View Full Version : [ubuntu] Consistently bad wifi?

May 11th, 2008, 08:05 PM
I've had a lot of trouble getting visibility into ubunutu's wifi setup. I have a question or two I really need answered.

I live in Seattle and most coffee shops, and other assorted places, have free wifi. I must have tried to use the wifi in these places about a hundred times now and I'm rarely successful. Most times, I simply can't connect. The little spinning icon appears but it never connects to anything (and by connect I mean the little mystery spinner in the toolbar turns into an icon that looks like a set of bars)

My question is, what is going on during this spinning? Is there a log? I don't have a clue what it's doing or why it's not working. The other people in the place with computers seem to be having no trouble whatsoever.

Other times, I can connect, or at least the icon changes, but I can't actually use the internet at all. Sometimes I get one page to load, but no subsequent pages load. It's as if the network card had disassociated. Again, I have no visibility. Where can I look to see what is going on?

At home, where I'm the only user of my linksys wifi router, I never have any trouble connecting (though the signal strength is not great). This leads me to believe that my network equiment is OK, and I assume the drivers are fine or I'd not be able to connect. Are there issues where the linux drivers lose tons of packets or something when there are more than a handful of users?

Finally, can anyone compare this to what the Macbook experience is like? I'm curious if the hardware is just better? Or perhaps the drivers are just a higher quality and don't have these bugs? I'd gladly shell out $4K for a laptop if I knew it would work.

I have a laptop with an intel 2200bg wifi chip, which seems fairly common. I've also tried with a linksys pcmcia card with a broadcom chipset. Neither works any better than the other. I don't really have a way to determine if for some reason my network stuff isn't working, or if there some sort of driver issue where the drivers are just poor.

Anything anyone can tell me would be useful.