Ticket #1794 (new enhancement)

Opened 11 years ago

Last modified 11 years ago

Make Wifi "just work"

Reported by: Sjors Owned by: openmoko-devel
Priority: high Milestone: Om2008.8
Component: unknown Version: Om2008.8
Severity: major Keywords: wifi usability
Cc: Blocked By:
Blocking: Estimated Completion (week):
HasPatchForReview: no PatchReviewResult:


I have seen many projects dealing with wifi and I think people are making great progress. However, I think it would be a good idea to have one overarching ticket: just to define the end goal.

The goal should be that connecting to a wireless network should be as easy as it is in Windows and it should work out of the box (so new users don't have to do the USB network drill).

  • a main menu option called "Wifi / Wireless networks"
  • the menu contains a list of visible networks, signal strength, security etc
  • click on a network to connect to it (it may ask for the password)
  • automatically connect to trusted networks

Change History

comment:1 Changed 11 years ago by queen6

networkmanager-0.7 would fit perfectly here. It could also solve GPRS and USB networking.

comment:2 Changed 11 years ago by lindi

Could this be retitled to indicate that it is about UI stuff and not the bugs in the wifi driver?

comment:3 Changed 11 years ago by queen6

I'm afraid it's a bigger problem here. The UI stuff is one problem (although community made great progress here, so I presume no openmoko help required), but the driver problem remains.

Current driver is _really_ bad (well at least it works, so it's a plus!) and I'm afraid that's something community can't handle. It would be great to have it working well, but from kernel mailing list it seems OM kernel people are mostly focused on GTA03 right now.

comment:4 Changed 11 years ago by lindi

Yes, the wlan driver has issues. Is there some way to add dependencies to the actual wlan bugs to this bug so that they can be found easily? At present this bug report does not provide much useful information. We have at least

<li><a href="http://docs.openmoko.org/trac/ticket/1285">WLAN stability issue with WPA</a></li>
<li><a href="http://docs.openmoko.org/trac/ticket/1392">ar6000: switching wifi modes does not work</a></li>
<li><a href="http://docs.openmoko.org/trac/ticket/1860">Wifi connection problems.</a></li>
<li><a href="http://docs.openmoko.org/trac/ticket/1250">No Wifi in Managed Mode</a></li>

<li><a href="http://docs.openmoko.org/trac/ticket/1597">after a long suspend time, kernel thread events/0 sits eating 30% cpu</a></li>

comment:5 Changed 11 years ago by andy

  • HasPatchForReview unset

No Werner has made some good progress about this recently by transplanting the GTA02 Atheros WLAN driver on top of the Linux SDIO stack instead of the Atheros special one it was on top of until now. So it should change some longstanding (not the firmware-related ones) issues around WLAN.

We have the "native" WLAN driver in stable-tracking... part of the feeling that we're stuck on GTA03 is that all new work for even GTA01 and certainly GTA02 is happening up at stable-tracking. And stable-tracking is not released as the new stable yet due to a couple of remaining issues (that I am sat working on now). Once we clear those a lot of nice things (along with breakage no doubt) will suddenly appear in a new stable branch.

comment:6 Changed 11 years ago by werner

lindi, thanks for the list ! There are a few I hadn't noticed yet.

My main focus is currently on getting SDIO interrupt signaling to work
properly with the Linux SDIO stack. Missed or delayed interrupts could
explain all sorts of problems. Once this is done, I think we can switch
stacks, and then I'll get back to chasing those other bugs.

As far as I know, that switch should eliminate bug #1597.

queen6, the community progress on the UI side sounds interesting. Has
this already found its way back into Om2008 (or is it even related) ?
I've considered the UI as our biggest blocker in the whole WLAN area,
and wasn't too happy about the apparent absence of progress there. So
this is good news.

comment:7 Changed 11 years ago by queen6


I saw Werner's patches from 3rd of Nov, but there is still a long way to go, before this driver is in a good shape.
As far as I'm aware (and I might be _completely_ wrong here), these patches didn't fix any of the problems linked by Lindi.

The other problem not mentioned here which I found are:

1) signal strength is very low. When I put Neo one meter from my AP it reports ~60% signal strength (where my other devices - 2 laptops and 2 different Nokia phones N80 and N95) reports 100%. Also Neo detects only 3 of wireless network in range, where my latops and Nokia phones pick all 8.
2) wpa_supplicant should scan the all available frequencies (b/g) in around ~20-25sec. Using Neo, the driver doesn't report available networks in that time and networkmanager often times out (it's waiting ~30 sec for wpa_supplicant - which is MORE than enough).
3) not sure about this one, because I didn't try for a long time - but can you use Neo as access point nowadays?

Thanks for your hard work guys. One day this phone will really rock!

comment:8 Changed 11 years ago by queen6

Hi Werner,

As far as I'm aware they haven't found it's way to OM shipped distros, but you can find them in FDOM (and soon Gentoo). There are few interesting projects targeting Wifi and some are more successful than the others.

Personally I'm using NetworkManager? and I don't think there is a need to reinvent the wheel. Dbus interface and ability to handle most network related stuff makes it great tool. With current configuration and VPN plugins you can set up network functionality without GUI (like static IP for usb-networking), dispatcher scripts allows you to execute custom scripts on connection change (like mounting NFS shares when you connect Neo to your PC). Well there are tons of other things you can do with it. It's great tool and I think we could befit from it.


comment:9 Changed 11 years ago by andy

queen6, I just responded to "...from kernel mailing list it seems OM kernel people are mostly focused on GTA03 right now." Generally the firmware is a black box to us and I'm not sure actual ar6001 driver part is much better. But about your points:

1) TX signal strength, possibly this is something that can be set by firmware. There's a decent antenna on the module at least.
1a) iwlist wlan0 scan results, I believe the firmware is filtering these based on beacon quality / consistency, if we had a working monitor mode you would probably see hits from all the APs.
2) Yeah I agree, again firmware is managing that I think we find
3) No not AFAIK, the firmware doesn't support it but glad to be wrong though.

Overall the comparison to other embedded WLAN device is telling, I notice strongly that two of the three areas that cause most pain in GTA02 involve closed firmware blobs...

comment:10 Changed 11 years ago by lindi

queen6, if I wanted to refresh my kernel debugging skills(?) what should I look at right now?

comment:11 Changed 11 years ago by queen6


I'm probably the last person to ask :D

Andy and Werner should be able to provide you with the list of things which can be done on the driver level (without having access to closed source firmware). Besides Werner is doing some work on this driver, so he's probably the best person to ask, to avoid effort duplication.


comment:12 Changed 11 years ago by werner

Argh, I should check those bugs more often. Didn't see the last updates, sorry.
Let me answer this on devel@…, which is better for discussion.

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