• Wifi connectivity issues (rtl8821ae)


    I have an ASUS X550VX laptop, on which I recently installed Antergos. Previously, I had Kubuntu dual booted with Windows 10 (W10 is still on PC, I replaced Kubuntu with Antergos).

    I use a Realtek rtl8821ae wireless card, at least lspci -k gives

    “Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8821AE 802.11ac PCIe Wireless Network Adapter”

    I experience issues with my wifi at home.

    The symptoms are:

    • At one point, usually once every 2-10 mins, I lose internet connection, while the system tray indicator still says I am connected, then the signal strength drops to near zero, I get disconnected, then in a few seconds it reconnects.

    • Sometimes it won’t be able to reconnect at all, and I need to reboot the OS (probably removing and then reloading the kernel module also does that).

    Further comments:

    • This is most likely an issue with my driver. I had no prior issues with the router, and wifi worked fine on Kubuntu.

    • I use Gnome 3 with the standard config as installed by cnchi. I connect to wifi via the system tray plugin on Gnome (which by the way sucks and gets unresponsive even when trying to totally turn off the wifi).

    • Direct ethernet connection works. At least that’s what I thought, but just as I wrote this, it also disconnected and I had to reinsert the cable.

    Attempted solutions: I created a file /etc/modprobe.d/rtl8821ae.conf where I added

    “options rtl8821ae ips=0 swlps=0 fwlps=0”

    but this did not fix the issue.

    I realize this is a fairly widespread issue, at least internet searches gave me many results, but the above solution was the only one I found that I could safely apply. I have found some other stuff but were for different network cards or different distros.

    I would appreciate any help, as I really like Antergos and would like to make it my long-term OS, but if wifi is gonna misbehave like this I’ll probably have to switch to another distro.

    Edit:
    Many search results gave me threads in which people apparantly solved the issue by undergoing a kernel update. Neofetch says I use 4.11.5-1-ARCH, and since Antergos is a rolling release distro and pacman -Syu does nothing, I assume my system is fully up to date.

  • Your kenel is the latest and greatest. Have you tried using the LTS kernel?

    I battled a Realtek wi-fi card for far too long in my Lenovo TP using various Ubuntus, Fedora, and Antergos. Nothing i did worked reliably. You symptoms are similar to what I experienced. I had brief kernel bliss with 4.9, but then it started acting up at some point in 4.10 and newer. There were even inconsistencies between the Ubuntus on the same kernel - wifi only worked with Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 and not in any of the other flavors. I gave up and replaced the Realtek with an Intel card. This is probably your easiest solution.

    If i’m not mistaken, there’s one guy, Larry Finger, that maintains the Realtek drivers for Linux, and he uses openSUSE. If replacing your wifi card isn’t an option, then you might want to give openSUSE a spin.

  • @triode13 Actually, I don’t want to close the question yet because I cannot be absolutely sure (haven’t had enough time to see if this really fixed it), I think I fixed the issue.

    I did what this blog post recommended, and it seems to have worked.

    In short: There is this git repo: https://github.com/lwfinger/rtlwifi_new, based on the address I think maintained by the same guy who you mentioned in your answer.

    I did

    $ git clone https://github.com/lwfinger/rtlwifi-new.git ~/src/rtlwifi-new
    $ cd ~/src/rtlwifi-new
    $ make
    $ sudo make install
    $ modprobe rtl8821ae

    Then reboot. Not a single disconnect since then. The guy also said he had further issues, I did not encounter them. With that said, I’ll wait a few days till I declare this issue solved, but seems very promising so far.

    Note to anyone wishing to use this:

    Like the blog’s author says, the git repo apparantly has “linux-headers” as a dependency, so one might need to do

    $ sudo pacman -S linux-headers

    but I already had this installed.

  • I consider the issue fixed, as I have not encountered any disconnects after hours of constant usage.

  • Glad to hear!

  • Sorry for the noob question, what happens when you manually compile & install a driver (rtl8821ae in this case) and later receive a kernel upgrade via package manager? Do you have to manually uninstall the driver, or what else?

  • @eleius I am a linux newb, so I don’t actually know. However I suspect nothing will happen and the kernel will keep using the driver. If that fails, I guess one can reload the kernel module. If the kernel upgrade would break the driver, then I assume Mr. Finger will update his repo.

    Now, I don’t particularily understand git, but afaik it allows for dynamic updates, but because I had to make install, I’m not sure. With that said, in this case, probably redownloading the updated archive and then make installing would work fine.

    Waiting for a more experienced user to confirm or deny.

  • There was a kernel upgrade today, and yup, it’s doing it again. I simply reloaded the module and I’ll see how it goes. The git repo was updated 2 months ago, so unless the reloading fixes it again, I’ll be fucked till Mr. Finger decides to update the repo.

  • I have redownloaded the git repo (probably pointless) and recompiled the driver. I did

    $ sudo modprobe -r rtl8821ae && sudo modprobe rtl8821ae ips=0 fwlps=0 swlps=1 disable_watchdog=1 int_clear=0

    I have no idea what this does, but the situation seems marginally better. With that said, I am running a pinging session of a website in a terminal and periodically I see the ping time jump up to 8-9000 ms, though the network manager doesn’t seem to disconnect me anymore.

    I guess I could roll back the kernel update and wait a bit with updating, but I am disappoint.

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