Wireless - Atheros 242x works, then doesn't

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Wireless - Atheros 242x works, then doesn't

Postby Something Else on Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:36 am

I've just done a clean install of Mint Linux, specifically because my Ubuntu install was having the same problem. This is the second time this has happened. I'll do a clean install (last time it was Ubuntu 9.04) and my wireless card will function, detect networks, connect and work fine for a few hours - then spontaneously disappear and completely stop working. I've found that this is apparently a troublesome card from Google-searching it, and I've tried several fixes - going back to Madwifi, both manually and with the automatic function provided in the restricted drivers management, and also using ndiswrapper to install the Windows driver. I've remembered to blacklist whatever I'm not using. It's not fixed, but a clean install or using the LiveCD makes it work again. This is bizarre.

Here's the technical data:

I've been using a budget-line Compaq laptop which has an AR242x wireless controller from Atheros. It was running out of the box when I first put 8.10 on the system, but future kernel upgrades stopped the drivers from working - so I'd just been booting into an old kernel. After upgrading to 9.04, however, it was working out of the box again - until I rebooted, and presto! the wireless card was no longer detected by the system, even though there was supposedly an active proprietary driver.

I went to the compat-wireless site, downloaded and made the package, and after typing "make load," it appeared to work. Here's what I got.
Code: Select all
ath5k loaded successfully
Module bcm43xx not detected -- this is fine
b43 loaded successfully
b43legacy loaded successfully
My networking applet now shows a "wireless networks" tab, but cannot see any networks. Further, I installed the wifi-radar package, to make sure it wasn't somehow a problem with GNOME and not the hardware drivers, and the terminal output says:
Code: Select all
wlan0     Interface doesn't support scanning : Device or resource busy
Does anyone have any idea how I can resolve this issue and get my wireless back up and running? If going back to proprietary drivers will work, I'll do it - but I think that was what was working and stopped for no particular reason.

iwconfig results:

Code: Select all
lo        no wireless extensions.

eth0      no wireless extensions.

pan0      no wireless extensions.

wmaster0  no wireless extensions.

wlan0     IEEE 802.11bg  ESSID:"" 
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.412 GHz  Access Point: Not-Associated 
          Tx-Power=20 dBm 
          Retry min limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality:0  Signal level:0  Noise level:0
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:0   Missed beacon:0
Something Else
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Re: Wireless - Atheros 242x works, then doesn't

Postby Husse on Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:46 am

Run lspci -vvnn and post the section for the wifi so we can see PCI id and drivers - that is if it is a PCI card
If it is USB run sudo lsusb -v (can't remember if the wifi module gets listed or not)
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Don't fix it if it ain't broken, don't break it if you can't fix it
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Re: Wireless - Atheros 242x works, then doesn't

Postby Something Else on Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:40 pm

Code: Select all
01:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter [168c:001c] (rev 01)
   Subsystem: Hewlett-Packard Company Device [103c:137a]
   Control: I/O+ Mem+ BusMaster+ SpecCycle- MemWINV- VGASnoop- ParErr- Stepping- SERR- FastB2B- DisINTx-
   Status: Cap+ 66MHz- UDF- FastB2B- ParErr- DEVSEL=fast >TAbort- <TAbort- <MAbort- >SERR- <PERR- INTx-
   Latency: 0, Cache Line Size: 128 bytes
   Interrupt: pin A routed to IRQ 16
   Region 0: Memory at 91300000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=64K]
   Capabilities: <access denied>
   Kernel driver in use: ath5k_pci
   Kernel modules: ath_pci, ath5k


It's currently working, but I've turned off updates - I think if I change it, it will stop working again
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Re: Wireless - Atheros 242x works, then doesn't

Postby Husse on Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:08 pm

Ok it's working - I don't do anything right now then, but just post here if it stops working and I'll notice it
I have got a vaguely similar problem now with my ethernet and suspect a problem with the router - too many routes used and there are no more connections to spare (most consumer routers can only handle about 400 simultaneous connections (or routes) and it is not too hard to get there
Next time it stops working reboot into another system (if you have one) or into the live CD
Let it run for a minute or two and reboot back
If it works now the change in whats behind that specific MAC address has caused the router to make a new DHCP lease and that makes you loose all the open connections and you're back
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Re: Wireless - Atheros 242x works, then doesn't

Postby Something Else on Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:25 pm

Hey Husse,

Thanks. I'm pretty sure it's not my problem, though. I say that because I live in a building where there are multiple access points connecting to different routers, and there's only about 14 people who could possibly be on the network (I live in a college dorm during the summertime). I can access the same network the wireless routers connect to via hardline and it works fine. Additionally, I can't even see wireless access points when it's not working - it's like the router isn't functioning at all.
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Re: Wireless - Atheros 242x works, then doesn't

Postby Husse on Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:46 pm

I can't explain this well - it's just about that I understand the lot myself
Anyway don't hesitate to post back if the problems return
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