For example, sometimes I can see a network, but can't connect. Why? I'd like to see something like "sent 100 low level packets, checksum failed on 88 of them, disconnecting".
Or I'd like some way to see whether receiving or sending is the problem - do I get garbled packets, or do I get good ones, but no answers to the ones I send.
Sometimes I know a connection is WPA2, but it stubbornly tries another encryption method. Why? Does the AP suggest it, or is it my configuration? Sometimes I can't enter a text password, it only accepts a fixed-length hexadecimal string (happens on Windows a lot). Again why? There is no good central low-level log file or debug tool that lets me see what is going on.
# cat /sys/kernel/debug/ieee80211/phy*/netdev:*/stations/*/rc_stats
rate throughput ewma prob this prob this succ/attempt success attempts
1 0.6 68.0 100.0 0( 0) 9 12
Manufacturers could always agree on some kind of debugging protocol... I'm sure we'd up with only one "standard" ;-)
I wonder if we'll eventually get the kind of stability that we currently have with ethernet drivers... once the speeds are high enough that we stop upgrading, once the chips go into long-term production instead of changing every few years, once things settle down...
Furthermore, I care. My 2013 Macbook Pro is terribly slow to associate to even nearby APs, and drops the connection often. I have no idea why, because it is opaque: how do you list nearby APs? their signal strength or encryption type? I didn't learn this until just now, and it's,
OS X has the troubleshooter dialog, but that's never been able to fix the problem. (In general, I feel, those things never do. They also never tell you what they're doing. For all I know, they're just progress bars and timers.) WiFi off, WiFi on fixes a lot of problems.
dont worry, Lennart Poettering (systemD/pulseaudio) is working to solve this problem
> There's no way I'll remember it
I have history(1) and a symlink in a toolbox git repo.
> you likely can't Google it
"!g OSX airport command" works fine
I found netstat -r is the most "Unix-portable" way of querying the routing table (Windows route is a peculiar beast anyway). route is deprecated on linux in favor of ip route.
> "!g OSX airport command" works fine
Of course. The parent was referring to a situation when someone lacks internet access, due to a networking problem they are trying to fix, rendering them unable to use Google to find the command.
. chooses 2.4 over 5
. not automatically connecting to my mobile wifi even though I use it all the time
. simply tries and fails to connect over and over and over .. I have to stop wifi and start it, and then it just works.
OTOH, my Fedora 20 install has been behaving beautifully (though to be said in far less challenging environments)
At least on systemd based distributions (tested on arch), running
journalctl -fu NetworkManager
Perfectly sums up my feelings about NetworkManager.
Making things that "just work" means handling complexity for users, and leads to
somewhat complex code. Debian's static network configuration is great for
servers and okay for desktops that never move. But it's nothing that you
should put on laptops operated by enterprise users (the people that pay for
Linux desktop development). Imagine users calling support from a Starbucks,
trying the edit the wifi config files.
In their case, they need to support lots of features, and make all of them work seamlessly: multiple Ethernet, Wifi and VPN interfaces, IPv4/IPv6 configuration, modems, firewall policies, and so on. n^m different states. To get rid of this complexity, you'd need to remove options at the bottom of the stack, e.g. only allow communication via serial port at a fixed rate.
Um, maybe because WEP passphrases are fixed length hexadecimal strings?
This thing works. I just buy them in bulk. I can get one for $13 off ebay. Any device I run Linux on, I replace whatever half size mpcie card it has with one. I don't fuck with the realtek or broadcom chips I get, because ath9k is all-open, no proprietary firmware, works out of the box. Drivers are in any kernel since the 3 series started, the bluetooth is just a generic HCI bluetooth adapter over PCI, shows up as a usb device and works with bluez no problem.
My best speeds on 5ghz with one of these has been around 20MB/s. Across my house I usually get around 8 - 10 MB/s. I think these chips are supposed to get much higher average throughput, but it works well enough I don't care. Works under Debian, Suse, Fedora, Arch, Mint, Mageia, even Slackware.
Ath10k makes me mad, since they are now shipping firmware blobs. Again. And they were doing so well.
I trust these chips so much when I'm doing IT supports and trying to advocate Linux to customers, I have been able to join every wifi network I've thrown the thing at, from ancient wireless-a routers to wireless AC ASUS routers with 2GB throughput.
Point is, different vendors have different quality. The ath drivers have been great for me, but I've only ever bought this specific chip because of the value proposition.
I suppose a major cause of the situation is that hardly anyone buys a laptop with the wifi chip as the first concern. Most laptops for sale don't clearly show the wifi chip, unless you go into the online configurator where you might be able to pay for an upgrade (yes I'm one of the weird people who considers the wifi chip, having once worked at a wifi ap vendor). I also doubt it's possible to replace the wifi chip on a macbook air or retina. So it's rare to have "cult favorite" chips of this type that enthusiasts can gravitate to, usually we just deal with whatever we end up with.
If anything, the real problem is the lack of an easy to reference directory of Linux hardware from the buyers perspective, rather than from the owners perspective. IE, "I want to buy <insert part> (or <notebook>) that supports Linux, all the parts manufacturers provide open drivers or documentation, and all the parts are compatible.
The lack of such a resource probably turns a lot of potential Linux converts off.
in theory if pcie cards are completely interchangeable, i should be able just swap them in and out. will see if it work out.
Yes it would be great if NetworkManager did the right things automatically, but the task might be impossible due to hardware and driver quirks. WiFi chips are among the buggiest chips in computers today. Really, the chip. I've seen ridiculous workaround in drivers for multiple vendors' chips. Also, the drivers are complicated and buggy. And the linux drivers don't get quite enough full-time attention from the chip vendor to work solidly. Those windows and mac wifi driver teams are pretty big.
Later kernels have (somewhat) cleaned up the wireless driver interface so these days I don't have problems with day-to-day usage of Network Manager.
Add any external sound hardware, use a optical or SPDIF port instead, add some speakers. It'll break sooner-or-later, and in my own experiences it tends to be whenever my personal computer gets away from the 'typical' desktop profile.
Pulse audio + reconnecting bluetooth speaker after it powers off = bad day
The OS is great when it works, but then those little things are always around the corner, turning weekend actions into weeks.
Also, the people who manage Linux distributions seem to absolutely love suddenly getting rid of things that work and replacing them with incomplete alternatives, without any kind of migration of user data and settings. Those alternatives should be pushed out as developer previews until they either
(1) match each and every feature of whatever they are replacing AND capable of importing all settings
(2) warn the user months ahead of time with a list of
features that are going to disappear in the replacement
(3) provide an easy, 1-click option to let the user continue using whatever they were using as their default, with continued support and updates
But it is still my main OS everywhere, I refuse to bow to proprietary overlords. Despite these downsides.
I too perform work for enterprises, getting payed to work with and in all things Linux, Java and Python.
Just because its freedom software doesnt mean there is no money to be made or make.
Maybe the local computer club or some rich guys that could pay for BBS connections exchanging stuff.
Everything from hardware, text processing, drawing, music, compilers, editors,..., was provided by proprietary overlords.
I had luck, started around 1999 when RedHat 6.2 existed, with gcc, all from a free book and CD from the public library.
What would have been preferable would be for the HTPC to advertise itself as a audio source, and the laptop to be able to list sources, and let the use select one.
"Ah why don't you open a bug", because people are not interested in making it work (like a lot of "modern" Linux stuff)
If it works manually (dhcp, wpa_supplicant, etc), I don't see what's the problem. Or better, I see: NM doesn't work.
Yeah, unfortunately you're right about WiFi chips. It's about making the bare minimum hardware and shoving everything onto the drivers.
Whereas I could never get all the mess working to get things working well without NetworkManager.
My experience is, spend hours messing with configuration shit or just let NetworkManager do all that automatically for you, which in my case, it does well.
Not that I don't use wpa_supplicant directly anyway, but when I have used NM, it seems to do the same job.
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-ssid "Your SSID"
It works ok and just wraps ifup and iwlist. It also reads and writes /etc/network/interface style config, so you can see what's going on under the hood.
But I agree. Getting it all work the first time (or when I encounter a new type of network) is just ridiculous.
ip link should also show the information of link-speed from mii-tool, ip addr should take an dhcp argument instead of requiring a separate dhcpcd. Then merge wpa_supplicant into ip, perhaps make a ip-wlink which requires some SSID/keyphrase to set it to "up" state.
So wpa_supplicant dhcpcd iwconfig/iwlist/scan-tools should be merged to net-tools and have same syntax as the rest of the net-tools package.
But yeah, even then you need to learn the layers and set them up. In my opinion Windows got it wrong, its user interface is horrible and people often complain about networking problems which are really UI problems or bugs in Windows/drivers there too.
This problem is classic - networking is a stack and thats a fact, and the best tools/UI is one which allows you to dig through that stack layer by layer. On windows its all or nothing.
So yes, I agree.
I have a good number of servers and desktops running openSUSE, and only once have I had to manually edit a configuration file (in order to work around some obscure DBus glitch on a coworker's personal desktop); everything else has been manageable with YaST alone.
I don't consider these technical issues...but usability issues. Things like insisting on keeping the install ISO at 750 mb, leaves seamless driver support out of the todo list because...hey, there are no drivers anyway.
I'm really surprised there is not a paid version of Linux with these features baked in. I would GLADLY pay for all these (as well as the royalties for mp3,flash, etc)
EDIT: does anyone know if systemd-networkd would make things better 
I don't have issues anymore with printing and networking. I understand that this stuff is per vendor so I usually do my research before buying (I have thinkpads, and my printers are all pretty friendly). I do see many windows computer fall over when printers connect to new wireless networks, though.
As for mp3, flash, isn't is as simple as enabling a non-free repository and let it do its thing? If you use Ubuntu the option to enable that is right at the installer. I've never had the issue since I switched to Linux full time (11.04)
Additionally, X selections aren't buffers - they're handles used asynchronously. So, when you paste, if the source application is dead or has mis-handled its state internally, you don't get what you expect.
These behaviors are patched over by clipboard managers which manage PRIMARY and CLIPBOARD interactions and which immediately copy the selection into a buffer to make it long-lived. However, each desktop environment's clipboard manager has gradually expanded to include all kinds of strange environment-specific metadata possibilities (to enable, i.e. "Paste Special" options from a spreadsheet).
Not that I'm a fan of the situation, Keepass2/Mono break my routine everyday.
Different programs use different conventions. For example, shift+insert does not do the same thing in say, xterm and firefox.
Chromium and some others take the clipboard with them when the app is Quit, suddenly the clipboad is cleared.
I've found this to be less of a problem in modern desktop environments (especially KDE, in my experience), since most DEs nowadays feature their own clipboard/buffer management.
Although it's not like sound is great on Windows either.
Pre-Vista I might have agreed with you but now? I think Windows has quite good audio stack.
I feel things are moving backwards.
But in 1998, Sound on Linux was almost impossible to get working correctly (that's hyperbole, but it wasn't too far off)
It's gotten better, but not by much. But considering 15 years have gone by, that's faint praise indeed.
My T410 thinkpad required some XOrg.conf setting get the backlight working. It really is strange how bad the NVIDIA drivers are with this backlight stuff.
Aren't most Linux distributions still using CUPS, the system OS X uses under the hood?
(More on topic for the actual post here, the last couple of times I've tried to install Linux on a laptop getting wifi going has been a bit finicky, but usually so has getting things like booting into a GUI. I've attributed that less to Linux than to me trying to stick it on obsolete Apple hardware, though.)
Setting up HP WiFi printers is not seamless. In know how to do it (using hp-plugin), but things could have been packaged to work seamlessly.
That said, it really depends on what printer(s) you buy. I've had wonderful experiences with HP printers, and tend to recommend them. Brother, Konica Minolta, and Epson printers work reasonably well with some tinkering and research in my experience.
Canon? Godspeed ;)
I see a lot of recommendations for Brother printers, but they seem to require quite an involved process to set up.
Don't buy Lexmark, basically.
Similarly, Fluendo have been paying the cap for MP3 decoding since 2005 on their open source decoder for Linux.
(MP3 decode should now be out of patent, as should most encode tasks but "intellectual property" likes to keep its boundary lines as vague as possible so you never know if you're trespassing and just pay out of fear/habit.)
Printing has also been pretty good for a while, so much so that Apple adopted the same solution in 2002.
Are you sure your complaints are still valid?
None of it works as seamlessly as on a Mac. I'm pretty comfortable compiling my custom kernels, so I'm more than the average Joe trying to setup networking.
There is still a reason why every Linux install asks you to explicitly select that you want mp3 codecs insralled. Flash is not installed by default.
I don't know what the legal reasons are, but I'm willing to pay my share to not having to deal with it.
Hah. 5 years ago I switched my desktop from Linux to Windows because copy-paste suddenly stopped working. Suddenly it became impossible to copy an URL link from the terminal into FF's address bar. Then I said to myself I didn't have time for this s*t. I've never looked back after switching.
Out of curiosity, what do you feel is bad about copy-pasting under linux? It's inconsistent, but it's still the best copy-paste functionality I've experienced so far on any operating system. It'd be nice if all applications understood the dual clipboard, and if terminal applications behaved a bit better, but still.. by far the best of any OS as far as I'm concerned.
I truly envy the OSX guys, their consistency
P.S. google for IBM CUA . Linux is supposed to follow it, but doesn't. Macvim is more consistent than gvim !
This is the trend in all the latest Thinkpads as well a lot of other computers (I know of Asus and Acer as well).
And, research or not, _no_ hardware really, fully supports linux (or, vice-versa). Which is sort of the point of this whole thread.
They'll ship with the distro of your choice preinstalled, and I've had wonderful experience with their support (where they suggested a kernel upgrade for me a few versions higher than what was shipping with my preferred distro.) Every model except the UltraLap comes with a mini-screwdriver and encouragement to use it. The UltraLap is their competition with 'ultrabooks' though, so it's not put together as nicely as the others - no screwdriver there:(
They just test everything, and only send you stuff that works.
As you can see from the bug tracker:
the kernel drivers are much buggier than the GPL'd Realtek drivers. But the official Realtek drivers don't work with newer kernel versions.
Fortunately there is:
Does anyone know why doesn't the kernel adopt the official drivers? Is there anything I can do to help? What steps do I need to do?
Converting them to the latest kernel driver interface is beyond my skills and pvaret's rtl8192cu-fixes. Pvaret's remarks on github indicate it's a hack to just get them running and someone with Linux networking internals experience is needed to do a proper port.
I'd be willing to test and file bug reports. Your 'fix it yourself' attitude is exactly the kind of response that gives Linux a bad name.
If you do not provide Realtek the financial incentives (ie, not buying their products) for not maintaining proper Linux drivers (in kernel ones are what I would consider proper) then nobody in the world has a financial incentive to make them work for you. If you are buying realtek products, having them not work, and not demanding a refund for the lack of functionality, then nothing changes.
It is disingenuous to blame kernel developers for not fixing a hardware vendors shitty driver when said hardware vendor is not paying them squat.
Normally I would agree with you but zanny's reply was perfectly legitimate for your above question. I don't see any attitude from his/her side.
> Connection time. I dislike OS X pretty deeply and think that many of its technical merits are way overblown, but it's got one thing going for it; it connects to an AP fast.
I remember Linux being slow (and unreliable) at this, but OSX is pretty slow too, at least on my MBP. The OS that I've always had the best experience just with connecting to APs is actually Windows.
It's fast on Apple products because they 'cheat', and re-use the last-given DHCP address.
(and the follow up, http://cafbit.com/entry/rapid_dhcp_redux)
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_Kernel_Module_Support
But none of the WiFi drivers of Android devices are. If they've found an improved way to do WiFi, it's baked into the proprietary drivers.
They don't even properly report the cell signal levels correctly half the time (.... like returning -1 always on the error correction signal level...).
For vendors, the reasons to close up their drivers would be identical whatever OS their kernel drivers would run on top.
The dongle's chipset was Linux friendly and had apparently worked without major problems up to about Ubuntu 10.10 or so. Google revealed the eruption of numerous reports of problems at that time.
Problems that apparently persisted through several releases, for a good couple of years.
The solution that people found worked was to download driver source code from the chipset manufacturer (RA) and build it, with custom settings, on one's own machine. Some also found success with banning one or more apparently concurrently competing drivers from being loaded on their system. Per some descriptions, multiple compatible drivers would wrestle for control of the device, evincing symptoms matching what I'd experienced.
I was getting ready start a custom build and/or perhaps whacking driver loads -- after installing Lubuntu to get past the fixed Live CD configuration, when I thought to try the plain Ubuntu live disk as opposed to Lubuntu. Problem gone.
Working stuff breaks. Breaks persist for months if not years. Ostensibly compatible/comparable systems aren't.
I'm not going to complain; it is what we make of it. But still, today, we don't always do such a good job of making -- or maintaining.
Separately, the Ubuntu screen image on my relative's truly mass produced, 17" Dell LCD is shifted slightly to the right -- just enough to hide the rightmost few pixels. An old 17" LCD I have plugged into an old T42, has a similar shifting. Useable, but slightly annoying, particularly with respect to today's anorexic scroll bars.
I did a little research into the problem, months ago, but did not find a ready solution. Not WiFi, but still slightly to moderately awkward.
Pressing "Auto", the image futzed around for a few seconds and then apparently aligned properly. It didn't even mess up my brightness setting.
Sigh... I'm getting old.
I guess I'll add that for a long time, this monitor was dual boot, and I wasn't too interested at regaining the pixels in Ubuntu, only to lose them or their corresponding columns on the other side, under Windows. Nowadays, no longer a concern...
As I grumped in another comment, I'm getting old. One symptom of such is increasingly "putting up" with marginal cases. Starts becoming "easier" than finding/learning yet "one more thing".
TL;DR: Don't get old...
I've also had good luck with a Dell Latitiude E5420 (i5). This and similar models have a Broadcom wifi card which is a known problem so I simply purchased an Atheros half size wifi card and popped it in. Unlike Thinkpads, the Dell bios will take hardware changes in its stride.
Of course, we should not have to do these things. Perhaps as laptop sales decrease, a crowdfunded fully free laptop will become economically viable.
It's not a guarantee, of course, but my general impression is that going with "pure Intel" (CPU, GPU, sound, WiFi) laptop helps ensure compatibility.
*It's possible that the battery life is worse than Windows; I wouldn't know, because I've never used Windows on it.
You can work with the GUIs for instance, but somehow they still feel very sluggish
* Which toolkit is used (if any). Tk-based apps seem to be very quick, since Tk is pretty spartan and basic. GTK-based apps are okay. QT apps aren't quite as OK. Pure-X apps are zippy, but they're ugly as heck.
* Which WM/DE you're using. GNOME3 and its relatives (Cinnamon, Unity?) are sluggish as heck. KDE and GNOME2/MATE are much more tolerable, with or without desktop effects. (Open|Black|Flux)box are zippy, as are cwm, Emerillon, WindowManager, and virtually all of the tiling WMs. Enlightenment is zippy sometimes, but I don't think I've ever managed to get it to run without crashing back to a login screen within 5 minutes of use.
One curious thing I've noticed is that system resources have absolutely no bearing on UI zippiness. Whether I'm on a PowerBook with 512MB of RAM or a gaming rig with some Intel Core i9-867-5309-Quakemaster-Ludicrous-Gibs-Edition-whatever and terabytes of RAM with some NVidia GeFarce GTXXX 5-million-CUDA-core 8GB SLI monstrosity of a video card with hardware-accelerated 3D grass rendering, GNOME will always act like it's running on a God-damn ENIAC.
For example, tailing /proc files and compiling new kernel drivers shouldn't be a part of getting wifi to work anymore in 2014. It should just work. Of course, if you want to tinker it's great that you _can_ tail the /proc files, but you shouldn't have to. You should be able to turn your computer on and just have wifi, out of the box.
We also have 3 Macbooks, a white one, a Pro 13 and a Retina 13. All three work flawlessly with our Wi-fi.
My wife had a corporate-issued HP laptop running Windows 7. It connected to our wireless once or twice over a year. I had a network cable for her.
My in-laws have a Windows 7 Dell laptop. It's now running Ubuntu, booted off a USB stick. It's doing so because Windows 7 sometimes connects to the network, sometimes doesn't and I never identified a pattern, so I simply gave up. Under Ubuntu, it works flawlessly.
And yet, somehow, it's the sad state of Linux wi-fi... Go figure...
The only trouble I have is with this corporate T420 with Windows 7, on my home wifi network. Sometimes it takes 5+ minutes to connect (2.4ghz or 5ghz wireless-n, I have both available and it has trouble with both.)
I've also never had a single problem with NetworkManager, despite what others are saying. Then again, I've also never had problems with the infamous PulseAudio... I bought a cheap-as-hell USB audio card off the internet the other day and it Just Worked™. That didn't even surprise me.
b) Just because Windows is worse doesn't mean Linux isn't frustrating.
c) The post complains more about performance (rate, connect time, etc) and complexity (numerous overlapping components) than "Does it work at all".
I'd say that if we were talking about a single computer, but here I have stories of 8 different computers with 8 different CPUs and 5 different wireless interfaces, radios, antennas and software all connected to a single wireless router.
If I got my numbers right, there is 81.41% chance this is not a fluke.
("Submit a bug", "Have you tried...", "What does [some command] say?", "It's the fault of the manufacturers" etc.)
For years I was using a D-Link USB dongle with a Ralink chip to connect to my home network. At first I had to use a non-mainline driver but eventually mainline caught up. Anyway, either way, it worked pretty well without much fuss.
Then I moved to an apartment building with dozens of repeaters in it for a large university network, and my connection became unbearably slow (even though my laptop running Linux and my Android phone and tablet all worked fine) despite working OK on Windows.
So I ordered another dongle by a different manufacturer with a different chipset, which had many reviews exclaiming how well it worked on Linux. It had the same problems.
Eventually I got a PCIE Intel card and it worked splendidly, with no fiddling whatsoever.
The moral of the story is that there are a huge number of different hardware and software configurations and environments to use them in. And what's more, a configuration that works without issue in one environment can fail spectacularly in another.
True, and it partly makes all these complaints valid for other OSes as well. I had major trouble with my MacBook connecting to my home wifi, until I bought a new router. No trouble anymore.
Toggling the wireless power is less reliable than soft restarting.
Making the soft restart easy involves downloading the Windows SDK, to get a copy of DevCon, and then stuffing it into a scheduled task so that you can run it without a UAC prompt.
(I mean this more as 'surprise surprise it's the drivers' than as a defense of windows)
For laptops, there are always plenty micro-sized USB adapters with known compatibility if your built-in wifi has bad or no drivers.
- wireless chips are obscure and buggy
- audio chips are obscure and buggy
That would complement the work of guys like bunnie huang (novena laptop) and would let the linux world enjoy sound hardware for (allegedly) sound software.
Maybe that's just a pipe dream and the complexity emerge whether or not it's open.
On another note, I wish that browsers and applications would keep firing spawning and firing requests at a rate beyond human perception, until one succeeds. The state of browsing the web over Wi-Fi while moving from access point to access point is equally sad. I get an IP address, but applications almost universally refuse to retry their connections until the first zombie socket times out. Seriously, I shouldn't have to wait 10 seconds after each access point change. Should be more like <0.1 second after getting an IP.
OSes/Applications should be thinking "This is Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is supposed to be fast. Since no bytes came in for a full 0.5 seconds, something is wrong. I'm going to keep opening/closing sockets like hell, change networks, change frequencies, whatever it takes to get data to come in the next 0.3 seconds and make the user happy."
Building devices with dual Wi-Fi cards may also offer ways to help alleviate the handover problem.
I do not think you would enjoy the network conditions that come with that behavior. The point about killing old sockets early when switching wifi makes a lot of sense, however.
It will probably happen eventually, at least in Linux, after a few more years of commercial pressure to make it suck less.
Note the number of ones which require some additional configuration steps, downloads, patches, or other monkeying around.
And don't even get me started on connman and wicd.
It's incredibly sad how shoddy modern wifi can be, and a testament to the importance of networking that flaky wifi can render a computer useless.
Both Windows and Linux suffer from the problem of attempting to support n different hardware configurations in a decentralized fashion, and neither has solved it very well.
And the whole reason for having a choice in hardware configuration choice is because one-size-fits-all doesn't work too well in the real world. It might be fine for all the coders in San Francisco writing iPhone apps and Rails websites, but there are many factors that come into play for other people.
Some people can't afford an expensive laptop, want better specs, want to play games, want a touchscreen, want a full keyboard, etc. There are plenty of reasons for not going with whatever Apple has decided upon from on high.
$ cat /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-local.conf
(I remember this was actually a customization option when I bought it and I stupidly didn't pick it. So you don't have to get a macbook, just read carefully when you get another thinkpad.)
Ironically, I quit OS-X because my macbook was even worse.
Are these people using some kind of exotic hardware? Am I just really lucky?
I've used Unix for over 25 years, Linux for over 17. It's my platform of choice, I very, very rarely use anything else.
And my Thinkpad T520i listing a "03:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Centrino Wireless-N 1000 [Condor Peak]" under lspci and running Debian GNU/Linux jessie/sid has _never_ had reliable WiFi, and I run it essentially 24/7 with a Cat5 cable plugged into hardwire networking.
I've tried network manager, wicd-cli, wicd-curses, and other tools. I can see networks. I cannot connect to them. Plugging a cable in solves the problem far faster than futzing with a nonintuitive, low-feedback/diagnostics interface.
So yeah, you're probably lucky.
Why I could never get network manager nor wicd to work ... I don't know.
The most robust laptop I've had on wifi was a Samsung running Fedora 20. Very fast to connect and never dropped. The pre-installed Windows 7 dropped continuously and often failed to connect.
I suspect the "issue" may be very hardware dependent.
Glad to see others in this thread reflecting a similar sentiment.
I still prefer a wired connection, where possible. Not because I like wires, but because it is more reliable and the protocol is easier to understand.
Eventually, I realized that I didn't make a right choice in buying that tiny dongle. So now I am on phase two of rebuilding old laptop with Linux, with a different brand of usb wifi (double the price of the first cheap one).
I am not a Windows fan anymore, but everything in Windows world just works out of the box. And what's with Linux on daily basis looking to install upgrade for its OS?
Another thing is that Windows has an abstraction layer called NDIS which network drivers communicate to. This abstraction is complete enough that if you have a compatibility layer for NDIS, you can usually use Windows drivers directly on Linux. The project is called ndiswrapper. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NDISwrapper Edit: to be specific, maybe it would be helpful if Linux had a similar abstraction for drivers to use?
As for the updates, that depends 100% on your distro and your own settings. If you're on Ubuntu, you can just uninstall the update-notifier, and/or edit /etc/apt/50unattended-upgrades to install updates without notifying you all the time.
On my thinkpad, with one of the known, supported wifi chipsets, wifi would work about 8-9/10 times.
But because I'm doing web dev stuff, those 1 or 2 times would basically brick the laptop for doing any kind of productive work. And that's not worth any kind of savings or effort....
afaik it's a driver problem first, before a linux wifi problem, but really I have no idea why it was working or not working.
But if anyone is out there listening, this is how much the problem is worth to me- roughly $2500...
Using just wpa_supplicant and dhclient, I've had far fewer problems, particularly with Intel wireless chipsets.
Linux would benefit from a bit of expectations management. Some of us neither want nor need a less expensive Windows, and Linux in general tends to function a whole lot better if you don't treat it as such.
The moral: Anecdotes aren't very useful.
Of course it is.
What do you think data comprises? It's just an aggregation of anecdotes.
You might want to check out https://github.com/pvaret/rtl8192cu-fixes
- Cherry-pick hardware, in this case cards
- Use very recent software stacks
I just plugged in a Huawei 4G LTE dongle. I spent some time making sure this particular card worked, and discarded many others. I'm running the most recent kernel, systemd, udev, etc. It was a plug & play experience. If I had proceeded otherwise, it'd have been a nightmare.
Why does my Intel card consistently pick 2.4 GHz over 5 GHz?
"Overall the 5GHz has shorter range compared to the 2.4GHz. It is recommended to select the 2.4 GHz if you using computers and wireless devices to access the Internet for simple browsing and email. These applications do not take too much bandwidth and work fine at a greater distance.
However, if you are in a place which is crowded with more wireless signals, it is advisable to use the 5GHz network to avoid interferences. Furthermore, the 5GHz is most suited for devices which require uninterrupted wider bandwidth for video/audio streaming or multimedia content."
I can sit literally right next to an AP and get a connection on the lowest basic rate
In any case, even the WPA2 setup is slow for some reason, it's not just DHCP.
it's not unusual at all to be stuck at some low-speed AP when a higher-speed one is available
Most of these complaints are industry issues that have different proprietary fixes intended to appease consumers, but none of them are recommended or required by the industry.
point-in-fact, this is how 802.11 works.
> And separate ESSIDs for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
I'm not sure if the author thinks this is a good idea, or a bad one.
Personally, I would prefer doing the two separate names so I can know what I'm connecting to. Being a radio guy, I see it as two separate bands, two separate physical radios. I don't see a point in trying to give them the same name.
Of course, for my home environment, I'm pretty much using just 2.4, and I give all my access points the same SSID so I can "roam" between them. I suppose someone could want to be able to roam between 2.4 and 5ghz (I tend to use 5ghz for backhaul).
That's probably a big part of the issue; my experience with Intel wireless on Linux hasn't been as great as with, say, Atheros chipsets.
Plus, NetworkManager. Good God is that terrible. To put it in perspective: on one of my laptops (a PowerBook G4 running OpenBSD), I basically run the following by hand to connect to a wireless network:
sudo ifconfig bwi0 nwid $MY_SSID
sudo ifconfig wpa
sudo ifconfig wpakey $MY_WPA_KEY
sudo dhclient bwi0
echo "STOPPING NETWORK MANAGER. . ."
/usr/sbin/service networking stop
On the ones I'm familiar with, the network manager service is called 'NetworkManager' (inc caps) so I need to do 'service NetworkManager stop'
if you look at "linux" as a community of users and developers there is lots of get stuff for free attitude and not enough people capable of and willing to work on the tasks waiting (open source drivers for mobile GPUs anyone?)
but hey, aren't we all busy on making lots of $$$ with our übercool startups these days? call it the sad state of hacker ethics or continue to improve the free software world day by day .. choice is yours