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).
A good start on doing for wifi what CUPS did for printing. The site indicates that their drivers work for the following cards:
Go here and grab the most recent tarball (for me, 07-27 was most recent).
Next, follow the instructions here:
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 indicatedBuilding and installing
Extract the content of the package:
Build:Code:tar jxvf compat-wireless-$(date -I).tar.bz2
Build the latest Linux wireless subsystem:
Install:Code:cd compat-wireless-$(date -I) make
We use the updates/ directory so your distribution's drivers are left intact.
Uninstall:Code:sudo make install
This nukes our changes to updates/ so you can go back to using your distribution's supported drivers.
Unload:Code:sudo make uninstall
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:
Load:Code:sudo make unload
If you know what module you need you can simply load the module using modprobe. If you simply are not sure you can use:
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.Code:sudo make loadso I didUnloading iwlwifi_mac80211...
FATAL: Module iwlwifi_mac80211 is in use.
FATAL: Module cfg80211 is in use.
make: *** [unload] Error 1to 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.Code:sudo modprobe -r iwlwifi_mac80211 sudo modprobe -r cfg80211
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.]
"There's no prob with 'BOB'!"