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Old 11-20-2012, 02:16 PM   #1
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Period bouts of terrible wireless performance

Hi all,

First, I apologize for posting one of the most common topics ever, but I am unable to resolve this myself, even with good friends like Google and

Set up:

Dell Precision M6400
Cent OS 6.3
Broadcom chip


09:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5761e Gigabit Ethernet PCIe (rev 10)
0c:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g LP-PHY (rev 01)
I think this is the interesting part of dmesg:

cnic: Broadcom NetXtreme II CNIC Driver cnic v2.5.10 (March 21, 2012)
bnx2fc: Broadcom NetXtreme II FCoE Driver bnx2fc v1.0.11 (Apr 24, 2012)
802.1Q VLAN Support v1.8 Ben Greear <>
All bugs added by David S. Miller <>
b43 ssb0:0: firmware: requesting b43/ucode15.fw
b43 ssb0:0: firmware: requesting b43/lp0initvals15.fw
b43 ssb0:0: firmware: requesting b43/lp0bsinitvals15.fw
b43-phy0: Loading firmware version 410.2160 (2007-05-26 15:32:10)
b43-phy0 debug: b2062: Using crystal tab entry 19200 kHz.
b43-phy0 debug: Chip initialized
b43-phy0 debug: 64-bit DMA initialized
b43-phy0 debug: QoS disabled
b43-phy0 debug: Wireless interface started
b43-phy0 debug: Adding Interface type 2
Description of the problem and what I've done:

I installed the proprietary wireless drivers because I had no wireless access at all to some routers. That seemed to have solved the immediate problem, however, now on all wireless connections I get a serious degradation periodically. We're talking pings of over 5000 ms to my wireless router. Others connected during that time are in the 10-30ms range, so I don't think it's wifi interference anywhere.

I know this OS isn't meant for a desktop/laptop so my question is - am I on a wild goose chase and this is the best wireless gets on CentOS? Or do I have the wrong driver installed? Or am I missing something obvious?
Old 11-24-2012, 11:53 AM   #2
Registered: Dec 2006
Distribution: Mepis and Fedora, also Mandrake and SuSE PC-BSD Mint Solaris 11 express
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I see no reason why CentOS can't run wireless, but another similar distro might be better. CentOS is more dedicated to servers. It usually likes getting stuff through Ethernet. There are powerline Ethernet adapters like these which will let you go wired instead of wireless.

Although you haven't asked, typically when running a printer CentOS will prefer a networked printer which understands RAW files as opposed to one that plugs in with a USB. YMMV.

Go to Amazon and search for Ethernet over power.

Of course, you can also share an Ethernet connection from a second computer but that's doing it the hard way.

Have you considered Fedora or Fuduntu?

In any event, the first step is to rule out hardware issues. Make some bootable DVDs or live USBs with a distro other then CentOS. See if they can use the wireless and if so, how well?

If stability is a concern with Fedora, use the second most recent stable version not the newest one. You will still have to add all the codecs. Use Google to find the Wiki article on livna. The link sometimes changes.

There is also another good networking utility called Wicd which works on many different Linux distros including Fedora. The RPM file for that may run on CentOS as well.
Old 11-25-2012, 10:19 AM   #3
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In any event, the first step is to rule out hardware issues. Make some bootable DVDs or live USBs with a distro other then CentOS. See if they can use the wireless and if so, how well?
That is excellent advice.

Intermittent problems, in my experience, are often hardware problems and they can be subtle. We upgraded our router some time ago and everything seemed fine, except one laptop running Windows 7 had intermittent wireless problems, which it never had had with the old router. That laptop was the only client at the time using 802.11N, everything previously had been G. Frustrating for my wife using the laptop, frustrating for me, trying to track down the problem.

Tried running live DVD on it - no problems detected - but how long do you use it to detect an intermittent problem? So we assumed a Win 7 problem, tried every Win 7 forum wireless hint/suggestion/registry fix etc... no joy.

Finally, I replaced the router with a different one. Why? I don't know; I think it was mainly because I was thinking of customizing the router firmware (for a different project) and preferred the Linksys model over the D-Link we had before because of compatibility with dd-wrt.

Interestingly, the laptop problem went away.
Old 11-25-2012, 12:53 PM   #4
Registered: Dec 2006
Distribution: Mepis and Fedora, also Mandrake and SuSE PC-BSD Mint Solaris 11 express
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Hardware issues

Usually you can see what's up with hardware in one or two hours using a live media. One should also test all peripherals such as sound, printers, external monitors etc as well.

Linksys is a solid brandname for routers. Either 802.11g or 802.11n will suit most home or small business users perfectly. Signal strength is of key importance. At the slightest hint of a weak signal, install a repeater or better antennas on the router.
Old 11-26-2012, 12:09 PM   #5
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Hi all,

Thanks for the replies - some great advice. I only put what I thought was necessary into the first post, but I'll add some more background info.

I'm fairly sure it's not a hardware issue - on this same computer I have had Mint, Ubuntu, Crunchbang and a few other distros installed, and only CentOS has this issue. I have also connected to some of the same routers (a couple of Cisco/Linksys and of course a WRT).

I think I'm going to go through the instructions on the wireless thread again for replacing the Broadcom driver and I'll report the results back in case anyone has this same issue.



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