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I just came home to my parents' house after a year abroad, during which I installed Ubuntu 12.04 on my laptop. In that year I was using wired internet via the Ethernet port on my laptop almost exclusively, and had very few problems with my laptop. However, when I came home I started to use the wireless and the problem started.

Firstly, when I use the WiFi in Ubuntu, the connection is exceptionally weak, usually no more than two bars of signal (judging by the indicator applet) and speed is fairly minimal.
Secondly, using the WiFi for more than about an hour (I haven't actually measured it, but sometimes it's more, sometimes less) causes not only my laptop to disconnect from the network, but any other connected device to disconnect as well. The only solution is to restart the router.
Thirdly, when I do connect to the network, I get an error message telling me that there's a problem with using a .local address (I can't remember the exact wording).

Currently, I am writing this in Windows 7 (on the same laptop) with no issues whatsoever, so it is nothing to do with my laptop/wireless card. It is just a problem with Ubuntu.

This is the router we use, and these are the specifications of my laptop.

I've had a good search already, but not much seems to work.
I intend to try this next, and I will post an update when I have tried it.

I am open to just about any solution, barring buying a new router/laptop/wireless card etc.

UPDATE: This only appears to be an issue when I've used the battery at any point whilst Ubuntu is loaded.

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Hi Bill, how did you determine the battery issue ? –  OYRM Sep 11 '12 at 15:16
    
The problem is your wireless card -- it's an Acer Nplify which is probably a rebranded Atheros AR9285 or similar. Atheros isn't really interested in providing Linux drivers which work, so people try to do their best and keep improving the opne-source one. An updated driver may solve your problems. Please share the content or output of the following commands/files to better help us troubleshoot your problem (instructions in this answer): file(s): /var/log/kern.log, /var/log/syslog; commands: lspci -nn, lshw -c network –  izx Sep 11 '12 at 18:49
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted
+50

The Acer Nplify adapter you have is most probably a rebranded Atheros card. Try installing the latest drivers and see if it makes a difference:

Type/paste the following, line-by-line, in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-generic linux-headers-`uname -r`
wget -O- http://linuxwireless.org/download/compat-wireless-2.6/compat-wireless.tar.bz2 | tar -xj
cd compat-wireless-*
./scripts/driver-select atheros
make
sudo make install

Then reboot.

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Thanks, this has fixed my problem! ^_^ –  Bill O'Dwyer Sep 13 '12 at 12:06
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With Ubuntu you should use routers running open source software (DD-WRT, OpenWRT). You can find them in any junk computer shop or a friend's pile of gear he has replaced with newer stuff, or on kijiji or any classified service that has electronics.

DD-WRT and OpenWRT and their derivatives like Tomatao just have no problems, ever, with a Linux driver for Wi-Fi. You can find answers to any conceivable problem online as well, or from a knowledgeable friend who is already using DD-WRT or OpenWRT on their own router.

Even if you can't replace your existing router or modem combination for some reason, just put another router running the open source software on an Ethernet wire connected to your existing router. Put that extension router on another floor, ideally where you have poor Wi-Fi connectivity. Put it on "ad hoc" mode with an IP number high enough (say 200) not to interfere with your existing router's operations. Tell it to hand out IP numbers in some high range (say .201+) that will not interfere with your main router. Then make all your secure and high reliability connections through that DD-WRT router. If you got one with a USB port, great, you now have a secure network drive too.

Make sure also to set your Tx (transceiver) power to the maximum. On old Cisco/Linksys WRT54G and WRT54G2 for instance the default (which you can't change with stock software) is 71 mw, but the radio is actually capable of 251mw (which DD-WRT lets you set). Voila triple router power. That resolves quite a few wireless problems as well.

Seriously, are you using an operating system from the company that made your desktop or laptop? No? Then why are you using an operating system from the company that made your router? Hardware companies can't do software, they can't hire the best software people. Get your router software from people who do that, only that, all the time.

And tell your ISP to start shipping and supporting open source software on devices, not the garbage from the vendors they presently use.

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