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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Hardware » Networking
Improving the stability of connections using rtl8187
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valpy

Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 67
Location: Looking at the tapestry

PostPosted: Sat 15 Nov 2008, 10:09    Post subject:  Improving the stability of connections using rtl8187
Subject description: puppy 4.1, 4.1.1 - force lower rate
 

I hope this post will help anyone who has a rtl8187 card and is still having problems with the wireless connection dropping or running slowly in Puppy 4.1 or 4.1.1.

In the “Improved Network Wizard (and rc.network)” thread I reported success with the rtl8187 driver (Netgear WG111v2 USB) if the card profile .conf file in /etc/network-wizard/wireless/profiles is changed manually so that WPA_DRV line reads WPA_DRV=”wext”

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=31522&start=465

In my enthusiasm at having got the card working I said:
Quote:
...... but it's rock solid and the network connection is established every time I reboot

..... unfortunately I was wrong about the “rock solid” bit.

It soon became clear that the network connection was a lot slower than it had been in older Puppy versions with this card using ndiswrapper, and there were occasions where the connection ground completely to a halt and had to be restarted.

At first I suspected that it was something to do with WPA and wpa_supplicant. However, I got the same behaviour using WEP (and also with an open network), so it was obviously something deeper.

Googling the problem showed that many people have been having problems like this with rtl8187 drivers, across a number of distros for kernel versions from 2.6.22 onwards, including 2.6.27.

Here's an example bug report from Ubuntu -

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/182473

It seems that the rtl8187 driver and the wireless parts of the kernel don't “play nicely together”.
– people have raised bug reports raised against the rtl8187 driver and also against the kernel
http://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=9143

It's probably one of those things that fall between the cracks – not a problem in the driver, nor in the kernel, but in how they interact - so maybe it'll take a while before the root cause is identified and fixed.

There appears to be a problem with the rate control of the rtl8187 driver

http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/linux/kernel/860544

– a workaround suggested on Ubuntu forums forces the card to operate at a lower, fixed rate

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=975744&highlight=rtl8187

I therefore tried the following:

open an rxvt console and issue the following command at the # prompt
Code:

iwconfig wlan0 rate 5.5M fixed


and then restart the network from the network wizard (load the profile, use the profile, use DHCP to get an IP address.

The network was much more stable and responsive, and does not seem to drop out. (I'm reluctant to say “rock solid” after my previous post, but it does appear to be much more reliable now).

I was able to make this permanent by adding an extra line containing the command

Code:
iwconfig wlan0 rate 5.5M fixed


to the end of the file /etc/rc.d/rc.local – so that it is run as part of each startup.

In my case, networking has been initialised by the time the commands in rc.local are executed , so it has the desired effect – on slower hardware you might need to put a sleep command before it, to force a brief wait to permit networking to start up properly first
e.g. to force a wait of 10 seconds
Code:

sleep 10
iwconfig wlan0 rate 5.5M fixed



For comparison, here are the results of a ping test against my router before forcing the lower rate for wlan0 -
Quote:

PING 192.168.0.1 (192.168.0.1): 56 data bytes

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=0 ttl=255 time=79.570 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=1 ttl=255 time=29.287 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=2 ttl=255 time=22.487 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=3 ttl=255 time=25.882 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=4 ttl=255 time=30.021 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=5 ttl=255 time=30.549 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=6 ttl=255 time=23.994 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=7 ttl=255 time=33.954 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=8 ttl=255 time=51.624 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=9 ttl=255 time=34.139 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=10 ttl=255 time=34.536 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=11 ttl=255 time=37.052 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=12 ttl=255 time=35.182 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=13 ttl=255 time=23.591 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=14 ttl=255 time=42.113 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=15 ttl=255 time=42.516 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=16 ttl=255 time=39.407 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=17 ttl=255 time=41.677 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=18 ttl=255 time=29.555 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=19 ttl=255 time=38.733 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=20 ttl=255 time=23.886 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=21 ttl=255 time=31.238 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=22 ttl=255 time=23.655 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=23 ttl=255 time=38.536 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=24 ttl=255 time=16.298 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=25 ttl=255 time=18.120 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=26 ttl=255 time=30.637 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=27 ttl=255 time=38.648 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=28 ttl=255 time=16.797 ms



--- 192.168.0.1 ping statistics ---

29 packets transmitted, 29 packets received, 0% packet loss


........ very slow ping speeds compared to afterwards:

Quote:

PING 192.168.0.1 (192.168.0.1): 56 data bytes

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=0 ttl=255 time=2.536 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=1 ttl=255 time=2.328 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=2 ttl=255 time=2.469 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=3 ttl=255 time=2.494 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=4 ttl=255 time=2.015 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=5 ttl=255 time=2.533 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=6 ttl=255 time=2.307 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=7 ttl=255 time=2.080 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=8 ttl=255 time=2.099 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=9 ttl=255 time=2.001 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=10 ttl=255 time=2.517 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=11 ttl=255 time=2.044 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=12 ttl=255 time=2.191 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=13 ttl=255 time=2.338 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=14 ttl=255 time=2.365 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=15 ttl=255 time=2.255 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=16 ttl=255 time=2.527 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=17 ttl=255 time=2.176 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=18 ttl=255 time=2.079 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=19 ttl=255 time=2.220 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=20 ttl=255 time=2.033 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=21 ttl=255 time=2.389 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=22 ttl=255 time=2.455 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=23 ttl=255 time=1.931 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=24 ttl=255 time=1.953 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=25 ttl=255 time=1.976 ms

64 bytes from 192.168.0.1: seq=26 ttl=255 time=2.371 ms



--- 192.168.0.1 ping statistics ---

27 packets transmitted, 27 packets received, 0% packet loss

round-trip min/avg/max = 1.931/2.247/2.536 ms


Hope this helps somebody
valpy
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01micko


Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 7841
Location: qld

PostPosted: Sun 16 Nov 2008, 00:29    Post subject:  

Good to see you found a satisfactory solution. Myself I've had no problems with rtl8187. I too have a netgear wg111v2 hooked up to my son's desktop running 4.1.1. It could be the driver not playing well with the motherboard or something. I use wep on my network, don't think that is relevant though.
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01micko


Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 7841
Location: qld

PostPosted: Mon 29 Dec 2008, 09:13    Post subject:  

Valpy

It seems that the further from the router the Netgear WG111v2 usb adapter is, the more unstable it becomes. Up to 10m away all is good but now I've moved that machine 25m away your fix has become necessary.
As you say it works fine for a short period of time but then dies. I applied your formula and like magic it is all good again, and I've been on for an hour. I'll leave it on overnight and see what happens.

Thanks.

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NobleVehm

Joined: 01 Jan 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu 01 Jan 2009, 21:49    Post subject: wpa using rtl8187 wg111.v2
Subject description: fixed
 

If I manually change the WPA config file for my card in the /etc/network-wizard/wireless/profiles directory (something like 00:55:BC:94:E0:A0.WPA.conf) so that the WPA_DRV="ipw" line becomes WPA_DRV="wext", then it works.

I am new to Linux, almost gave up on puppy till I found this fix. It works great now, thanks for the time to the effort of improving personal computing. Very Happy
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