T43 Wlan - very weak performance

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Rimrunner
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T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#1 Post by Rimrunner » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:25 am

I have problems with recently bought T43's wlan connections.

Here is how the problems have appeared:
-I have tried the wlan Internet connection few times at home. Usually it has worked though once it did not get the connection. It just stopped trying after a while when trying to establish a connection.
-At a computer event with lots of Wlan networks it could not find the proper one that was open for visitors. It simply did not appear on the list of available connections. And I think it found less wlan networks than laptops of other users.
-I tried wlan at a public library around its closing time just to check if it works. It seemed to work fine. Then later, one morning when I went there, wlan connections to open networks worked only sporadically, like just for few seconds. I managed to get some ping replies and to load some web pages but this state lasted just few seconds. In practice I could not use any network, even though I kept on trying for a long time.
-These were my only two experiences trying to use wlan connections outside my home

My T43's Wlan: Calexico2 Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG 802.11b/g

I do not remember getting any direct error messages on screen. However, here is some output from my syslog files when I tried to establish connection to various open wlan networks at a library: https://justpaste.it/1aabd
(note: time leaps at one point in the log, because I changed system time which was initially wrong for some reason. The date was right though)

"Messages" log file seems not to have anything relevant.

Operating system & Desktop environment: Slackware, XFCE

Any ideas what might be wrong?

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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:49 am

Your problem is most likely Linux.
Similar to: https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2223787
Or that wifi card (Intel 2200BG) is suffering from AARP.

Have you ever considered wifi-N? This one works like a charm: http://www.ebay.com/itm/121780385438
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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#3 Post by ajkula66 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:36 am

Welcome to the forum!
Rimrunner wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:25 am

Operating system & Desktop environment: Slackware, XFCE

Any ideas what might be wrong?
I'm not a Linux guru by any stretch of imagination but would strongly suggest moving to an Atheros-chipped card, yesterday.
RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:49 am

Have you ever considered wifi-N? This one works like a charm: http://www.ebay.com/itm/121780385438
+1 and then some. While I'm not running Slackware on any of my systems, I have yet to see a distro where this card doesn't work OOTB and with optimal performance.

Obviously, YMMV.
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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#4 Post by Rimrunner » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:25 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:49 am
Your problem is most likely Linux.
Similar to: https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2223787
That case looks a bit different to me. He does not get the connection at all.
Have you ever considered wifi-N? This one works like a charm: http://www.ebay.com/itm/121780385438
Well, I might order me one. Thanks for the advice.

I do not know much about network technology but I assumed that the problem could be that such an old hardware gets crowded out in busy environments since it does not necessarily support all the frequency ranges that have been taken into use later. So, I would like to understand this basic idea here: Does this TL-WN861N contain support for more frequencies or is it just faster or more compatible or reliable card?

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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#5 Post by ajkula66 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:50 pm

Rimrunner wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:25 pm
So, I would like to understand this basic idea here: Does this TL-WN861N contain support for more frequencies or is it just faster or more compatible or reliable card?
There's more than one "basic idea" at play here. Let's start from scratch:

1) Intel cards from this era are generally problematic even in Windows, let alone in Linux where *all* Intel cards that I've ever played with behaved a lot worse than in Windows.

2) 2200BG will give you a theoretical max of 54Mbps using the 2.4GHz "G" range. TP Link maxes out at 300Mbps using the 2.4GHz "N" range and is Atheros-chipped, where it's important to state that wireless cards based on these chipsets are far more Linux-friendly, generally speaking.

Do bear in mind that TP Link card will require flashing of the modded BIOS on your T43 before you'd be able to use it.
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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#6 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:08 pm

Well the other card that can come with T4x - 2915ABG supports 5Ghz @ 54mbps (802.11a). I find that important because some noob friends of mine don't know how to set up 2.4ghz alongside 5ghz on their routers so that I can't connect to their WiFi with 2200bg card. However, 2915abg is even more problematic. For some random reason, the Vista driver results a yellow triangle in Windows 7, while for another random reason with the same driver Windows 10 x86 works with it just fine...
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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#7 Post by Dekks » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:39 pm

Rimrunner wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:25 pm
That case looks a bit different to me. He does not get the connection at all.
Correct that thread refers to installing the firmware file, if you have at least once connected then it's a red herring.

Have you enabled powersaving via tlp or similar utility?
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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#8 Post by ajkula66 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:59 pm

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:08 pm
Well the other card that can come with T4x - 2915ABG supports 5Ghz @ 54mbps (802.11a).
There are two other cards that T43/p units shipped with:

ThinkPad b/g and ThinkPad a/b/g II. Both of these are Atheros-chipped and would likely perform better in Linux if one didn't want to apply the modded BIOS.
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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#9 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:44 pm

Oh and one more thing we all forgot. Sometimes the performance issue is actually caused by hardware. In that case try to reseat the miniPCI card and the antennae and see if anything gets better.
Patience, boys. All good things to those who wait. – Mother Gothel (Tangled)
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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#10 Post by Rimrunner » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:12 pm

Thanks for the advice so far.

Right now it seems that my Embedded Controllers is the version 1.04 while 1.06 is the highest offered for this Thinkpad model. However, my current BIOS seems to be the latest one available for T43, that is 1.29.

Should I update Embedded Controllers before trying to switch to a modified BIOS or is it enough that my current BIOS is the latest one?

This German language page seems to suggest that also the latest EC should be there, but I am not sure if that is a necessary requirement: http://thinkwiki.de/2010_Error_umgehen

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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#11 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:56 pm

With such old machines you really should update to EC 1.06, then put in ttav134's BIOS to get rid of Errors 2010 and 1802.

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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#12 Post by Rimrunner » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:31 pm

I updated the EC first, then flashed the modified BIOS (the previous BIOS was already the latest). It didn't show any of those (harmless) error messages in the end of the flashing that German page promised. I have no WLAN card yet, so there is no way to try in practice whether a new BIOS works. For some reason the BIOS release date (as shown in BIOS screen) is not the same as for downloaded ISO image at that page (Release Date: 2006/09/06) but from the previous month. But since the flash program finished, I guess it must have re-written the BIOS.

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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#13 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:44 pm

If you have some, stick in a wifi card and/or HDD from a HP or Dell or other brand, and that does NOT have any IBM/Lenovo P/N or FRU.
If they all produce no error, then the new BIOS worked.
You can also put in a 32-bit W7 HDD, it should not tell you that Windows is a pirate-copy. Another bonus (Slic2.1) from that BIOS.

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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#14 Post by Rimrunner » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:28 pm

I finally got that wlan adapter in my hands yesterday.

Today I changed the wlan adapter (phew, what a screwjob...)

And now my Thinkpad gets stuck in the beginning saying: pxe-e61 media test failure, check cable ... operating system not found.

This means that I failed to reconnect a hard drive properly, right?

While re-assembling the machine, I pushed HD in without attaching it to the connector part. This was probably a gross error. Now I wonder if I should try to get that HD out from there by using some tools (it won't come back from there anymore by inserting and removing the connector part) or should I disassemble the machine again hoping that it becomes easier to remove the HD at some course of disassembling process.

The advice is welcome.

Here is the page from a hardware manual displaying HD removal
https://www.manualslib.com/manual/29104 ... =83#manual

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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#15 Post by axur-delmeria » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:10 pm

^
Remove the palmrest, perhaps? You might be able to use a small flat screwdriver to push the hard drive out.
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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#16 Post by ajkula66 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:11 pm

Thin pliers, gentle but determined pull should get it out.

Good luck
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Re: T43 Wlan - very weak performance

#17 Post by Rimrunner » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:58 am

It turned out I had inserted the HD the wrong side upwards. It is difficult to know how it should be inserted since the label side should face downwards which is counterintuitive and the connector does not click when connected. Maybe there could be some "this side upwards" note.

Anyway, it seems that a new wlan adapter works in my home.

...But also the initial wlan card worked at my home most of times. Next week I am going to find if it works out there in a crowded environment.

Thanks for help again.

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