1

I'm running Linux Mint with the i3 window manager and the i3statu bar. I had been noticing the the W: (wifi) status line of i3status would sometimes report "down" for a few seconds even though sending continuous pings throughout the down/up interval would show no loss of connectivity.

I found out that i3status uses iwconfig to get signal strength and ip to display in the status bar. During those times when W: is reported as "down," this is iwconfig's output. (I am running iwconfig version 30.)

wlan0 IEEE 802.11abgn ESSID:off/any
Mode:Managed Access Point: Not-Associated Tx-Power=22 dBm
Retry short limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off Power Management:off

At all other times, iwconfig's output shows this:

wlan0 IEEE 802.11abgn ESSID:"Zoinks5"
Mode:Managed Frequency:5.765 GHz Access Point: 2C:30:33:43:73:64
Bit Rate=6 Mb/s Tx-Power=22 dBm
Retry short limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off Power Management:off Link Quality=63/70 Signal level=-47 dBm
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0 Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

As I mentioned, I don't seem experience actual loss of connectivity, but I am very curious why iwconfig seems to lose the association. Or is that that NetworkManager is reconnecting? Or is it something else entirely?

Quick Edit to say that I don't seem to see this same behavior on my 2.4ghz network. Same AP. This only seems to happen on my 5ghz network. Also, the 5ghz signal strength is lower, but around 83% consistently which doesn't seem that bad.

Edit: I'm in the US. My wireless router is a Netgear R6400. Connecting over 'n' spec. There is one wall between myself and the wireless router. Distance to router is less than 10 feet.

  • Please add What is your distance to the AP, any walls in between, brand of AP, brand of wifi, your country – Rui F Ribeiro Mar 13 '16 at 0:09
  • Done. Thanks. Let me know if you need more information. – tcv Mar 13 '16 at 0:20
1

I am also using 5Ghz at work and home. At home my AP is very similar to yours, a model exactly equivalent of yours, but from TPLink (with OpenWRT).

The thing is, 5Ghz does not lend itself to cross walls, and in overall the range is shorter than 2.4Ghz. At 22dB / 6Mbps it is notorious it is not already the best of the conditions.

I even could not get 5Ghz going in the same room (my living room), at a distance similar to yours (2.5-3 meters), with 17dB, While I did not change the country code to PT to be able to increase the potency to 20dB. Per FCC rules, in the USA you have it capped to a lower potency (I do not live in the USA). Some people change the country code to HK, but you will be breaking regulations.

With the increased potency, I maintain an SSID for 2.4GHz and another for 5GHz. When I am in the same room as the AP, I force the 5GHz SSID; when I am in the other room, which is a distance 3/4 bigger than yours (around 5-6 meters), I have to force the 2.4GHz, because otherwise, I will connected to the 5GHz, but the connection will be too unstable. The situation manifests itself both with my Macbook Pro, my iPhone 6 and my wife´s iPhone 5s.

You can try changing the country and increasing to the maximum potency, at least for testing. Otherwise, you will have to have another 5GHz router in that room, change the AP, get some external dongle with an antena gain to your equipment, or use 2.4GHz.

I would guess you pinging the interface "down" is either because of a frontier value, or you are getting it in the middle of a negotiation (or several more probably).

To have a better idea of what is happening search /var/log for logs; You might have them. wpa_supplicant also supports debug mode but unfortunately it is a compile time option. have a look at the AP logs too. Be aware that is it is indeed a lack of potency, the logs won't be much hopeful.

  • Thanks. The only thing that has me a bit perplexed is, even though W: shows "down," I don't seem to be losing connection. Running a continuous ping, I can watch W: go "down" and come back up and I do not drop any pings throughout that period. That would seem to indicate no loss of connectivity, no? – tcv Mar 13 '16 at 0:47
  • 1
    added it to the answer. wifi can be quite tricky, and added I am having the problem with several devices. – Rui F Ribeiro Mar 13 '16 at 0:50
  • Ok. So your assessment is that I am losing connectivity. My ping resolution so to speak is not high enough. – tcv Mar 13 '16 at 1:45
  • 1
    Exactly. To have a better idea of whats happening search /var/log for logs; You might have them. wpa_supplicant also supports debug mode but unfortunately it is a compile time option. have a look at the ap logs too. The logs might not help – Rui F Ribeiro Mar 13 '16 at 2:06
  • 1
    It could not even be the ping resolution. It might be that between negotiations the channels does not close completely and/or pings have a small buffer. – Rui F Ribeiro Mar 13 '16 at 18:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.