Shutting down one network controller

Questions about WIFI networks and devices
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xmanmonk
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Shutting down one network controller

Postby xmanmonk » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:23 pm

My mother has Mint 13 on her Toshiba laptop. Her laptop has a consistent problem with the built-in wifi network controller (apparently a known issue, judging from various blogs). I bought a USB wifi adapter for about $10, and it works great. Unfortunately, the built-in wifi occasionally comes to life at seemingly random moments.

I thought I could just put in a startup script like this:

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kdesudo ifconfig wlan0 down


I threw it in a shell script and plopped it in the ~/.kde/Autostart directory, and it ran and shut down the controller. Unfortunately, it also shut down the other controller (wlan1).

So my assumption is that I am doing something wrong (usually a safe assumption). Can someone suggest the proper way to do this? Unfortunately, the built-in controller is not on a separate board, so there's no way to unplug it. If this doesn't work, we may just have to buy another machine, but I'd rather fix this, even if it's a kludgy fix. Thanks!
-The X-Man

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xenopeek
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Re: Shutting down one network controller

Postby xenopeek » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:26 pm

I know laptop BIOSes are usually hopeless, but have you checked if you can disable the onboard Wi-Fi in the BIOS?
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AlbertP
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Re: Shutting down one network controller

Postby AlbertP » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:43 pm

Could you run these commands in terminal:

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inxi -N
rfkill list


Maybe there is a way to get that adapter disabled in software, if BIOS does not offer an option for that.
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xmanmonk
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Re: Shutting down one network controller

Postby xmanmonk » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:45 pm

Nothing in the BIOS. It's a pretty old machine, and although Toshiba apparently provided a BIOS upgrade, all the reports I saw online said the upgrade did not fix the problem (nor did it offer a way to disable the adapter).

I'll try the commands right now and reply with the results. Thanks!
-The X-Man

xmanmonk
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Re: Shutting down one network controller

Postby xmanmonk » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:59 pm

Well, here's what happened. I did the following:

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Script started on Wed 30 Jan 2013 05:47:48 PM PST
lorraine@BigBertha ~ $ inxi -Nx
Network:   Card-1: Atheros AR5212/AR5213 Wireless Network Adapter driver: ath5k bus-ID: 02:02.0
           Card-2: Realtek RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ driver: 8139too ver: 0.9.28 port: 3000 bus-ID: 02:01.0
           Card-3: Ralink RT5370 Wireless Adapter usb-ID: 148f:5370
lorraine@BigBertha ~ $ rfkill list
0: phy0: Wireless LAN
        Soft blocked: no
        Hard blocked: no
1: phy1: Wireless LAN
        Soft blocked: no
        Hard blocked: no
lorraine@BigBertha ~ $ exit

Script done on Wed 30 Jan 2013 05:48:11 PM PST


I then issued an rfkill block 0 command. A subsequent rfkill list showed that wlan0 was soft blocked. A moment later, it changed to being hard blocked. Furthermore, I couldn't connect to anything through wlan1. My network controller would not allow me to select "enable wireless" on the network controller dialog.

I am beginning to suspect that it's time to melt this poor machine into slag and purchase a new one. I'd rather not, so if there's any perceivable way to save this, any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
-The X-Man

AlbertP
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Re: Shutting down one network controller

Postby AlbertP » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:48 am

It is indeed true that wifi might get disabled completely if you disable one adapter.

Please run:

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sudo sh -c 'echo "options ath5k nohwcrypt" > /etc/modprobe.d/ath5k.conf'
That may fix the built-in wifi, then you may not need the USB adapter anymore.

If it doesn't help, edit the file again:

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gksudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/ath5k.conf
And replace the text by:

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blacklist ath5k

Then the driver is not loaded anymore, and you won't be bothered by internal wifi.
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