NetworkManager 0.9.0 very flaky with wireless network

Issues Related to Networking (Wired and Wireless)

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Fitzcarraldo
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NetworkManager 0.9.0 very flaky with wireless network

Post by Fitzcarraldo » Fri Sep 30, 2011 15:56

This is just a 'heads up' really, as I haven't seen anyone else complaining about it thus far.

I decided to dust off my old Gateway Solo 9300 laptop and do an equo update && equo upgrade && equo conf update, as it is several months since I upgraded SL E17 on it. SL E17 had been working perfectly, including networking, but I wanted to bring the installation up to current as I hadn't used Entropy for months.

NetworkManager and nm-applet were both upgraded to version 0.9.0 (which are masked in Portage). I also noticed that the DHCP client for NetworkManager had changed from dhclient to dhcpcd:

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[email protected] ~ $ eix -I networkmanager
[D] net-misc/networkmanager
     Available versions:  0.8-r1 (~)0.8.4.0-r2 [M](~)0.9.0 {avahi bluetooth connection-sharing dhclient (+)dhcpcd doc gnutls +introspection kernel_linux (+)nss +ppp resolvconf wimax}
     Installed versions:  0.9.0[?](10:09:55 11/09/11)(avahi connection-sharing dhcpcd introspection kernel_linux nss ppp resolvconf wimax -bluetooth -dhclient -doc -gnutls)
     Homepage:            http://www.gnome.org/projects/NetworkManager/
     Description:         Network configuration and management in an easy way. Desktop environment independent.

[email protected] ~ $ eix nm-applet
[D] gnome-extra/nm-applet
     Available versions:  0.8 (~)0.8.4 [M](~)0.9.0 {bluetooth debug}
     Installed versions:  0.9.0(10:32:33 09/09/11)(bluetooth)
     Homepage:            http://projects.gnome.org/NetworkManager/
     Description:         GNOME applet for NetworkManager
Anyway, although the new versions had no trouble connecting to my wired Ethernet home network, the WiFi connection was very flaky, and more often than not it was not possible to get a connection. Once it was connected it stayed connected to the network, but getting it to connect was the Devil's own job. Looking at /var/log/messages I could see messages such as the following:

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Sep 30 01:34:21 gateway9300 NetworkManager[6125]: get_secret_flags: assertion `is_secret_prop (setting, secret_name, error)' failed
and:

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Sep 30 01:34:32 gateway9300 dhcpcd[11224]: wlan0: broadcasting for a lease
Sep 30 01:34:52 gateway9300 dhcpcd[11224]: timed out
Sep 30 01:34:52 gateway9300 NetworkManager[6125]: <info> (wlan0): DHCPv4 client pid 11224 exited with status 1
Sep 30 01:34:52 gateway9300 NetworkManager[6125]: <info> Activation (wlan0) Stage 4 of 5 (IP4 Configure Timeout) scheduled...
I'm not sure, but I think the dhcpcd timeout is a symptom, not the root cause of the problem, which I think is the failure to get the secrets.

Anyway, I used Portage to downgrade to NetworkManager 0.8.4.0-r2 and nm-applet 0.8.4 (the highest versions in Portage that are not masked) and the laptop connects straight away with the same wireless network. Also, NwetworkManager is back using dhclient rather than dhcpcd:

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$ eix -I networkmanager
[I] net-misc/networkmanager
     Available versions:  0.8-r1 (~)0.8.4.0-r2 [M](~)0.9.0 {avahi bluetooth connection-sharing dhclient (+)dhcpcd doc gnutls +introspection kernel_linux (+)nss +ppp resolvconf wimax}
     Installed versions:  0.8.4.0-r2(14:51:56 30/09/11)(avahi connection-sharing dhclient gnutls kernel_linux nss ppp resolvconf -bluetooth -dhcpcd -doc)
     Homepage:            http://www.gnome.org/projects/NetworkManager/
     Description:         Network configuration and management in an easy way. Desktop environment independent.


$ eix -I nm-applet
[I] gnome-extra/nm-applet
     Available versions:  0.8 (~)0.8.4 [M](~)0.9.0 {bluetooth debug}
     Installed versions:  0.8.4(15:23:42 30/09/11)(bluetooth)
     Homepage:            http://projects.gnome.org/NetworkManager/
     Description:         GNOME applet for NetworkManager
So, beware of NetworkManager 0.9.0! (and/or possibly dhcpcd, but my jury is out on that one).

By the way, I'm cutting a long story short here, because I did a lot of investigating that I won't bother you with. But I will mention that I did configure a longer dhcpcd timeout, but I don't think it made much, if any difference.

(Question to the SL developers: Why the change from USE="dhclient -dhcpcd" to USE="-dhclient dhcpcd"? Was that intentional, as I'd be interested to know the reason given that dhclient works very well with NetworkManager for me.)

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Re: NetworkManager 0.9.0 very flaky with wireless network

Post by sqlpython » Sat Oct 01, 2011 17:16

Knetworkmanager and it's Wifi have been problematic for me for years.. especially if I am on the road.
Primarily I use Debian, Sabayon or Slack as the mood strikes me. My brother has the same set up on his Laptop.

Many times over various versions we have found wifi connections difficult/stubborn when traveling.. We can see them but KnetworkManager can't grab an IP address.. However boot into an OS with WiCD networkmanager and BAM your connected.
Finally, we also installed WiCD in Debian and that solved the problem..just works more reliably.
Criticism accepted for Solutions that work. ;^)
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raman
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Re: NetworkManager 0.9.0 very flaky with wireless network

Post by raman » Sat Oct 01, 2011 19:32

WiCD is more stable. For me knetworkmanager is working correctly, but sometimes have some problems. I must use knetworkmanager, because I use GSM connection and WiCD not allow for this type of conection for now.
But for normal WiFi connection, WiCD is better.

And this is another example, how the simple program like knetworkmanager, that should be working goooood, because is integrated with KDE, is working like a shit. Globally networkmanager is not working properly in KDE, Gnome, whathever....

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Re: NetworkManager 0.9.0 very flaky with wireless network

Post by Fitzcarraldo » Sat Oct 01, 2011 19:50

The problem I mentioned here is with NetworkManager, not its KDE front-end KNetworkManager. In fact, I found this particular problem when using SL GNOME 3 with NetworkManager 0.9.0 and nm-applet 0.9.0. No KNetworkManager in sight.

Funnily enough, my experience with NetworkManager (which I've used with KDE, GNOME, E17, Xfce and Fluxbox) with front-ends nm-applet (which I've used with GNOME, Xfce, Fluxbox and E17) and KNetworkManager (which I've used with KDE) has generally been good, with only a couple of hiccups over the years, whereas Wicd has either not worked properly or not worked at all on the three machines I've tried it with to date (Acer TravelMate 8215WLMi laptop, Gateway Solo 9300 laptop and ASRock ION 330HT nettop). My latest unsuccessful bout with Wicd was with the SL 5.4 E17 spin (SL 5.4 E17 Spin x86: WiFi (Wicd) problem [Solved]) on which NetworkManager and nm-applet worked fine.

What I did have trouble with in the earlier days of KDE 4 was kde-misc/plasma-widget-network-manager (see the ebuild in the Sabayon overlay) which was poor in comparison to KNetworkManager, which works well for me.

I think people's experience with these networking applications must be very dependent on their precise hardware and the specific version of the application and the other OS components. See, e.g. Wireless will not work [Solved].

raman
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Re: NetworkManager 0.9.0 very flaky with wireless network

Post by raman » Sat Oct 01, 2011 20:23

Fitz - true words.

+1 :)

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Re: NetworkManager 0.9.0 very flaky with wireless network

Post by sqlpython » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:41

I think people's experience with these networking applications must be very dependent on their precise hardware and the specific version of the application
I guess that about sums up the issue
Criticism accepted for Solutions that work. ;^)
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