Klystron Kernel Update

My Linux laptop named ‘Klystron‘ is still fully subscribed to the “Kanotix” repositories. As the reader may recall, Kanotix is a slightly customized version of Debian Linux, that is KDE-based, and that is maintained by a group of developer-experts who I trust implicitly.

Being subscribed to their specific repositories and configuration details has as one advantage, that periodic kernel updates are fed to me, via package manager.

As I came home from camping yesterday, on July 7, I also rebooted this laptop, and saw that indeed, a kernel update was being offered, which I immediately installed. So that laptop now has kernel version ‘4.4.0-30-generic‘, or so my /boot directory would seem to say.

One problem that I was experiencing with that laptop since before camping, was some subtle WiFi issue which I could no longer pinpoint. I had written, that its ability to use the hardware encryption offered by the (kernel module ‘RTL8723BE’) chip-set seemed to work fine. But there were some other problems with the WiFi.

I would like to be able to report, when and if that issue has been resolved completely. But since Klystron has only been running on kernel version 4.4.0-30-generic for one day, it is still far too soon to call out a victory. I will continue to observe the behavior of that laptop for the next little while, and give further comment on it later. So far its behavior looks good.



Firmware Update Today

One subject which I have written about at length, is the apparent instability of the Realtek WiFi chipset, on my laptop named ‘Klystron’. If anything is likely to improve that, it would be a firmware update.

Well just today, a firmware update was installed, to ‘linux-firmware’ version 1.158, and this was also followed by a reboot.

After the reboot, I tried to test whether my 802.11n WiFi performance had improved. One main test which I did, was to transfer a 500MB file to the local laptop, from a Samba server on another computer on my LAN. And what I found, was some improvement in peak speed, to 2.0 Megabytes per second, corresponding to 16 mbps.

Before I could obtain that speed however, I first needed to restart the Samba server, which had been running on the originating computer since April 17. And this detail helps show, how speed limitations in transferring, may be due to numerous problems, other than the actual link quality of the WiFi client.



My Linux Laptop ‘Klystron’ And 802.11n Again

The Linux laptop I name ‘Klystron’ has been running in a single session, for 1 day and 7 hours so far, and with its lid in the open position, and remained connected to my WiFi in 802.11n mode.

Further, the last time there has been any real issue with this mode, occurred several days ago, and several reboots ago. On the rare occasion where the connection simply quit while in use, there were error messages in my ‘syslog’, that vaguely pointed towards an 802.11n problem, according to my having Google-d those error messages.

But the behavior was introduced more recently, that simply closing the laptop lid would cause it to lose contact with my WiFi, without the actual connection being reported as ‘down’ by ‘Network Manager’, and without resulting in any error messages. This situation would typically reverse itself, within seconds of my unlocking an active session, and would also reverse itself, without resulting in any Notifications. The laptop would simply never know, that overnight, there was no data received and transmitted over WiFi.

Similar but not identical results were obtained, while connected in 802.11g mode.

Given that nobody has ever asked me the question, of whether maybe my WiFi signal could already be weak where this laptop is situated, I would say that it remains unproven, that this setup has any 802.11n issues per se. And so, because I know how frustrating it can be to do so, I would also not encourage coders to start looking for errors very carefully, which might not even exist in the software, or in the firmware.

You see I still have this peculiar notion, that there can be something impeding the efficiency of the actual WiFi antenna, which could account for most of the instability I have reported. And I also have this peculiar notion, that the performance of an antenna is based on wave dynamics, and not on the dynamics of Quantum-Mechanical particle representations, of radio signals.