[SOLVED] Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Questions about WIFI networks and devices
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br1anstorm
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[SOLVED] Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by br1anstorm »

I'm getting to the "tearing-my-hair-out/throwing-laptop-out-of window" stage over my wifi connection.

Quick summary:
I have a Samsung RF511 laptop. It has a Broadcom 4313 wifi adapter. I'm running Mint 19.1 fully updated with latest (4.15.0-74) kernel. Though not directly relevant, I have a multiboot installation with Win7 and PCLinuxOS. My router is a Netgear DG834 v3.

Problem:
The hardwired Ethernet connection to the router works fine. But the wifi connection is utterly hopeless. Sometimes (rarely) it works. Much of the time it is totally unpredictable - sometimes it connects when I boot up, usually doesn't. Occasionally when I unplug the Ethernet wire, the wifi connection kicks in. But for the past three days it has steadfastly refused to connect wirelessly at all.

Past history:
This is not new. I posted in the forum back in Sept 2019, several kernels ago - see viewtopic.php?f=53&t=301511&p=1685132#p1685132. On that occasion a change of driver from brcmsmac to wl, recommended by JeremyB seemed to solve the problem. Not for long. A month later the wifi problem was still there. I posted again, at viewtopic.php?f=53&t=304416&p=1707159#p1707159 , wondering if kernel-updates were (as is often said) the cause. At Pjotr's suggestion I checked that power-management was off (it was) in iwconfig, and then tried booting with various previous kernels, with variable and mostly unpredictable results. But then, for a while, things seemed to settle and even though I had made no changes and only normal updates, the wifi seemed to connect regularly, and stay connected. I heaved a - brief - sigh of relief, even though it wasn't clear what the problem had been or whether it was definitely sorted.

And now.....?
Well, the wifi troubles have reappeared with a vengeance. Using my current configuration with kernel 4.15.0-74, the wifi option shows when I click the icon in the task bar, and details are listed in my Network Connections. But it stubbornly refuses to connect (whether the Ethernet cable is plugged in or not). And curiously, when I boot using any of the several older kernels still available, the wifi connection is included in the Network Connections list, but the dropdown list from the icon shows only the wired connection - it does not show the Wifi network nor even the "Enable WiFi" tick-box. So with older kernels I can't even tell the system to try to make the wifi connection. Why not? And with the latest kernel, clicking 'connect' to Wifi just results in the rotating icon and eventual failure.

I like the logical approach to things. First diagnose the fault, then apply the relevant remedy. At the moment it seems to be a game of chasing shadows: since there is no diagnosis and the cause of this persistent problem hasn't been clearly identified, the approach seems to be one of random trial and error in the hope that something will make a difference even if it's not clear why!

If it helps, I can post up the basic info from the various terminal commands again - to save looking back at those linked earlier posts from Sept/Oct last year. It would be really good if someone could offer help which nails the problem permanently.
Last edited by br1anstorm on Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

br1anstorm
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by br1anstorm »

Well, I thought I'd do the terminal commands anyway....

Here's the basic inxi - Fxzd

Code: Select all

brian@brian-samsungRF511:~$ inxi -Fxzd
System:
  Host: brian-samsungRF511 Kernel: 4.15.0-74-generic x86_64 bits: 64 
  compiler: gcc v: 7.4.0 Desktop: Xfce 4.12.3 Distro: Linux Mint 19.1 Tessa 
  base: Ubuntu 18.04 bionic 
Machine:
  Type: Laptop System: SAMSUNG product: RF511/RF411/RF711 v: 14HX 
  serial: <filter> 
  Mobo: SAMSUNG model: RF511/RF411/RF711 v: 14HX serial: <filter> 
  BIOS: American Megatrends v: 14HX.M040.20111020.SSH date: 10/20/2011 
Battery:
  ID-1: BAT1 charge: 41.7 Wh condition: 52.2/57.7 Wh (90%) 
  model: SAMSUNG Electronics status: Unknown 
CPU:
  Topology: Dual Core model: Intel Core i5-2450M bits: 64 type: MT MCP 
  arch: Sandy Bridge rev: 7 L2 cache: 3072 KiB 
  flags: lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx bogomips: 19956 
  Speed: 798 MHz min/max: 800/3100 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 816 2: 821 
  3: 978 4: 798 
Graphics:
  Device-1: Intel 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics 
  vendor: Samsung Co driver: i915 v: kernel bus ID: 00:02.0 
  Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.19.6 driver: modesetting unloaded: fbdev,vesa 
  resolution: 1366x768~60Hz 
  OpenGL: renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Sandybridge Mobile v: 3.3 Mesa 19.2.1 
  direct render: Yes 
Audio:
  Device-1: Intel 6 Series/C200 Series Family High Definition Audio 
  vendor: Samsung Co driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel bus ID: 00:1b.0 
  Sound Server: ALSA v: k4.15.0-74-generic 
Network:
  Device-1: Broadcom and subsidiaries BCM4313 802.11bgn Wireless Network 
  Adapter 
  vendor: Wistron NeWeb driver: wl v: kernel port: e040 bus ID: 01:00.0 
  IF: wlp1s0 state: dormant mac: <filter> 
  Device-2: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet 
  vendor: Samsung Co driver: r8169 v: 2.3LK-NAPI port: c000 bus ID: 02:00.0 
  IF: enp2s0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter> 
Drives:
  Local Storage: total: 2.05 TiB used: 312.18 GiB (14.9%) 
  ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Hitachi model: HTS547575A9E384 size: 698.64 GiB 
  ID-2: /dev/sdb type: USB model: TO Exter nal USB 3.0 size: 465.76 GiB 
  ID-3: /dev/sdc type: USB vendor: Seagate model: Expansion size: 931.51 GiB 
  Optical-1: /dev/sr0 vendor: Slimtype model: DVD A DS8A8SH rev: KS21 
  dev-links: cdrom,cdrw,dvd,dvdrw 
  Features: speed: 24 multisession: yes audio: yes dvd: yes 
  rw: cd-r,cd-rw,dvd-r,dvd-ram state: running 
Partition:
  ID-1: / size: 53.89 GiB used: 23.43 GiB (43.5%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda8 
  ID-2: swap-1 size: 8.00 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda5 
Sensors:
  System Temperatures: cpu: 36.0 C mobo: 36.0 C 
  Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A 
Info:
  Processes: 203 Uptime: 3h 08m Memory: 7.70 GiB used: 1.20 GiB (15.6%) 
  Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Compilers: gcc: 7.4.0 Shell: bash v: 4.4.20 
  inxi: 3.0.27 
I'd guess this shows nothing new...

So here is rfkill

Code: Select all

ID TYPE      DEVICE                 SOFT      HARD
 0 wlan      phy0              unblocked unblocked
 1 wlan      brcmwl-0          unblocked unblocked
 2 bluetooth hci0              unblocked unblocked
 3 wlan      samsung-wlan      unblocked unblocked
 4 bluetooth samsung-bluetooth unblocked unblocked
But iwconfig is more puzzling....

Code: Select all

enp2s0    no wireless extensions.

lo        no wireless extensions.

wlp1s0    IEEE 802.11  ESSID:off/any  
          Mode:Managed  Access Point: Not-Associated   Tx-Power=200 dBm   
          Retry short limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:on
At this time I have no wifi connection, so maybe this shows what one might expect? It doesn't seem to show any router or access point. Should it? And how come power management is on? I certainly didn't do anything in recent weeks or months to change the previous "off" setting...

So what do I do next to get the wifi to work?

br1anstorm
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by br1anstorm »

Further evidence - or clues, which just show the randomness of the problem.

After days with no wireless connection, on my latest boot up I had the Ethernet connected.... and I then pulled out the cable. Almost immediately, the wireless connection was established. That's the good news. I even checked iwconfig, and this is what it shows:

Code: Select all

brian@brian-samsungRF511:~$ iwconfig
wlp1s0    IEEE 802.11  ESSID:"HOLMSIDE"  
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.462 GHz  Access Point: 00:1B:2F:97:CD:F2   
          Bit Rate=54 Mb/s   Tx-Power=200 dBm   
          Retry short limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:on
          Link Quality=70/70  Signal level=-28 dBm  
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:0   Missed beacon:0

lo        no wireless extensions.

enp2s0    no wireless extensions.
Now the bad news. It won't connect to any website. I open my browser, but on anywhere I search, I get the "server not found/try later/check your connection" display screen. So the wifi, even when connected, isn't delivering. Only by re-plugging in the Ethernet (as I have just done) can I get online to post this latest update.

So there is still a problem. I just don't know what it is. But the fact that my other computers, and tablet and mobile phone, all connect flawlessly by wifi and can access any online site demonstrates that the problem does not lie with either my router or its connection to my ISP.

Can anybody offer a convincing analysis of the problem? I don't think I can provide any more clues or details of the symptoms....

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Moem
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by Moem »

I can only offer a workaround: In your situation, I'd spend < 5 dollars on a USB wifi dongle with a known-to-work chipset, and call it a day. It's a nice thing to have in any case. I keep a bunch of them on hand, for situations when I'm helping folks install Mint and internet isn't working yet.
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If your issue is solved, kindly indicate that by editing the first post in the topic, and adding [SOLVED] to the title. Thanks!

br1anstorm
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by br1anstorm »

Thanks, Moem. I know your intentions are honourable, and if driven to total despair that option (a dongle) is certainly one route to try.

But the perfectionist in me doesn't like to walk away from a problem. I don't myself have the level of tech expertise to troubleshoot this on my own. But I would really like someone to help me tackle it. I am surely not the only person ever to encounter this issue; and if solving it helps others too, so much the better.

So while workarounds may be the "sticking plaster" option, I shall continue to hope for a real cure!

JeremyB
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by JeremyB »

Code: Select all

sudo sed -i 's/wifi.powersave = 3/wifi.powersave = 2/' /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/default-wifi-powersave-on.conf
sudo iwconfig wlp1s0 power off
systemctl restart network-manager.service
See if that helps with wifi power management disabled

br1anstorm
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by br1anstorm »

Aha, the cavalry rides to the rescue! Thanks, JeremyB, for joining in.

Just one (dumb) question. Is that code command you provided a single command to copy and paste? Or is it or two or three separate commands with each to be done separately after the previous one has been completed?

JeremyB
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by JeremyB »

Three commands or there will be problems

br1anstorm
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by br1anstorm »

Thanks.... just as well I asked!

br1anstorm
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by br1anstorm »

Well, JeremyB, I've just done all three commands - in sequence, and I think with success.

According to iwconfig, power management is now off. The wifi connection is up straightaway. And a quick browse seems to suggest that it is now - once again - possible to load and access sites online via the wifi connection.

Miracle cure? Seems almost like it....

Many thanks for the help. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the problem is solved. At least for the moment. It does leave me wondering whether (since power management used to be 'off') what switched it on? Was this a fortuitous consequence, or a default setting change, resulting from some routine update?
,

JeremyB
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by JeremyB »

An update to Network Manager could have changed the one setting in /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/default-wifi-powersave-on.conf and allowed wifi power management to be enabled

br1anstorm
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by br1anstorm »

Thanks again JeremyB.

That at least points to one thing I might need to check if future updates result in the same (automatic?) re-set of the power management. But for now, I'm a happy bunny again!

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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by JeremyB »

If you have issues again check iwconfig results

br1anstorm
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Re: Flaky wifi - yet again - this has ceased to be a joke

Post by br1anstorm »

Will do. For the moment, happy to mark this thread "Solved".

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