Generally this install is working well except for one horrible problem:
Seemingly randomly (maybe 1 in 5 boots) the wireless networking is completely missing from networkmanager.
This does not happen whilst the system is running - only sometimes after a restart (cold or warm boot).
iwconfig returns "no wireless extensions", it's just like there is no wireless hardware in the machine.
I have tried using the wifi kill switch (FN+F1), it works (the light goes off and on) but does nothing. The kill switch does work (i.e. it stops wireless) during the times when I boot with wireless working. If that makes sense. basically kill switch doesn't seem to be relevant to this problem!
I am using the default ath5k driver.
The only "fix" i can see when this happens is to reboot. a full restart is necessary. usually after one reboot it works perfectly. It may work perfectly for about 3 to 8 reboots, so I think it's ok, but then all of a sudden after a boot there's no wireless, seemingly at random.
I have tracked this problem as far as the device list returned by lspci being wrong:
After the boots when wireless is working lspci -nn shows:
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02:00.0 Ethernet controller : Atheros Communications Inc. AR5001 Wireless Network Adapter [168c:001c] (rev 01)
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02:00.0 Ethernet controller : Atheros Communications Inc. Device [168c:ff1b] (rev 01)
1) add this extra ID to the list of ath5k driver ID so it's accepted and the driver loads - even if it thinks it's a different piece of hardware (how?)
2) change the device ID reported by the system to the driver (how?)
3) maybe try madwifi driver - but if the lspci ID is wrong won't this affect all drivers?
4) buggy BIOS? I see some references to using pci=nommconf, haven't worked out where to enable this yet.
Toshiba BIOS v1.60 (later BIOS cause huge slowdown so had to revert).
There are no BIOS options that I can see being relevant.
Things I have tried:
I have tried installing linux-backports-modules-karmic (which installed the .17 kernel also). this didn't seem to help, but didn't hurt either.
Also suggested level 1-3 mint updates are appplied.
I don't think i've messed with any system config files.
I have tried rmmod ath5k, modprobe ath5k. doesn't seem to be a driver problem.
I am quite experienced with computersbut not linux (and not this laptop!); this really feels like a hardware problem, or very low level software problem, so i'm quite stuck.
If I need to provide other info please ask!
I'm in a bit of a hurry and really keen to sort this, because this isn't my system, I was doing the install for a friend :/
I fear this is probably an upstream problem or system BIOS bug but thought I should ask here first. Many thanks for any assistance or references.