Lubuntu 12.04 Wireless Performance

Ubuntu 12.04 did not make my old pentium III laptop any happier when it comes to wireless support (in my case the Belkin rt2571F usb 54MB key). Release 12.04 being a Long Term Support (LTS) release, I was hoping that several long standing Ubuntu wifi problems might be fixed. Since the 10.04 Lucid Lynx release, the problem of intermittent / choppy wireless connectivity has existed in Ubuntu/Lubuntu, disappointing many users including me. So how did i get the slow wireless internet to work faster on Ubuntu ?

I assume you already have a wireless connect but it’s still way too slow. If your wireless is not working AT ALL, you will need to look elsewhere to make it work before following this tip. (Try: http://linuxplained.com/how-to-fix-wireless-problems-in-ubuntu-1204-precise-pangolin/ )

My trick was to fool around with the power management feature of my usb dongle. By turning off the power management feature, my network speeds came back to an acceptable level. This implies logic to handle the rt2571f chipset for ACPI power control was not up-to-scratch.

My system values:
OS: Lubuntu 12.04
Kernel Ver.: 3.2.0-35-generic
USB Key: Belkin F5D7050
Chipset: rt2571f

// Fire up a terminal session: > Start > Accessories > LXTerminal

// to discover your card’s current interface address, something like wlanXX
sudo iwconfig
password: xxxxxx

// you should see a choice of none,one or more of these addresses: wlan0, wlan1, etc.

// pick the address showing info. like Mode:Managed, ESSID:, etc; mine was wlan0, so
sudo iwconfig wlan0 power off
password: xxxxx

// then again do:
sudo iwconfig

// Confirm “Power Management:off” under wlan0 to ensure that the power management is turned off. You may loose this setting if you reboot, depdning on your flavour of *buntu

Trick two

Remember that wireless / wifi connections use radio waves. When you have trouble listening to your favorite AM or FM radio station, you have to move your radio to gain better reception. The same holds for your wireless router. It’s really just a broadcasting radio that can listen too. If you can find some place to move it to, you might see an improvement in signal strength, thus transfer speeds. Look for a higher location, clear of any furniture, obstructions, lights too. Note that anything electrical or metalic will deflect signals too. Avoid microwave cookers like the plague and also wireless mobile phones too. I have found that the human body is also a nice signal booster, like when i hold my radio, the sound improves. You might want to try holding your router in your lap to boost signal strength. but i would council against holding the router in your mouth as your gold crowns might spark an explosion and, of course, the possibility of electrocution is a distinct possibility which could void the warranty on your router 😀

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