Okay, final straw with this problem I’ve had recur several times now with suddenly losing wireless and no longer being able to even scan. I’ve mentioned this problem a couple times before. It starts in Linux and persists even when I reboot into Windows. It hasn’t ever happened to me in Windows alone — not before I installed Linux and not while running Windows. It only happens in Linux (specifically in Fedora).
There must be something dreadfully wrong with the ath5k driver in Linux or in any patches Fedora may apply to it or in NetworkManager. I didn’t look to see if there’s something in dmesg that might be helpful, but I did notice that iwconfig showed throttling at different transfer rates even when I manually set it down to 11MB. Then I’d look again a few minutes later and one time it’s at 1MB and the next it’s at 54MB.
I was running nm-applet and suddenly got a notice that I’d lost my network. Then it tried to reconnect. I was able to scan briefly while it tried to reconnect the first time, but it picked up only my SSID (there are at least six visible now in Windows) and showed a weak (12/100) signal strength (“EXCELLENT” in Windows). Then I got into this circular hell with the Gnome keyring dialog and then another one with my WPA settings. Meanwhile, scanning showed no visible networks anymore. The problem once again persisted when rebooting into Windows. I logged in, the wifi LED blinked a time or two, and then I got the icon in my system tray showing that I didn’t have wireless; it was unable to scan again, too.
This tells me that whatever the fuck is happening, it can’t be very good for my wifi card because a software-only issue should resolve when the system is rebooted. So it seems to be affecting the hardware. Is the card overheating? I don’t know. I mentioned before that the area above the card gets pretty hot when running Linux (I recall similar heat under other distros I’ve run). All I know is that I’m able to get things up and running again after resuming from suspend.
Between this craziness and the card readers issue, it’s getting easier to decide to upgrade to Windows 7 in a few months. I was hoping to be able to find an alternative, but right now I see too many problems to consider Linux a viable solution for me — especially if it turns out the problem is or could be deleterious to my hardware. Maybe this can be fixed somehow between now and October 22nd. Maybe not.
In the interim, my Linux-related posts may be less frequent than they’ve been the past few weeks because I honestly have no idea if or when I’m going to bother booting back into Fedora.
EDIT/UPDATE – 6 July 2009 – 22:05 US/Central: I read through some of the bug reports and need to doa little more homework to see if the Fedora kernel has the appropriate patches. If not, more work for me to do and I may go ahead and install Fedora 11 — or something else — with a newer kernel with the rewritten module and see if that works. If anyone reading this uses the ath driver in any of the BSDs, please leave comment about any issues with it (with or without the patch mentioned on the netbsd wiki’s Aspire One page).