[clug] Raspberry Pi WLAN issues

Owen rcook at pcug.org.au
Tue May 27 15:27:08 MDT 2014

> We have an RPi that is giving one of the IT teachers some grief, and I
> took
> a quick look at it today. He's trying to get it connecting via wifi
> using a
> USB wifi dongle, and it seems to be… somewhat flaky. Using the wifi
> config util (GUI), sometimes nearby networks are discovered and
> displayed,
> sometimes not. When attempting to connect to the desired WLAN (802.1x,
> all
> settings correct), it will appear to connect, then drop. Occasionally,
> the
> wifi config util seems to lose the WLAN0 interface altogether, and
> only a
> reboot restores (wlan0 down/up doesn't fix).
> I'm thinking flaky adapter, and am arranging to swap out the adapter,
> but
> it's possible/probable I'm missing something obvious. The RPi is
> running
> Raspbian.
> Does this sound like a flaky adapter to y'all, or is there a known
> flakiness in support for USB wifi adapters in Raspbian that's unknown
> to
> me? (I don't know what chipset the dongle is running, but can find
> out.) Is
> it likely an issue with the RPi not having correct datetime set? (I
> didn't
> check this today but will tomorrow.) If a time problem, how do people
> usually manage this without access to an NTP server until after
> connecting…?
> Any other troubleshooting suggestions much appreciated.

I have an RPi and wifi dongle. RPi takes about 600mA, wifi dongle 70 mA

The GUI front end is woeful(1). In my view, contributes to the

I can connect once but not a second time. Even after rebooting,
however some magic and resetting the config gets it going again. A
CLI connections seemed to have similar problems.

Basically it was "all too hard" especially as I had an ethernet
connection available.


1. I really prefer not to run a window manager with the RPi. It just
chews up too much cpu time and wonder if the wifi dongle suffers as a

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