New user here hoping for some insight. While not a complete command line rookie, these couple weeks are my first time trying to run Linux as a primary OS. I'm primarily a Mac user and learned just enough to try to maintain Windows installations if there's a gun to my head. This is my situation:
I installed Mint MATE v18 on my wife's old Toshiba A300 Satellite laptop in order to have a stable, lower maintenance internet machine as one hour back with Windows 8.1 started to erode my sanity. Wifi had always been a dodgy since I met my wife and this computer, but now that I'm using it more, it's become apparent the problem is deeper than grumpy Windows. I've had five distinct OS's installed on this computer and every one of them has given me wifi troubles.
Windows Vista (7 years ago) was the OS that came with the computer and what it was running when I met it. I was rarely using it in this state, but I knew it hated the ad hoc network from my MacBook Pro. Never would connect to it. My then-girlfriend-later-wife would also periodically flip the hardware wifi on/off switch to fix problems. Ethernet gave no trouble I'm aware of.
Windows 8.1 (about 5 years ago) was my upgrade to the computer. At this point, I dealt with the computer more as my wife I were married by then. I noticed immediately that the wifi did not always work on a cold boot. Sometimes it was necessary to immediately reboot to get the wifi to connect. The computer would recognize the hardware, but for unclear reasons say it was unable to connect to the network. It was a nuisance, but the computer was getting much less use since my wife got her iPad, so I didn't worry much about it.
A couple weeks ago, I decided to pull the machine back into service. I tried out Bodhi Linux and Ubuntu before settling on Mint Mate. Even though Bodhi and Ubuntu were installed for less than a day, wifi problems were immediately apparent under both. The OS would believe the connection was good, but it would stop getting any throughput. Turning wifi on and off (via software or the hardware switch) would fix it, but with continued use the problem would just reappear. At best, I got around twenty minutes before the problem appeared.
For a time, Mint showed the same symptoms but after a couple weeks, things seem to have grown worse. Connection stability seems shorter, I've had instances where the on/off trick doesn't work (I get "device not ready") and I need to reboot to get network connection back. Even stranger, even though no ethernet cable has touched the computer since I started on Linux, sometimes the computer tells me I'm connected to ethernet when I'm connected to the wifi.
I'm a bit stumped. The only thing coming to my mind is that maybe the wifi hardware is going south, but I've never experienced this before so I feel like I'm guessing. Appreciate any insight! Enclosed system data below.
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System: Host: Mintysaurus Kernel: 4.13.0-26-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.4.0) Desktop: MATE 1.18.0 (Gtk 3.18.9-1ubuntu3.3) Distro: Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia Machine: System: TOSHIBA product: Satellite A300 v: PSAJ0E-00Q013CE Mobo: TOSHIBA model: Satellite A300 Bios: TOSHIBA v: V3.60 date: 07/16/2008 CPU: Dual core Intel Core2 Duo T8100 (-MCP-) cache: 3072 KB flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 8378 clock speeds: max: 2101 MHz 1: 1600 MHz 2: 2101 MHz Graphics: Card: Intel Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (primary) bus-ID: 00:02.0 Display Server: X.Org 1.18.4 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: firstname.lastname@example.org GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel 965GM GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 17.2.4 Direct Rendering: Yes Audio: Card Intel 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0 Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.13.0-26-generic Network: Card-1: Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG [Golan] Network Connection driver: iwl3945 v: in-tree:s bus-ID: 02:00.0 IF: wlp2s0 state: up mac: <filter> Card-2: Marvell 88E8040T PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller driver: sky2 v: 1.30 port: 2000 bus-ID: 03:00.0 IF: enp3s0 state: down mac: <filter> Drives: HDD Total Size: 320.1GB (6.4% used) ID-1: /dev/sda model: TOSHIBA_MK3252GS size: 320.1GB Partition: ID-1: / size: 165G used: 16G (11%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1 ID-2: swap-1 size: 3.68GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda4 RAID: No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 66.0C mobo: N/A Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A Info: Processes: 157 Uptime: 35 min Memory: 1016.3/2992.9MB Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 5.4.0 Client: Shell (bash 4.3.481) inxi: 2.2.35