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Wireless more finicky in linux then windows... is there a reason for this?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I know the linux fans are going to attack me here, so I would like to preface by saying that I have used linux on a variety of systems, using a variety of distros, and I love the operating system in its various forms. One thing I have noticed time and time again is that wireless connectivity tends to just be... harder on linux then windows. Using basically the same machine, connecting to the same network, the windows machine seems to have the more stable connection and seems to be more receptive to a wirless single then the linux counterpart. I have noticed a difference when replacing windows for a linux distro on the same machine; windows seems to be a little better then linux, especially when attempting to pick up a weak signal or connect to a stressed network (open wifi on a college campus is one). I have had this experience using a several laptops and several wireless adapters. Now when the connection is strong I notice pretty much the same bandwidth speed and latency, the network behaves the same under linux as with windows or mac OSX (I have both). The linux system seems to be more sensitive overall, and I find it harder to connect to protected networks, I find it more likely to be dropped from a bad signal, and I have also experienced the occasional strange issue where the wireless simply refuses to work without a full system restart. Meanwhile other computers, running windows operating systems, seem to be working just fine. I am no so much looking for a solution to this problem as much as an explanation; am I noticing a fairly common problem here? Perhaps the wireless drivers for the products I am using have poorly coded drivers, or something about the exact networking software used in common linux distros has known issues or sensitivities, that kind of thing. Anybody have a similar experience or explanation?
post #2 of 20
The normal experience is exactly the opposite; that wireless is more finicky in Windows and Linux is stable. Perhaps you should look for a solution, or at least describe the problem in enough detail that the rest of us can attempt to find a solution.
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post #3 of 20
I'm not a linux expert at all. I've tried out a few different types, but mostly I'm a W7 guy, but what I've noticed is that Windows makes WiFi easier because it manages it itself, and doesn't allow a lot of customization. If my netbook can't connect to WiFi despite a strong signal, all I can do is Troubleshoot with Windows and that's about it. I'm SOL. That's the downside. It's closed off to itself. It does it's own thing, which makes it easier at times and difficult at other times.

I don't know much about Linux's WiFi, but I imagine there's a few more options and ways to work with it compared to Windows.

It's just that general rule of: More Customization/Ability vs Easier to deal with
In my mind, Linux is to Windows as Windows is to Mac.
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post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by error10 View Post
The normal experience is exactly the opposite; that wireless is more finicky in Windows and Linux is stable. Perhaps you should look for a solution, or at least describe the problem in enough detail that the rest of us can attempt to find a solution.
Well the problem is pretty much as described with above; using wireless on my linux computers it seems to just be more sensitive and less stable then on my windows computers. In particular with weak or bogged down connections then with strong ones. When I switched me netbook to ubuntu remix, for example, connecting to the network on my campus took longer and was sometimes more difficult. Having a similar experience with my new laptop.

Everything works just fine, this is a just a general trend I noticed over a period of time with several different computers.
post #5 of 20
Well, I guess that ends this thread.
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post #6 of 20
It would be helpful to know what wireless NIC you are using, and which chipset it uses if you know.
    
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post #7 of 20
There was an old problem with the b43 driver if I remember right,but that has been resolved now.
Wireless works great for me using Linux.
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post #8 of 20
always buy a ralink based card for Linux, they make native drivers for it.
    
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post #9 of 20
I've shared the same experience OP. I'm pretty much an end user (surface level user) of Linux and I've noticed both ends of the spectrum. I've either had the OP's experience or (on the same hardware and distro) the opposite end where I'm the only one able to connect to a network while all the win and OSX people can't. I'm going to go with the beaten and dead horse on this issue but I'd say it's nothing more than driver and distro support. Most interesting is how my netbook with supposedly Ralink wireless has no driver support through any method in ubuntu and its derivatives. However, in openSUSE, Fedora, MeeGo, and their derivatives it is supported at the start so long as it's turned on before the OS starts. Between the distros I get the typical GUI mis-match on what the strength of a signal is; IE, MeeGo shows two more bars than suse or Fedora for the same network at the same distance. MeeGo has been the most moody for connectivity as it will drop from crowded networks or refuse to connect. That said it's strangely just slightly faster than openSUSE when on a network.

So in short; I've had the same and also opposite experience of the OP. I just blame driver support.
     
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post #10 of 20
Drive support will be a big one, but recent kernel updates over the last couple of years should have sorted that.

Although I've gotta say I suffer from similar issues. My Acer Aspire One (2nd sig rig) has always suffered dodgy connectivity with wireless, where it will connect perfectly, but at some point after a random amount of time (minutes, up to an hour or so), it'll drop the connection, then refuse to work (scanning networks produces no results, instead of the 5 it normally finds). A reboot sometimes works, but not always when it requires a power cycle. I dunno, maybe it's a hardware issue, but it works perfectly when it's working; I can't think of a reason that wireless would just fail. The signal is good, which further suggests a driver/hardware issue. I don't have the expertise to troubleshoot the wireless networking system myself, so I just put up with it, hoping that one day a kernel update will arrive via the lovely chaps at Canonical, and magically fix all my wireless issues
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