Sluggish wireless under Mepis

Q I installed Mepis 8 on my ThinkPad T60 and wireless is extremely slow. The ThinkPad has an Atheros AR5212 802.11abg wireless card using the ath_pci driver. Mepis 7 and Mepis 8 use the same home partition, and I can't understand why Mepis 7 loads pages in under two seconds while Mepis 8 takes more than a minute to load the same pages using the same laptop with the same wireless card and graphics card. Other distros take under two seconds to load the same pages. I disabled IPv6 on Mepis 8 and it's still very slow, while IPv6 is not disabled on Mepis 7 and it is still very fast. I installed Mepis 8 on my tower, which uses wired Ethernet, and everything works just as quickly as Mepis 7.

A First, check the output from dmesg and the system and network log files for error or warning messages by running these commands as root.

dmesg | grep ath
grep ath /var/log/messages
cat /var/log/mepis-network

If you find an error, plug it into your favourite search engine or ask about it on the Linux Format forums. It may be that the madwifi driver supplied with Mepis 8 is not working well with your card, which would account for the wired connection on your other computer being fine. However, you do not have to use madwifi with Mepis 8. This has a recent enough kernel to include the ath5k driver, which is a native, in-kernel driver for Atheros wireless cards. By default, this driver is blacklisted in Mepis 8 so that madwifi is used as standard.

To reverse this situation, edit the file /etc/modprobe.d/madwifi, as root, to comment out the line blacklisting ath5k (by adding a # at the start of the line) and uncomment all the lines blacklisting ath and wlan modules. The resulting file should look like this

#blacklist ath5k
## madwifi (non-free)
blacklist ath_hal
blacklist ath_pci
blacklist ath_rate_amrr
blacklist ath_rate_onoe
blacklist ath_rate_sample
blacklist wlan
blacklist wlan_acl
blacklist wlan_ccmp
blacklist wlan_scan_ap
blacklist wlan_scan_sta
blacklist wlan_tkip
blacklist wlan_wep
blacklist wlan_xauth

Save the file, reboot and you'll be using the newer ath5k driver instead of madwifi.

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