IPod Touch wireless issues



  • I just recently got a first-generation iPod Touch and I'm having some trouble getting the wireless networking on it working with my pfSense install.  I'm hoping somebody else has some thoughs on this or at least some ideas of what I can check to try to track the issue down.  What's happening is my iPod is finding the AP, associating, getting and getting an IP address via DHCP.  That all is working fine.  However, after I begin transferring data, it dies after about 10-15 seconds.  I've jailbroken it (with the 2.2 firmware), so I can attempt to connect to it via SSH, but my connection there dies pretty quickly, too.

    As far as the connection itself goes, I've been using WPA to secure it.  I found some posts on Google that imply that the iPod Touch doesn't work well with AES encryption, so I switched over to TKIP only.  This helped a bit (with AES only, the connection died immediately when I began transferring data, though it still was able to associate and get an IP address), but not much.  I've even tried disabling encryption entirely without any benefit.  I'm running pfSense 1.2.1 on an ALIX 2c2 with a Wistron CM9 as the wireless card.  It's worked quite well up until this point, as none of my other devices have had any problems with it at all.

    Here's my current wireless config, though I'm not sure whether it will be of any use:

     <opt1><descr>Wireless</descr>
    	<if>ath0</if>
    	 <wireless><standard>11g</standard>
    		<mode>hostap</mode>
    		<protmode>off</protmode>
    		<ssid>MySSIDHere</ssid>
    		<channel>1</channel>
    		<authmode></authmode>
    		<txpower>99</txpower>
    		 <distance><wpa><macaddr_acl></macaddr_acl>
    			<auth_algs>1</auth_algs>
    			<wpa_mode>1</wpa_mode>
    			<wpa_key_mgmt>WPA-PSK</wpa_key_mgmt>
    			<wpa_pairwise>TKIP</wpa_pairwise>
    			<wpa_group_rekey>60</wpa_group_rekey>
    			<wpa_gmk_rekey>3600</wpa_gmk_rekey>
    			<passphrase>MyPassphraseHere</passphrase>
    			<ext_wpa_sw></ext_wpa_sw></wpa> 
    
    		 <apbridge><enable></enable></apbridge></distance></wireless> 
    	<bridge>lan</bridge>
    	<ipaddr>192.168.242.35</ipaddr>
    	 <spoofmac><mtu><subnet>16</subnet>
    	 <gateway><enable><disableftpproxy></disableftpproxy></enable></gateway></mtu></spoofmac></opt1> 
    

    Does anybody have any thoughts on this?  If anything, I thought it would be the security I was using, but that doesn't seem to have been the case.  I'm currently thinking that it could possibly just be a compatibility issue with the iPod and the Wistron CM9, but I don't really want to go buy another card unless I've got a pretty good idea that it might be the cause of my problem.

    Edit: I forgot to mention: my ALIX is running BIOS 0.99b, so unfortunately there's no newer BIOS to try.



  • I can assure you that iPod Touch gen1 do NOT have problems with WPA2 and AES encryption.
    Using it over here absolutely flawlessly, the only hiccups I have is with SqueezeBoxes sitting on the edge of the coverage area. I am using Linksys WRT54GL with DD-WRT firmware APs, though.

    I see you raised your TX power to 99 mW.
    Don't know about the CM9 cards but the built in cards in the Linksys routers absolutely don't like raising the power too high. They start clipping and the transmitted signal won't be clean anymore!
    IIRC then 60 mW is regular output power for WiFi. The next step upwards for +3dB would be 120mW.



  • The 99 is not mW.
    It's the %age of what the card can deliver.
    So if you have a 100 mW (20 dB) Card and set the power to 50 you will have essentially 50 mW (17 dB).
    if you set the power to 99 you will have 100 mW (20 dB).

    The allowed output in europe is 20 dB (100 mW) but almost no card goes that high.
    It only boosts the power if you're far away from the AP and fall down to the slower modes.
    Look at the datasheet of your card and you will see in what mode what power-output will be used.

    As jahonix i also once tried cards out of prebuilt AP's.
    They didnt work right so i dropped them and bought real ones :)
    But you could try to lower the power. It really might be an issue with the power supply.
    Maybe your PSU is getting old or too weak (embedded hardware without taking in account a additional miniPCI card)



  • Well, I spent this weekend trying to figure out what was causing this.  The card's rated at a maximum of 18 dBm at 6 megabits according to the datasheet (so, about 63 mW, according to this calculator).  Unfortunately, it doesn't list what power output it has on lower modes.  I tried turning down the power anyway (to about 60%), but unfortunately it didn't seem to help.

    I did some more searching and found a Google cache of this post from the now-closed 1.2.1 RC forum of somebody having a similar issue and it seems like it could be a FreeBSD 7 issue.  I tried reverting to 1.2, but it didn't help much.  I could load YouTube, which gave me a connection error before, but I couldn't actually play more than a few seconds of any video.  So, if it is a FreeBSD issue, it's one that was somehow missed in 6.2 and 7.0.

    Just to make sure it wasn't the iPod itself, I pulled out my old WRT54G and turned it into an access point.  It works just fine.  So, I've got a solution for now, but I'm going to continue to try to find out more information about what might be happening, as I'd really like to use my pfSense unit as the AP instead of having a separate one.

    I'll look into whether it might be the power supply.  I didn't think of that possibility.  It'd be nice if I could just replace that, as it can't be very expensive.


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