aspire

    Very close now.

    Here's what I did and what I saw:

    First I realized with all my kernel and driver switching that I'd broken my wireless ability (ignoring the ethernet cable issue, unable to establish any type of wireless connection) which had been working out of the box. So first, I did a clean install of Ubuntu 11.04 64-bit, and then ran Synaptic to apply all updates. Now wireless functionality was restored and I was back in the original situation.

    Then I ran the commands you indicated, nm_geo, to blacklist the problematic atl1c. I still was having the issue however. So I opened up Network Connections and then hit Edit on the Wired tab for "Auto eth0". I deselected "Connect automatically" and "Connect for all users", then I applied and received a message about a failed loopback command. I ignored this and then deleted the entry for "Auto eth0" entirely from the Wired tab in Network Connections. Then I rebooted.

    The same issue still occurred, however, the laptop was now favoring the wireless connection by default. The weird part is if I click on the network icon there is still an entry for "Auto eth0" in the pulldown (but it is not connected to it), however, if I open Network Connections there are no entries at all on the Wired tab.

    In this situation, I ran:

    Code:
    lsmod
    and there 'atl1c' was in the list! I don't know how it is there. So then I ran the command

    Code:
    sudo modprobe -r atl1c
    and I was where I wanted to be! If I click on the network icon there is nothing whatsoever about any "Wired connection" listed in the pulldown, not even an area for wired connections. And if I unplug the ethernet cable the system stays stable, and I have network connectivity via the wireless card. Just how I want it!

    Problem is if I reboot, then I have to have the cable in so it doesn't freeze while I pull up a terminal and run "sudo modprobe -r atl1c". So...

    Even after being blacklisted, how is atl1c resurrecting itself?

    More importantly, how can I block it? Can I manage through configurations, or will I need to try and uninstall the atl1c driver entirely to prevent it from running?

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