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I use a wireless connection to access the Internet, and lately (since upgrading to ubuntu 9.10 karmic koala) it has started to be a pain in the ***. Every once in a while (loosing count at the end of the day) the connection will simply drop and the network manager no longer detects ANY nearby wireless network (usually, I detect something like 6 different networks). Actually, sometimes it will see the networks, but it will be impossible to reconnect anyhow. Rebooting the system solves the problem... Wired connection never fails. Even when my wireless connection fails, I can still get a working wired connection.

Do any of you have an idea as to what could be causing the problem? Or what I can do to solve it?

updates:


I had a look in various log files to see if anything strikes me, but of course I don't understand most of what's happening in there... (sorry, this section is rather long)

Here's what I noticed:

in /var/log/syslog: The log file is full of occurences of these lines (where only the time and date changes). The times indicated seem to concur with difficulty in loading a webpage (it takes a lot of time, temporary loss of connection).

Dec 13 14:37:44 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): supplicant connection state:  completed -> disconnected
Dec 13 14:37:44 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): supplicant connection state:  disconnected -> scanning
Dec 13 14:37:45 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): supplicant connection state:  scanning -> associating
Dec 13 14:37:45 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): supplicant connection state:  associating -> associated
Dec 13 14:37:45 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): supplicant connection state:  associated -> completed

At other places in the log file, I see the following, which concurs with my observing choppy mouse movement and the NetworkManager icon changing to "searching".

Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): device state change: 8 -> 3 (reason 11)
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): deactivating device (reason: 11).
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): canceled DHCP transaction, dhcp client pid 2196
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <WARN>  check_one_route(): (wlan0) error -34 returned from rtnl_route_del(): Sucess#012
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Activation (wlan0) starting connection 'Auto dlink'
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): device state change: 3 -> 4 (reason 0)
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Activation (wlan0) Stage 1 of 5 (Device Prepare) scheduled...
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Activation (wlan0) Stage 1 of 5 (Device Prepare) started...
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Activation (wlan0) Stage 2 of 5 (Device Configure) scheduled...
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Activation (wlan0) Stage 1 of 5 (Device Prepare) complete.
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Activation (wlan0) Stage 2 of 5 (Device Configure) starting...
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): device state change: 4 -> 5 (reason 0)
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Activation (wlan0/wireless): connection 'Auto dlink' requires no security.  No secrets needed.
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Config: added 'ssid' value 'dlink'
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Config: added 'scan_ssid' value '1'
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Config: added 'key_mgmt' value 'NONE'
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Activation (wlan0) Stage 2 of 5 (Device Configure) complete.
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): supplicant connection state:  scanning -> disconnected
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Config: set interface ap_scan to 1
Dec 13 14:46:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): supplicant connection state:  disconnected -> scanning
Dec 13 14:47:05 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  wlan0: link timed out.
Dec 13 14:47:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Activation (wlan0/wireless): association took too long, failing activation.
Dec 13 14:47:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): device state change: 5 -> 9 (reason 11)
Dec 13 14:47:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Activation (wlan0) failed for access point (dlink)
Dec 13 14:47:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Marking connection 'Auto dlink' invalid.
Dec 13 14:47:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  Activation (wlan0) failed.
Dec 13 14:47:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): device state change: 9 -> 3 (reason 0)
Dec 13 14:47:50 shawn-laptop NetworkManager: <info>  (wlan0): deactivating device (reason: 0).

The other thing in there that seemed related is a whole lot (really, a lot) of lines concerning ath9k

...
Dec 16 18:30:35 shawn-laptop kernel: [ 925.430675] ath9k: Failed to wakeup in 10000us
Dec 16 18:30:35 shawn-laptop kernel: [ 925.430680] ath9k: Unable to reset channel (2437 Mhz) reset status -5
Dec 16 18:30:35 shawn-laptop kernel: [ 925.430690] ath9k: Unable to set channel
Dec 16 18:30:40 shawn-laptop kernel: [ 930.262355] ath9k: Failed to wakeup in 10000us
...

stuff like that

In another log file: /var/log/messages I can see these lines, the times of which concur with audio and mouse lag and network failure.

Dec 14 19:36:24 shawn-laptop kernel: [18022.982270] ACPI Exception: AE_TIME, Returned by Handler for [EmbeddedControl] 20090521 evregion-424
Dec 14 19:36:24 shawn-laptop kernel: [18022.982271] ACPI Error (psparse-0537): Method parse/execution failed [\_SB_.AMW0.WMCA] (Node ffff880133e26720), AE_TIME
Dec 14 19:36:26 shawn-laptop kernel: [18025.120059] ACPI Exception: AE_TIME, Returned by Handler for [EmbeddedControl] 20090521 evregion-424
Dec 14 19:36:26 shawn-laptop kernel: [18025.120085] ACPI Error (psparse-0537): Method parse/execution failed [\_SB_.PCI0.LPC0.EC0_.GBST] (Node ffff880133e327e0), AE_TIME
Dec 14 19:36:26 shawn-laptop kernel: [18025.120139] ACPI Error (psparse-0537): Method parse/execution failed [\_SB_.PCI0.LPC0.EC0_.BAT0._BST] (Node ffff880133e32920), AE_TIME
Dec 14 19:36:26 shawn-laptop kernel: [18025.120261] ACPI Exception: AE_TIME, Evaluating _BST 20090521 battery-385
Dec 14 19:36:28 shawn-laptop pulseaudio[1737]: ratelimit.c: 10 events suppressed


Other symptoms which seem to be related

  • When I loose wireless connection, the whole system seems to slow down: Music starts to skip, mouse movement starts to be choppy. This state of slowness seems to persist until I reboot. It is particularily bad while the network manager is trying to reconnect (it always fails, but it still tries once in a while.. valiant at heart)

  • The signal strength for my network seems to vary a lot sometimes.

  • I recently installed lm-sensor and sersors-applet to monitor CPU temperatures and the such, in an attempt to see it there was a correlation between high temperature and connection failure. This allowed me to have four new icons displaying temperatures up there next to the battery and NetworkManager icons. Here are the names of each icon: temp1, temp2, CPU, CPU. And their average temperature (as far as I can tell): 60 C, 55 C, 55 C, 60 C, resp. I have no clue what temp1 and temp2 are. Anyways, I have been getting the following message regularily: An error occurred while trying to update the value of the sensor CPU located at /proc/acpi/thermal_zone/TZSO/temperature. Sometimes it says sensor CPU, sometimes it says sensor temp1...


My system:

Acer aspire 5536-5519,
AMD Athlon 64 X 2 processor QL 64 (2.1 GHz),
ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics Up to 1919 MB HyperMemory,
15.6" HD LED LCD,
4 GB Memory,
320 GB HDD,
DVD Super Multi DL drive,
Ubuntu 9.10 karmic koala 64 bit version
--is there anything more you need to know?--

Thanks very much in advance.

share|improve this question
1  
check the system logs. Is there any obvious errors ? –  Andrew Keith Dec 12 '09 at 22:35
    
Good idea, thanks. I edited the relevant parts in the original post because I don't know what to deduce from what I see in there.. –  Shawn Dec 13 '09 at 20:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Have you tried to install WiCD instead of NetworkManager? Even if on Karmic NtMan is better than before, i'll suggest you to try WiCD that is considered a good alternative.

share|improve this answer
    
What do you know. Since I installed WICD, none of my problems have reoccurred. I still find them strange, but at least they have stopped bothering me :) –  Shawn Dec 18 '09 at 2:56
    
Well all my Buntu's Pc have WiCD instead of network manager i find it more user friendly and less buggy. However you can also install a wireless monitor to inspect your wireless status is called wavemon, you can install it from the repository. –  Акула Dec 18 '09 at 7:04
    
hmm, it stopped working again and nothing seems to solve it. I'll install wavemon and see what I can find. –  Shawn Dec 28 '09 at 22:37

I suspect some memory corruption and/or cpu/gpu/mb heat problem. Try

  • running a memtest from a live distro
  • checking temperatures and sensors

also, try checking for power fluctuations. Get a surge protector, or (better) a UPS. If possible, test the connection with another computer (say, a laptop) perhaps not connected to power source to make sure it's nothing connection-related.

share|improve this answer
    
Ok, so I installed lm-sensors and sensors-applet and now I have four icons up there near the battery and network icons.. They all indicate what seems to be pretty stable tempatures: temp1 58 C, temp2 51 C, CPU 51 C, CPU 59 C. I don't know what temp1 and temp2 are... And the upper limit for both CPU's is 60 C so it seems I'm pretty near the upper limit most of the time (even though I'm only using them to something like < 10% capacity... Anyways, do these readings tell you anything, cause I don't know what to think. And I didn't yet find a way to monitor fan speeds.. still looking –  Shawn Dec 15 '09 at 18:37
    
I recently got errors as a network disconnection was happening saying that: An error occured while trying to update the value of the sensor CPU located at /proc/acpi/thermal_zone/TZSO/temperature.. The other error was the same thing but concerning sensor temp1.. What the hell does this mean? –  Shawn Dec 15 '09 at 23:42
    
if network disconnection and CPU errors are happening at the same time, they might very well be related. At this point, since it's not temperature, it might be a cache corruption problem (happened only once) or you have, in fact, a defective CPU (seen happening, again, once). If you're still under warranty try to get cpu/mobo back. Sorry can't do much from here.. –  lorenzog Dec 16 '09 at 8:21
    
Damn it, I was hoping not having to send out my laptop, it is my work tool after all... Is there some way I could verify that the CPU or motherboard is indeed the problem? Also, the system came with Windows Vista, which I removed in order to put Ubuntu... I hope this doesn't void the warranty (A lot of companies are very linux-racist, I even had D-link deny me any phone-support when I told them I had linux, so I just called back and lied) –  Shawn Dec 16 '09 at 20:28
    
Well if you're sending it back you should wipe your hard drive clean anyway. Just backup, wipe, install windows, ship back. There are tools (I recall cpuburn) that do tests on cpu/cache and report there. Still if it's such an error you'd have to send it anyway. –  lorenzog Dec 17 '09 at 8:50

On top of lorenzog's excellent suggestions, check if there are any devices nearby which may interfere with the signal. The common culprit is a cordless phone. I had a fun time troubleshooting this when I was beginning wireless, then I realized my connection would only drop when someone called the house. You can expect the relief when I finally put the 2 together.

share|improve this answer
    
Yes I've heard of this type of problem, but I can't correlate the failures with any external event.. Maybe someone else's phone in the appartement building could be causing the problem? How can I check this without disturbing all the neighbors? –  Shawn Dec 13 '09 at 22:25
    
Do you know what kind of message I would get in /var/log/syslog when such a failure arises? There's simply too much stuff in there that I don't understand.. –  Shawn Dec 15 '09 at 18:06
    
Probably a 'device state change'. What does /var/log/messages say? –  John T Dec 15 '09 at 18:32
    
Oh I have a lot of those 'device state change's everywhere.. I added to my original post a list of messages that concurs with audio lag and network failure, please check it out? –  Shawn Dec 15 '09 at 18:43
    
Those errors from /var/log/messages ( _SB_.PCI0.LPC0.EC0_.BAT0._BST ) seem to be related to the gnome power manager. The pulseaudio one isn't very descriptive however. –  John T Dec 15 '09 at 18:53

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