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I'm running a Lenovo X61 which I carry around my college for getting on the internet at various points in the day. The network has always been finicky but recently it's gotten worse. I'll connect using iwconfig, get an IP from dhcpcd and log in using vpnc to their system. Sometimes I'll stay connected for hours but most of the time within 30 seconds my network traffic will drop to zero and I'll be unable to do anything

My computer still believes it's connected, however to try again I need to put my wireless interface down, put it back up and try again. It's gotten so bad that I've got a window on my computer pinging Yahoo or Google constantly in order to know if I'm still able to get online.

I know other people who have used Arch Linux that don't have the same problems as well as people who use Ubuntu who haven't had any problems either. It seems like my computer is a special case. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to fix it? dmesg doesn't show anything out of the ordinary going on and I don't know where else to look for errors or other things to try.

Edit: this doesn't happen on my home network. It's a problem that only happens at school.

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Try another WiFi adapter. There are plenty of USB models available. –  Joe Internet Apr 8 '10 at 20:18
You could also try another internal wifi card, used on ebay that should not cost much. shop.ebay.com/… –  Algific Apr 12 '10 at 5:46
I'll try one of these next time i get paid (I'm a poor college student) if nobody is able to offer any other ideas. I'm just getting really sick of the network connections on this computer flaking out (the ethernet cable did as well.) –  Kravlin Apr 12 '10 at 5:49
You should pointing out in your question if you have problems with the ethernet too: it could be related to your issue. –  dag729 Apr 15 '10 at 18:14
My ethernet has been down for years. The ethernet port got hit by a bug that only affected that certain card (thinkwiki.org/wiki/…;. I haven't used the ethernet port since. However, the wifi just stopped working well after spring break (about 4 weeks ago). –  Kravlin Apr 15 '10 at 18:22

5 Answers 5

This may not help, but I thought I'd let you know. My z61m thinkpad has the same problem, but only with one of my two access points at home. It just started happening out of the blue. It had been working fine with both access points for about 6 months. It has the identical problem in either windows, linux, or OpenSolaris. Both access points are made by D-Link, but they are different models. For that z61m laptop, I've simply been using the access point that still works OK. I suspect the wifi card in the laptop but I haven't proven that.

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That's what i've thought. I really don't know and it's driving me nuts. –  Kravlin Apr 8 '10 at 19:12

I would take a look to the power management: I suppose that when the pc goes idle, many softwares and devices could stop working (I noticed that behaviour on my machines running Ubuntu 9.04 and ArchLinux); I meant, try to disable all the power saving features from your OSes, and see if it happens again.

Just my 2 cents.

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Make sure you drop by your university's local help desk or equivalent (if there is one). It may not be a problem with just your laptop, and they might not know about it. Even if it is just a problem with your laptop, they might be able to give a clue (software update on their end or something) about what caused it or ideas to try to fix it. What is causing it (and what to do to fix it) depends a lot on the wireless system used and other technical details that are hard to suss out remotely.

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I have had this problem with my laptop running Fedora. I found that the default drivers (not that Arch has default wireless drivers) didn't work at all. I don't know a lot about Arch, but I would check the AUR for the newest drivers possible for your wireless chip. I upgraded/changed my wireless driver in Fedora (which used to drop every 10 mins), but now I have perfect connectivity.

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Same problem here with a Lenovo/IBM Thinkpad R50. Randomly drops off my home wifi network (but has never done it on any other network and other machines at home don't have the problem). Status LED goes out, no more wifi. I have to either reboot or disable/enable it through Windows. Flipping the hardware switch doesn't reset it. Doesn't seem to matter if it's idle or busy. The Lenovo/IBM software thinks it's still connected and a disconnect/reconnect through that software doesn't do any good.

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Yeah. i had the problem while running ubuntu as well. I'm not sure what my problem is. –  Kravlin Apr 8 '10 at 20:33
Update, problem solved. Had to disable the power saving speed throttle-back... –  Brian Knoblauch Feb 16 '12 at 20:57

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