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Thread: Possible solution to bad wifi drivers...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Beans
    11

    Possible solution to bad wifi drivers...

    FINALLY!
    After much searching and gnashing of teeth, it looks like I may have stumbled upon a solution to the spastic, intermittent speeds on various wifi cards (specifically, in my case, Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG). Since I just discovered my T60 Thinkpad with Core 2 Duo was "AMD64-capable" and was switching out from 32-bit, figured it couldn't hurt to try from a fresh install (so, this means it appears work for both system types).

    http://linuxwireless.org

    A good start on doing for wifi what CUPS did for printing. The site indicates that their drivers work for the following cards:

    adm8211
    at76_usb
    ath5k
    b43
    b43legacy
    iwl3945
    iwl4965
    ipw2100
    ipw2200
    ub8xxx
    libertas_cs
    p54_pci
    p54_usb
    rndis_wlan
    rt2400pci
    rt2400pci
    rt2500pci
    rt2500usb
    rt61pci
    rt73usb
    rtl8180
    rtl8187
    zd1211rw

    Go here and grab the most recent tarball (for me, 07-27 was most recent).

    Next, follow the instructions here:
    Building and installing

    Extract:

    Extract the content of the package:

    Code:
    tar jxvf compat-wireless-$(date -I).tar.bz2
    Build:

    Build the latest Linux wireless subsystem:

    Code:
    cd compat-wireless-$(date -I)
    make
    Install:

    We use the updates/ directory so your distribution's drivers are left intact.

    Code:
    sudo make install
    Uninstall:

    This nukes our changes to updates/ so you can go back to using your distribution's supported drivers.

    Code:
    sudo make uninstall
    Unload:

    Since you might be replacing your old mac80211 drivers you should first try to unload all existing mac80211 and related drivers. Note also that broadcom, zydas, and atheros devices have old legacy drivers which you need to be sure are removed first. We provide a mechanism to unload all old and legacy drivers first so you should run to be sure:

    Code:
    sudo make unload
    Load:

    If you know what module you need you can simply load the module using modprobe. If you simply are not sure you can use:

    Code:
    sudo make load
    Note that this will run make unload first, just in case you forgot. This unloads your old wireless subsystem drivers and loads the new shiny ones. For example if ipw3945 and its proprietary daemon are found it'll be stopped and the module unloaded and then iwl3945 will be loaded. If you are simply upgrading a mac80211 driver this will unload the old one and the old mac80211 drivers and load the new ones.
    I installed the tarball into /home/foo/bin [personal bin directories are a must for long-term Linux lovin'], uncompressed it, and finished the make magic. After doing the unload step it indicated
    Unloading iwlwifi_mac80211...
    FATAL: Module iwlwifi_mac80211 is in use.
    Unloading iwl3945...
    Unloading cfg80211...
    FATAL: Module cfg80211 is in use.
    make: *** [unload] Error 1
    so I did
    Code:
    sudo modprobe -r iwlwifi_mac80211
    sudo modprobe -r cfg80211
    to pluck them out myself. Upon completion of the load step, Network Manager* came back up and logged into my home wifi net without further issue.

    Now previously I was experiencing dropouts or fade over (seemingly) random time & load intervals (sometimes it would go for 20+ minutes under varying loads before cutting a download from 1.8Mb/s to <200kb/s without any other load on the network; other times it would start off dragging). As a test of this new driver I copied a 3.9GB file while watching a streaming movie (Gunner Palace...not big on war movies, but I recommend it if you're curious about Iraq) and sustained an average of 1.8Mb/s for over 60+ minutes without a single major slowdown (it does vasilate a bit in the beginning, but once it gets set, it flies).

    Haven't rebooted yet, but per the instructions above, the install goes into an updates/ folder that is persistant and can be undone with the 'sudo make uninstall' command inside the uncompressed folder (told you personal bin/ folders rock, fool!).

    With any luck this should be a simple, straightforward fix for all my long-suffering peeps who've had serious grinder issues with the wireless thing. I'll post back again in a few days after I've abused it some more and am happy this is a more permanent solution.

    I strongly encourage the Ubuntu team to look at getting these updates into the next patch cycle ASAP!

    Must sleep now...

    [*Side note: yeah, yeah, I know Network Manager gets a lot of grief from everybody -- including blame as the root cause of all the wifi slowdowns/failures -- but personally, it's always "just worked" and I'm not fond of Wicd or any of the other options out there. Plus, the OpenVPN support is hard to beat.]

    Kingstrum

    "There's no prob with 'BOB'!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Behind you!
    Beans
    204
    Distro
    Ubuntu 6.06

    Re: Possible solution to bad wifi drivers...

    I get this error when make install
    Code:
    Your old wireless subsystem modules were left intact:
    
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/net/mac80211/mac80211.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/net/wireless/cfg80211.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/adm8211.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/ubuntu/wireless/at76/at76_usb.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/b43/b43.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/b43legacy/b43legacy.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/ssb/ssb.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/ubuntu/wireless/iwlwifi/iwlwifi/compatible/iwl3945.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/ubuntu/wireless/iwlwifi/iwlwifi/compatible/iwl4965.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/ipw2100.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/ipw2200.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/net/ieee80211/ieee80211.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/net/ieee80211/ieee80211_crypt.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/libertas/libertas_cs.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/net/mac80211/mac80211.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/p54pci.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/p54usb.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/rt2x00/rt2400pci.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/rt2x00/rt2500pci.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/rt2x00/rt2500usb.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/rt2x00/rt61pci.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/rt2x00/rt73usb.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/usb/usbnet.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/usb/cdc_ether.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/usb/rndis_host.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/rtl8187.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/drivers/net/wireless/zd1211rw/zd1211rw.ko
    /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/kernel/net/ieee80211/softmac/ieee80211softmac.ko
    
    make -C /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/build M=/home/iain/Desktop/compat-wireless-2008-07-28 modules
    make: *** /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/build: No such file or directory. Stop.
    make: *** [modules] Error 2
    any ideas?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Beans
    6

    Re: Possible solution to bad wifi drivers...

    Kingstrum I also have an IPW 3945ABG but it does not seem to work for me with compat-wireless. What kernel build are you using?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Orkney Isles
    Beans
    Hidden!

    Re: Possible solution to bad wifi drivers...

    Thanks Very much. Worked a charm.

    Mark
    My homepage created with Kompozer
    http://www.oldhallcottage.co.uk/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Beans
    11

    Re: Possible solution to bad wifi drivers...

    Quote Originally Posted by My Name View Post
    <snip>
    Code:
    make -C /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/build M=/home/iain/Desktop/compat-wireless-2008-07-28 modules
    make: *** /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-rt/build: No such file or directory. Stop.
    make: *** [modules] Error 2
    Hmmm...not sure about this one. I'll do some more research. This seems to indicate you're using the "real-time" kernel, correct? Maybe post some additional info (machine type, CPU, card type, etc.)


    Quote Originally Posted by hobojoe789 View Post
    Kingstrum I also have an IPW 3945ABG but it does not seem to work for me with compat-wireless. What kernel build are you using?
    I'm using "2.6.24-19-generic #1 SMP Fri Jul 11 21:01:46 UTC 2008 x86_64" on my T60 Thinkpad with Core 2 Duo, using AMD64 architecture.

    Further testing through the week has shown these drivers to be rock solid and able to run at full speed for sustained periods of time without issue. Basically these are what the default drivers should have been (for which I mostly blame Intel, as I suspect the kinks just weren't considered important by the time Hardy released.)

    Let me get back to you on the other bits.

    Kingstrum

    "Et in Arcadia ego...do you?"

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