[PLUG] Can a faulty wifi driver affect router's behavior?

Mayuresh mayuresh at acm.org
Wed Dec 7 05:29:55 PST 2011


On Wed, Dec 07, 2011 at 11:38:41AM +0530, Arun Khan wrote:
> > 1. The desktop/laptop dropping the connection (with no apparent trigger,
> > except perhaps multiple sessions demanding data over network
> > simultaneously), in which case you must manually do ifdown and ifup again.
> > It won't re-connect automatically.
> 
> You have not mentioned brand/model of your WiFi AP; whether you have
> flashed a 3rd party FW etc.

WRT54GL Firmware: DD-WRT v23 SP2 (09/15/06) std

> Also, are you using NetManager to manage the "network" connection on
> your desktop?

No. I dislike such additional layers. (I mean I don't use KDE, Gnome
either for example. Am more of a bare bones user.)

> I have a 6 yr old Linksys WRT54G series router which started behaving
> similar to yours.  Power cycle would establish the network
> connectivity but it would degenerate to nil over a period of time.
> Signal strength on the applet display  > 80%.
> 
> Replaced the unit and the problem has gone away.

I face the problem only on Fedora. Not on NetBSD and maemo. So don't think
it's a fault of the router. But you never know.

> > 2. Desktop/laptop showing connection active with good signal quality, but
> > router simply not responding to anything - even ping to it. In this case
> > there was no option but to power restart the router and after it comes up
> > again restart the interface.
> >
> >
> > This was painful, though I had come to terms with it.
> >
> > Then NetBSD appeared out of blue on my laptop/desktop one fine day.
> 
> Wow, this is a candidate for the Guinness book :D

Well I just meant, I was exploring BSDs and did not specifically install
for this purpose. So looking at it from this problems perspective, it was
a pleasant surprise that landed up on my system out of nowhere!

An aside: My family members who are not with technical background, but
have been Linux users, now insist that they want to use NetBSD. They know
or care nothing about what the pluses and minuses are. All that they know
is they don't have to now reboot the router in the middle of web surfing,
wait patiently and then restart network interfaces (or just restart
network interfaces depending on which of the two faults triggered)!


> > The wifi driver on NetBSD for my hardware is so stable, it never dropped
> > the connection over last few months of usage. Even if the router is
> > switched off and on, the interface remains active and re-establishes
> > connection automatically.
> 
> Good.  The real issue may be with the higher layer application
> (NetworkManager) that is managing the network interfaces.     Looks
> like NetBSD has a more stable Network Manager or whatever it is that
> manages it's network connections.

It still appears a driver layer thing to me. I do not use NM on Fedora. Do
not have such notion on NetBSD.

> > So far still nothing unusual. One implementation of driver can be better
> > than the other.
> 
> Yes,
> 
> >
> > What surprises me is the issue no. 2 above, where I had to occasionally
> > restart the router as it used to get hung has disappeared as well.
> 
> NetworkManager - suggest a bug report stating your scenario as a test case.

No I don't use NM.

> Thanks for sharing your experience, it does raise awareness re: WiFi security.

?? :-)
Mayuresh



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