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Full Version: [LIVE] Lost Wifi, how to get it back?
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Hi -

First post looking for help. Am learning Linux by trial and error, so this might be a simple noob issue.

For the past 6 months I've had a great experience with the XBMC install on a Revo 1600 I purchased second-hand. (I thought it was XBMCLive, but other contributors suggest otherwise).

I purchase an el-cheapo Tenda N USB dongle that worked right out of the box. Torrents and web browsing were better than fine, but the one thing I've been noodling is how to improve wifi streaming speed so I can view Hulu or YouTube. Very laggy and lots of buffering. My hardware setup works great with rendering video files from the local drive, so I thought it might be either signal strength or perhaps drivers not quite matched to my N dongle.

So I thought to find a Ubuntu version of NetStumbler so I could at least see a before / after on throughput and signal strength. Can't recall if I installed SWScanner from the Software Center or if it was already installed. But I ran it, came across a couple of hiccups and now it seems Network Manager isn't running on start up even though it appears in the Startup Applications Preferences list. The command is [nm applet --sm-disable] Its "signal bars" icon is no longer visible in the tray, nor are webpages viewable. The network is accessible by other computers in the house.

In using SWScanner, I can see some info getting populated in the lower right, including a 5-green-bar icon with Signal at -256 and Noise at -254, but much seems generic. When I click the icon to start scanning, I get an "[SIOCSIWMODE] 1: Operation not permitted" error, followed by an "Interface doesn't support scanning" error and an "[SIOCSIFFLAGS] 13: Permission denied" message.

Are these symptoms related? Any suggestions to get the wifi to start up regularly again?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions.

Another thought crossed my mind ... Can anyone pass along the instructions to make sure I have any generic wireless drivers still being used? I want to make sure I didn't mess that up along the way.


Are you really running xbmcLive? Where did the network manager come from in the first place?

I could be wrong but I do not think there is any help to get since you do not remember what you did and it is not related to xbmc.

I think the most painless solution is to boot a ubuntu desktop liveCD. If networks is then working, re-install. The reinstall will then require you to remember where the network manager came from. Perhaps you did not install xbmcLive but ubtuntu desktop?

Thanks for your thoughts.

I purchased the unit second-hand and you may be right that it's not using XBMCLive, even though it was positioned as such.

When I boot the machine the first splash screen I see is "XBMC Media Center" on a black background. Then it loads a desktop. One of the icons is XBMC, so when I double-click that, the media player launches. Splash screen is "XBMC Media Center."

Network Manager came installed when I hooked it up when it arrived.

While at the desktop, I click System | About Ubuntu, which then indicates "You are using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS - Lucid Lynx."

Thanks for your help on this.

It may be worth editing the subject line of your post. You are on an ubuntu distribution with xbmc installed. Live is a little different.

Your question could be as complicated as why does my car idle rough to something quite simple. I say this because wifi performance can be effected by your environment. Is your usb dongle wifi g, wifi n, dual band, single band? Now lets look at crossover frequencies. If you have bluetooth and a single band n dongle they may be interfering with each other. If you use a smart phone pull it out and download a wifi scanner. See if any of your neighbors have the same channel in use that you are using. Again interference. Are you downloading anything while you are streaming over wifi? USB is only so fast. A PCI or PCIE adapter would be better. It was recently determined that usb 2.0 is not enough to play back a bluray so...

Anyways the only time I ever had a decent streaming set up over wifi was on two levels. 720p only and I had to implement a WDS network. WDS stands for wireless distribution system. Apple products and DD-WRT firmware can help with that. Honestly with how big files are getting explore running a wire. Even powerline ethernet adapters are getting 25Mb/s these days at 100 bucks or so a connection its not a bad alternative. Unless you really like troubleshooting rf a cable is worth it as you "clean house" on a lot of possibilities.
Thanks for your perspective and recommendations, quotaholic!

Sounds like I should investigate the powerline ethernet when I'm able to get the basics back. That way I would more likely get an acceptable throughput for streaming.

But I'd still like to get back the wifi connection I used to have. I'm not sure I'd have much problem with interference issues since I am able to stream at that location with my XP laptop.

Let me adjust the title of my post, though, so others will be able to better help.