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Since I installed Ubuntu 12.04 (fresh, not upgrade), my wifi is much weaker than before and much weaker than under Windows XP. There is a noticeable difference in required sensitivity: It doesn't establish a connection unless I carry the notebook directly to the hotspot (so that the indicator shows 3 or 4 bars). However afterwards the connection breaks only when I move farther away (1-2 bars). (Side note: I remember my 9.04 had stronger wifi than XP.)

My wireless interface is wlan0 and with sudo lspci -nn I found that my network controller is:

Network controller [0280]: Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 3945ABG [Golan] Network Connection [8086:4222] (rev 02)

Should I report it as a bug?

Is there a configuration how I can improve it?

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The operating system you use has nothing to do with your Wi-fi card's signal strength. – Mitch May 26 '12 at 10:03
The operating systems I use(d) have different drivers to control the (same) wireless hardware. I am sure that the signal strength of the hotspot was not changed. – Freddi Schiller May 26 '12 at 10:40
I tried sudo iwconfig wlan0 power off but I get Error for wireless request "Set Power Management" (8B2C): SET failed on device wlan0 ; Operation not supported. Is anyone able to give a really helpful idea? – Freddi Schiller May 28 '12 at 16:39
This question appears to be abandoned and unanswered. If you solved it, please post an answer explaining how it was solved (answering your own questions is not merely permitted, but encouraged when there is no other answer that does the job). If the question no longer applies you may voluntarily delete/close it. – Eric Carvalho May 31 '13 at 20:05
Unfortunately this is still an issue in Ubuntu 13.04. – Freddi Schiller Jul 24 '13 at 18:53

Do not trust the bars... 5 full bars might be lots of noise and just 2 bars might be without noise. More about this here (is about Windows but same physics apply for Ubuntu). There is a better method: more /proc/net/wireless shows quality of the link, signal strength and noise level.


rinzwind@discworld:~$ more /proc/net/wireless 
Inter-| sta-|   Quality        |   Discarded packets               | Missed | WE
 face | tus | link level noise |  nwid  crypt   frag  retry   misc | beacon | 22
 wlan0: 0000   57.  -53.  -256        0      0      0     34   1185        0

For each device, the following information is given:

  • Status : Its current state. This is a device dependent information.
  • Quality - link : general quality of the reception.
  • Quality - level : signal strength at the receiver.
  • Quality - noise : silence level (no packet) at the receiver.
  • Discarded - nwid : number of discarded packets due to invalid network id.
  • Discarded - crypt : number of packet unable to decrypt.
  • Discarded - misc : unused (for now).

A high value of Discarded - nwid packet might indicate a nwid configuration problem or an adjacent network. The Quality - level might help him to track shadow areas. The basic difference between Quality - link and Quality - level is that the first indicate how good the reception is (for example the percentage of correctly received packets) and the second how strong the signal is. The Quality - level is some directly measurable data that is likely to have the same signification across devices.

Command iwspy (exampe sudo iwspy wlan0) can show command line results on your wireless but only if it supports promiscuous mode otherwise it will show "Interface doesn't support wireless statistic collection"

Now more related to the problem at hand ...

  1. This states:

    • Use a program or iwlist to scan for other wireless networks and, if possible, set the frequency/channel of your router to be at least two channel numbers away from any neighboring networks
    • sens - sensitivity is very subjective and requires you to fiddle with it a lot
    • rts - setting this to auto helps
    • txpower - check your NIC to see what it's capable of, I've had good luck setting linksys/cisco NICs to 84mW
  2. Also interesting: Wireless Internet Connection so slow after upgrade to 11.10

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Thank you! I will try it and post back next time I use wifi. – Freddi Schiller Jul 24 '13 at 19:51

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