Categotry Archives: wireless


Stabilizing an atheros ar9485 (ath9k) connection in Linux (Wheezy)


If you search the internet, one of the issues that seems to come up a lot, are connectivity issues with the atheros AR 9485 card.

I am configuring a new laptop, an HP Pavilion G6-2323DX for my Mom. I ran into many issues that caused me to have to do hokey pokey.

This is pure hokey pokey. But it does work.

The operating system I am using is Debian/Wheezy V 7 RC 1 (64 Bit)

If you do a uname -a I get back:

Linux AnnLin 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.2.41-2 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Let’s just step by step check things.

1. let’s see if Linux see’s the card:

lspci | grep Wireless

You will get back a line like:

02:00.0 Network controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)

That means Linux sees it, but of course it is NOT configured.

2. Let’s see if the driver (ath9k) is loaded. We will use modprobe.

modprobe ath9k

if the device driver is loaded, it will just return a prompt. That’s a “good thing” as Martha would say.

3. Let’s look to make sure the wpa-supplicant programme is installed. The WPA supplicant provides wireless protected access (encryption) for our connection.

dpkg -l | grep supplicant

and you should get back:

ii wpasupplicant 1.0-3+b2
amd64 client support for WPA and WPA2 (IEEE 802.11i)

We’re good!

4. Now let’s modify /etc/network/interfaces

cd /etc/network # go to network interfaces
sudo cp interfaces # make a backup copy
sudo nano interfaces

You will get back something like this:

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

#define the network interface for the wireless lan card
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-ssid MyHome
wpa-psk MyPass

wpa-ssid is the name of the wireless network you are trying to connect to. wpa-psk is the password for that network. Yup plain text!

The iface line defines wlan0 so it has access to the internet, and gets it’s ip address dynamically (dhcp).

The card interface is STILL not up!

5. Bring up the interface!

sudo ifdown wlan0; sudo ifup wlan0;

you will get output that looks like:

ifdown: interface wlan0 not configured
Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client 4.2.2
Copyright 2004-2011 Internet Systems Consortium.
All rights reserved.
For info, please visit
Listening on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on Socket/fallback
DHCPDISCOVER on wlan0 to port 67 interval 8
DHCPREQUEST on wlan0 to port 67
bound to — renewal in 37985 seconds.


Install wicd (Wireless Interface Connection Daemon)

sudo apt-get install wicd

once that is installed, REMOVE the gnome network mangler!

sudo apt-get purge network-manager-gnome


Reboot the machine. After re-booting bring up the interface.

sudo ifdown wlan0; sudo ifup wlan0;

It should look like this:



now go back to /etc/network/interfaces and remove (or comment out with a # in front the wpa-ssid, and wpa-pskid for the wlan card. so just: iface wlan0 inet dhcp and whatever else was there — just not the wpa information.

cd /etc/network # go to network interfaces
sudo nano interfaces

9. Restart the network:

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

you will get back something like this:

[….] Running /etc/init.d/networking restart is deprecated because it may not[warnnable some interfaces … (warning).
[….] Reconfiguring network interfaces…Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client 4.2.2
Copyright 2004-2011 Internet Systems Consortium.
All rights reserved.
For info, please visit

Listening on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on Socket/fallback
DHCPRELEASE on wlan0 to port 67

this basically makes sure we don’t have any errors in /etc/network/interfaces


Reboot once again, and this time the interface should come up automatically. Screensaver engagement should not knock the connection offline.

And that’s what it’s all about!

I have to thank 3 people for all their help. Joe, Loni and Frances.



LG Optimus V: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.


This is the first Android based phone I had ever used. I am hoping that the rest of the products on the market, are NOT like the LG Optimus V.

The Good

The Wi-fi worked fairly well for me, and I was able to complete calls using Skype.

The Bad

Two issues for me.

1. The keyboard is absolutely impossible to use. I spent 45 minutes just trying to enter my gmail userid and password. It requires too much tactile precision to be of any practical use. When I finally got beyond getting the gmail setup (required if you want to download anything for the market place) — I downloaded Thick Buttons app. It helped, but only marginally. Swype. Okay if they have to put this on a phone, it is too difficult to use, m’kay?

2. The second issues was the speaker phone. Admittedly I am deaf and wear hearing aids. But I need to hear the phone without the hearing aids. Even standing just 2 feet away, I could barely hear it ringing. Yes volume to the max physically, and within the phone settings. My Samsung Restore (which is what I went back to) has plenty of speaker power, and I am able to hear that without issue.

The Ugly:

There is no way to adjust font size in the browser. You are stuck with it, like it or not. Even installing Handcent did NOT help. (Useless application)

When I tried to check my usage using this phone, all I got was a generic https error message. Oh yeah, that tells me a lot! NOT!

Best Buy was selling these phones for $150, so I went to Target to get one for $130 instead. Target has a 90 day return policy. I returned the phone to Target, less then 24 hours after purchase, with my receipt.

45 minutes later, and 3 trips between Customer Service and Electronics, they FINALLY took the phone back.

I like the Android interface, but I would be reluctant to try the next Android phone up from this, since it is about $300. I am happy with my Samsung Restore, and that’s where I will stay.


Debian DVD with missing device drivers and non-free software installed


Let’s face it. Debian != Ubuntu. It can be difficult to configure. But this DVD may help!

Debian DVD

BOTH 32 and 64 BIT SYSTEMS on the DVD (under $5)

The main advantages to this DVD over this free ones you can at the Debian Site are:

1. Comes with the non-free software already on the dvd.

2. Comes with drivers you’d have to hunt up, like the atheros wireless driver.

Order it here

Thanks Joe!



Getting Wireless connect to work for Acer Aspire (or any Atheros AR9xxx chipset) on Ubuntu



My Acer Aspire D250 Notebook has this wireless lan card:

lspci # get the wireless lan info

01:00.0 Network controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR928X Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) (rev 01)

and the ath9k module is flakey

1. So let’s first get the Linux Version we’re running:

uname -a # get linux kernel version number

Linux Nelson 2.6.31-16-generic #53-Ubuntu SMP Tue Dec 8 04:02:15 UTC 2009 i686 GNU/Linux

2. so I installed the following:

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-(KernelVersionGoesHere)

ex: sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-2.6.31-16-generic

(you must do this (install backports) with any kernel upgrade.)

3. reboot!

No more flakiness!

Didn’t work? No problem:

sudo apt-get purge linux-backports-modules-(KernelVersionGoesHere)

ex: sudo apt-get purge linux-backports-modules-2.6.31-16-generic