So, I bought my new Laptop on November 2015, two months after my old Lenovo Z510 was stolen. And this is a hp pavillion with i5 6200U ULV Processor. Well, I couldn’t tell how much frustrating it was to downgrade from Ravaging quadcore i7 to an i5 that has only 2 cores. However, it couldnt be helped and I gotta improvise now.
Now, this laptop came with preinstalled Windows 10 but I am pretty much a Linux guy,
you see. So I needed to get any Linux distro running on my system asap.
I chose Ubuntu over any other Linux distro (2nd fav Fedora 😀 ), cause I’m very much fond of it.
I dual booted my laptop with Win10 and Ubuntu 14.0.4 LTS. It was running on top of latest Linux kernel 3.8.11 , after successfully installing Ubuntu I noticed someting,
I found that my WiFi signal is weak.
I was completely Stunned at this cause I was just sitting next to my router and my WiFI signal is just two bars only. Not only that it was getting disconnected often due to poor signal. I thought my WiFi driver is not updated so I quickly updated them using following commands:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:hanipouspilot/rtlwifi
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install rtlwifi-new-dkms linux-firmware
But it Didn’t work . It was a frustrating experience and no solutions could be found.
I thought then this might be a hardware issue so, I booted back to Windows and there
it was all acting normally . I was clueless . I searched in Ubuntu Forums but did found no suitable solution to this problem.
I reinstalled Ubuntu with a version upgrade 15.04
But the problem remained at it was. I thought this maybe some bug in Ubuntu, So
I decided to give it a try with other distros, so one by one Solus, Fedora 23, RedHat, Mint
I installed all these but got the same WEAK wifi signal in not only Ubuntu but in every Linux Distros.
I understood that the bug is in the Linux Kernel itself. So i tried to upgrade the Kernel to latest mainline version . Even after upgrading the kernel the problem remained.
Months have passed during al these . And there was still no solution to this problem.
I subscribed to every forum concerning this problem. One day, I found something on
a forum about my wifi driver RTL8723BE . A folk named Jerry Gorland wrote some
intereseting things about this problem .
“…for my particular case (HP Stream 11-r010 Cloudbook with N3050 Celeron and HP Model No. 792204-001 30x22mm M.2 Wi-Fi card): Moving the single antenna cable from one connector to the other (as shown in the attached diagram) solved the problem. This would explain why the laptop worked only when sitting right next to the Wi-Fi router: With Linux the card is configured to use the other connector compared to Windows. Now I am two floors up from my router and connected well with Xubuntu 14.04. With Xubuntu, all the hotkeys work…”
In his case the problem seem to have solved after he moved the single antenna cable to the other connector. If you gut-open your laptop then you would probably found something like this. This is the Wireless chip (wlan) inside our laptops and as you could see in the top-left corner of the picture there are two connectors there. By default the cable is connected to port 1 . But in this case as Jerry suggested we have to change it to port 2 .
Well, Jerry’s solution was risky but it was effective. People around the world were saying this is working. But too bad for me is my Laptop is still in warranty period I couldn’t just
gut-open my laptop and operate on it. I had to think of some other solution.
So, I researched a lot and learned that this may be a problem with the Driver Configuration in modprobe . Because the configuration was set up wrongly so the modules weren’t correctly loading into the OS Kernel . I reported this to Realtek but they didn’t seem to take any notice of it. But, the good thing about Opensource community is here people help each other.
A FOSS developer named Larry Finger (aka lwfinger) decided to take things into own hands. And he created a new repository and rebuilted the drivers for rtl8192ce, rtl8192se, rtl8192de, rtl8188ee, rtl8192ee, rtl8723ae, rtl8723be, and rtl8821ae.
Now it was all good to go, downloaded the zip and then used simple make command to install it .
$ sudo make install
Now the problem should have been solved by now but somehow it remained . So, we figured it out that this still have the issue with the Antenna part . The hardware fixing part
was seemed impossible to avoid now. We did a last try using this command
$ sudo modprobe -rv rtl8723be
$ sudo modprobe -v rtl8723be ant_sel=2
It was an wild attempt to somehow manipulate the kernel to treat the 2nd antenna as active . And Guess what ?
IT WORKED .
Quite miraculuosly! Did a quick scan around the networks . And it showed all networks with expected signal strength. But the setting wasn’t permanent after a reboot it’ll change back to default .
$ sudo iw dev wlp2s0 scan
But that is easy to handle . One just need to modify the modprobe configuration under root priviledge and save it as permanent.
$ sudo echo "options rtl8723be ant_sel=2" > /etc/modprobe.d/50-rtl8723be.conf
Signal strength is Excellent now! The Problem which consisted for so long a time period has now been solved. Finally : )
Life is all good now .