wireless issues with rtl8192ce and Thinkpad X220

I rebooted the other day, which got me a new kernel (3.2.9 ((I think I was running 3.2.1 before, which got uninstalled. Fedora helpfully left 3.2.6 and 3.2.7, neither of which I think I ever booted into.))), and now it seems my wireless (rtl8192ce) has become really flaky and unstable. At first I thought it was the router playing up, but everything else in the house works fine (everything else in the house is made by Apple it seems).

Typically it fails to associate until you reboot the router (which is why I thought it might be the router) or occasionally the laptop. When it is connected performance is occasionally crappy. I’m totally out of my depth debugging this. I poked around a bit but found nothing meaningful.

Help appreciated!

Author: Danielle

Danielle is an Australian software engineer, computer scientist and feminist. She doesn't really work on GNOME any more (sadly). Opinions and writing are solely her own and so not represent her employer, the GNOME Foundation, or anyone else but herself.

13 thoughts on “wireless issues with rtl8192ce and Thinkpad X220”

  1. The RPM changelog confirms there have been a lot of changes to wireless in the last several kernel versions. I have now downgraded to 3.2.1 using the package recovered from koji. Will see how things go.

  2. That’s a staging driver, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a terrible experience. Probably not helpful of me to say, but if it were me I’d go hunting for a cheap mini-pci wifi card to replace it with.

  3. I have the same problem with a Thinkpad X120e, and there’s someone else with a different Thinkpad as well. This is the bug report where it’s being tracked in Ubuntu: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/902557
    It’s in several distros: https://bugzilla.novell.com/show_bug.cgi?id=718736

    AFAICT, it’s a problem in the upstream driver, I’ve built it from the Realtek website and have the same problems. There’s a suggestion of a package to install in the bug, but I’d bet it only applies to Ubuntu.
    I “solved” it by replacing it with an Intel wireless card, which sucks, but got tired of dealing with flaky network.

  4. I noticed the same symptoms last night with the same wireless adapter on my ThinkPad x120e using Mageia with the latest updates. I dual boot openSUSE on the same laptop and don’t have the same issue there. I haven’t had a chance to investigate further.

  5. @Chris: yeah, I am aware it’s officially flaky. Some earlier versions would hard lock my machine. But whatever I was running recently seemed to work pretty solidly, at least enough to get by.

    I believe Thinkpad BIOSes have a whitelist of acceptable wireless cards, but there is an Intel card available. It was offered as an option when I ordered the machine, but I didn’t really understand what I was getting instead. Regrets…

  6. The current wifi-on-x220-under-linux situation is just crazy. There are actually two Intel card possibilities; the “Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205”, which works flawlessly, and the “Intel Centrino Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250”, which works as long as you blacklist the wimax kernel modules, because at the moment the kernel doesn’t understand that the wifi and wimax are sharing a single antenna, so it lets them stomp all over each other. (Someone’s working on fixing that IIRC.)

    You can get ThinkPad-whitelisted MiniPCI cards off eBay for pretty cheap. Search for them by Lenovo part number: 60Y3253 for the 6205 and 60Y3195 for the 6250.

  7. @Dan Winship: yeah, looks like I can have one for about $25. I’ve heard some people need to disable 802.11n on the Intel cards for them to behave.

    Is it crappy hardware or just a crappy driver? i.e. will it get better? Downgrading to 3.2.1 has given me a bit more stability.

  8. hehe. Seems everybody have a problem with this default crap on x220. I ordered x220 with intel wireless-n, but seller for some reasons still shipped me ralink.

    After i changed card to install wireless-n i finally came back to life 🙂

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This work by Danielle Madeley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Australia.