Slow wireless access point



  • pfSense 1.2.3 as wireless access point

    Hi all,

    I hope someone can offer some assistance.  I am using pfSense 1.2.3 with a

    WAN  192.168.0.0/24
    LAN  192.168.1.0/24
    OPT1 192.168.2.0/24
    (none of these are bridged)

    OPT1 is a USB TP-LINK  TL-WN321G.  This is on the FreeBSD 7.2 HCL although I cannot confirm the chipset (whats the best way to do this - gently prize the unit open?)

    I am using very simple 'allow all' rules for all interfaces for testing purposes and everything (routing etc) works fine and wireless clients do get a DHCP assigned IP and can access LAN and WAN services (printers/internet).

    I do however have 2 problems:-

    occasionally with the TP-LINK in use the pfSense crashes and reboots - I will elaborate more on this in another pos ith more details.

    The current issue is that wi fi access seems terribly slow.  If I ping the pfSense on the OPT1 192.168.2.1 from a LAN client the ping is only succesfully half the time.
    For example, a windows ping tried 4 times.  2 will succeed and 2 will fail.

    Pinging 192168.2.1with 32 bytes of data:
    Request timed out
    Reply from 127.0.0.1: bytes=32 timeXXX TTL=128
    Request timed out
    Reply from 127.0.0.1: bytes=32 timeXXX TTL=128

    Ping statistics for 192.168.2.1:
        Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 2, Lost = 2 (50% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
        Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 0ms, Average = 0ms

    I should add the wireless access point and client are only a few metres apart with a clear line of sight so its not a connectivity issue.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Kev



  • Do you have any busy wireless networks nearby? (You might have channel contention.)

    What are the interface error statistics? (On pfSense, shell command # netstat -i will display error counters.)



  • Thanks for your reply Bob.  Good idea, although my wireless direct to my NetGear modem/router is fine.  So I tried disabling that incase the close proximity was an issue.  No change.

    I ran netstat -i as you suggested.  Not sure on how to interpret the results so will do some reading but ehre is the output

    netstat -i

    Name    Mtu Network      Address              Ipkts Ierrs    Opkts Oerrs  Coll
    re0    1500 <link#1>      00:21:91:d7:0b:74    29091    0    26760    0    0
    re0    1500 fe80:1::221:9 fe80:1::221:91ff:        0    -        0    -    -
    re0    1500 192.168.1.0  pfSense                855    -      842    -    -
    nfe0  1500 <link#2>      44:87:fc:50:b6:c9    36523    0    34031    0    0
    nfe0  1500 fe80:2::4687: fe80:2::4687:fcff        0    -        0    -    -
    nfe0  1500 192.168.0.0  192.168.0.34          132    -      199    -    -
    lo0  16384 <link#3>                              0    0        0    0    0
    lo0  16384 your-net      localhost                0    -        0    -    -
    lo0  16384 localhost    ::1                      0    -        0    -    -
    lo0  16384 fe80:3::1    fe80:3::1                0    -        0    -    -
    enc0*  1536 <link#4>                              0    0        0    0    0
    pfsyn  1460 <link#5>                              0    0        0    0    0
    pflog 33204 <link#6>                              0    0      302    0    0
    rum0  1500 <link#7>      d8:5d:4c:8e:63:4f    1492    0    1259    0    0
    rum0  1500 fe80:7::da5d: fe80:7::da5d:4cff        0    -        0    -    -
    rum0  1500 192.168.2.0  192.168.2.1            109    -      92    -    -

    No obvious errors.  The USB wi fi is rum0 - bottom lines.  Am baffled by this.  Any other ideas/diags anyone?

    Thanks again</link#7></link#6></link#5></link#4></link#3></link#2></link#1>



  • Still no nearer with less.  Although I have noticed that the firewall seems to 'initialise' the wifi network every few seconds.  Is this normal?  When i look at the system logs I see this:-

    Nov 26 17:46:09 hostapd: rum0: STA 00:1f:3c:5d:d5:05 WPA: pairwise key handshake completed (RSN)
    Nov 26 17:46:09 hostapd: rum0: STA 00:1f:3c:5d:d5:05 IEEE 802.11: associated
    Nov 26 17:46:04 hostapd: rum0: STA 00:1f:3c:5d:d5:05 IEEE 802.11: deassociated
    Nov 26 17:46:00 hostapd: rum0: STA 00:1f:3c:5d:d5:05 WPA: pairwise key handshake completed (RSN)
    Nov 26 17:46:00 hostapd: rum0: STA 00:1f:3c:5d:d5:05 IEEE 802.11: associated
    Nov 26 17:45:55 hostapd: rum0: STA 00:1f:3c:5d:d5:05 IEEE 802.11: deassociated
    Nov 26 17:45:52 hostapd: rum0: STA 00:1f:3c:5d:d5:05 WPA: pairwise key handshake completed (RSN)
    Nov 26 17:45:52 hostapd: rum0: STA 00:1f:3c:5d:d5:05 IEEE 802.11: associated
    Nov 26 17:45:47 hostapd: rum0: STA 00:1f:3c:5d:d5:05 IEEE 802.11: deassociated

    Thanks



  • This is the sort of wireless related messages I routinely see in the system log:

    Nov 27 07:42:11 hostapd: ath0: STA 00:12:7b:46:e7:65 WPA: group key handshake completed (RSN)
    Nov 27 07:43:11 hostapd: ath0: STA 00:12:7b:46:e7:65 WPA: group key handshake completed (RSN)
    Nov 27 07:45:11 last message repeated 2 times



  • Thanks Wallaby,

    are you suggesting my output is normal?

    I'm baffled by this. My next step is to try a different USB wi fi dongle, but the one I am using is on the HCL.  Can anyone recommend one?  Or recomend a config change?

    The one saving grace is that the problem is repeatable.  The rebot issue is still troublesome too but I need to capture some logs before asking for assistance on that - but I can't help wondering if the problems are related.

    Kev



  • @krazykev:

    are you suggesting my output is normal?

    No, just giving an example of "normal" output.

    @krazykev:

    I'm baffled by this. My next step is to try a different USB wi fi dongle, but the one I am using is on the HCL.  Can anyone recommend one?  Or recomend a config change?

    I've used the same NIC and it seemed to be OK but I've not used it for long periods at a time.

    @krazykev:

    The one saving grace is that the problem is repeatable.  The rebot issue is still troublesome too but I need to capture some logs before asking for assistance on that - but I can't help wondering if the problems are related.

    Have you tried using any of the wireless signal level monitoring applications (kismet? wavemon?)

    My dad uses a wireless link to his ADSL modem which is, perhaps, 5 metres away through two or three walls. His desktop computer has a wireless USB dongle plugged into the i/o panel at the back. I found that moving the computer around a bit on the table I was able to locate a spot which had seemingly better signal quality (and consequently higher bandwidth was able to be achieved). If you have something that provides a signal strength indication it might be worth getting a USB extension cable to see if you can get a better result with the dongle in a slightly different position. In the absence of any other clues to the nature of the problem it would be good to get an indication of signal quality in each of the interfaces.

    Have you tried different channels to see if that can give you a better result?



  • Thanks Wallaby,

    some good suggestions there - they are appreciated.  I shall give them a go over the next day or 2 and report back.  Will also try a different wifi dongle if I can get my hands on one.

    Kev



  • Well now i am very confused.

    I have an ADSL modem router with wi fi connectivity but I intend to turn the wifi on that as this modem goes to the WAN on pfSense.  I will then use pfSense as a wireless access point.  However, until I disable the wi fi on the ADSL modem I do have 2 access points.

    I have installed a wi fi monitor for windows.  When I connect to the ADSL wifi everything seems fine - see screen shot below.


    http://www.fuxion.co.uk/02a.jpg

    But once I connect to the pfSense access point I suddenly lose all wireless ability from my laptop!  This is very concerning.


    http://www.fuxion.co.uk/01a.jpg

    Does it make sense to anyone?

    Kev



  • And my curiosity got the better of me.  I have prised open the casing and it is using an RT2571 chip.

    Kev



  • It isn't clear to me why you posted the screenshots. Was it that you thought they were evidence of something significant? Are you looking for an interpretation?

    Can you elaborate on once I connect to the pfSense access point I suddenly lose all wireless ability from my laptop? The sniffer apparently reports the laptop is still connected to the AP.



  • Hi Wallaby,

    the screenshots weren't meant to cause offence - I apologise if they did.  I thought they were very telling, and I do appreciate your help.

    The first screenshot shows all available wi fi networks when I am not connected to the pfSense access point and indicates that they are available to be connected to.

    The second screen shot was taken once I had connected to the pfSense access point.  Once connected to pfSense all other wifi networks are not available as shown in the screenshot which shouldn't be the case.

    This suggests to me that connecting to pfSense access point is causing 'interference' for want of a better word, creating large amounts of traffic maybe stopping the SSID detection working?

    Really am at my wits end.  I do intend to try another usb wifi device once I ahve obtained one, maybe even a wifi pci card.  But something odd is happenning and I would love to find out what.

    Thanks again

    Kevin



  • @krazykev:

    the screenshots weren't meant to cause offence - I apologise if they did.

    I wasn't in any way offended by the screenshots. I just didn't know why you posted them because there wasn't much of an explanation. Now its much clearer.

    What about trying your USB WiFi NIC in the Windows laptop to connect to the ADSL modem to see if it gives reliable service. (You might need to download a driver from the TP-Link support site or Ralink support web site.) That, at least would be another data point. If it doesn't work well from the laptop that might suggest the device itself. Maybe ther

    Another thing to try: 802.11G actually has overlapping channel frequencies so channel 2 (which your pfSense WiFI is using) overlaps the band centred on channel 1. For least interference, different networks should use channels numbers that are at least 5 apart. That's not possible in your environment but it would be worth seeing if you get different results if you move your pfSense AP to either channel 6 or channel 11.



  • Thanks Wallaby - time for an update! Swapping channels didn't have any effect :(

    I have used the TP-LINK in my laptop as a receiver and works very very well.  As a Windows USB wifi dongle I highly recommend it.

    However, as a pfSense I am stumped!  Is there another drier out there I can build?

    If not, if anyone in the UK wants to try it I will happily post it to you.  Bin fodder if you can't get it working - or maybe if you figure something out I overlooked you'd return it?

    Kev


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Looking back in the thread I see you're using 1.2.3, have you tried a 2.0 snapshot?

    Much newer drivers, lots of wireless changes/fixes since 1.2.3.



  • Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the idea. I did actually try a version 2 snapshot live CD last night.  Two in fact as the most recent (pfSense-2.0-BETA4-20101130-0342.iso) doesn't work at all (a build error I think - problem with a config file).  The version I did try, pfSense-2.0-BETA4-20101129-2231.iso, consistently causes a kernel fault and reboots everytime a wi fi client tries to connect.  I have ordered a different usb dongle to try.  If that doesn't work I think I may go down the standalone wireless router road on my lan rather than as a pfSense intterface.

    If anyone has got pfSense working as a wi fi access point with a USB dongle can you let me know what dongle (and version if poss) you are using.

    Thanks

    Kev



  • I have used a Tenda W311U with pfSense 2.0 BETA snapshots. The driver for this NIC (run) is new to pfSense 2.0 BETA.

    On pfSense 1.2.3 I have used a TP-Link TL-WN321G and a D-Link DWL-G122 Rev C1 both of which are driven by the rum driver. (Other revisions of the DWL-G122 might use a different chipset, possibly unsupported by FreeBSD/pfSense.) Some months ago I tried these on pfSense 2.0 and kernel panics resulted. I can't recall if I tried then on pfSense 2.0 since then.



  • I am now in possession of a Cisco WUSB54GC usb dongle to give that a try - but not moer different problems.  But hopefully much easier to fix.

    When I insert the dongle I get this output on the local terminal (and dmesg)

    ugen0: <ralink 0="" 2="" 802.11="" g="" wlan,="" class="" 0,="" rev="" 2.00="" 1.01,="" addr="">on uhub1

    The adaptor isn't getting an ethernet address and as such I cannot configure it in pfSense web gui.

    The TP-Link would display this
    rum0: <ralink 0="" 3="" 54m.usb…....,="" class="" 0,="" rev="" 2.00="" 0.01,="" addr="">on uhub1
    rum0: MAC/BBP RT2573 (rev 0x2573a), RF RT2528
    rum0: WARNING: using obsoleted IFF_NEEDSGIANT flag
    rum0: Ethernet address: d8:5d:4c:8e:63:4f

    As it gets an ethernet address it is recognised to be configured.  I have read various reports on the Cisco using the ral driver.  Is it possible to override the driver chosen by pfSense or does it depend on the chipset in the usb device?

    Thanks

    Kev</ralink></ralink>



  • Quick update.  After inserting the Cicso device into pfSense 1.2.3 and not getting an ethernet addres the pfSense loses all connectivity and services like DHCP freeze (probably the driver issue).  But what has made me want to cry is trying it in pfSense 2 Beta 4.  When I insert the device I see

    ugen1.2: <ralink>at usbus1
    run0: <1.0> on usbus1
    run0: MAC/BBP RT3070 (rev 0x0201), RF RT2020 (MIMO 1T1R), address 68:7f:74:66:fc:90
    run0: firmware RT2870 loaded

    I thougt I had cracked it.  But when I configure the device as OPT1 interface as an access point it cannot be found by wi fi clients :(

    Think I may just got down the independent wireless router road but we have all tried so hard with this I really don't want to be beaten.

    Kev</ralink>



  • My Tenda W311U shows up in my pfSense 2.0 startup as:

    
    ugen3.2: <ralink>at usbus3
    run0: <1.0> on usbus3
    run0: MAC/BBP RT3070 (rev 0x0201), RF RT3020 (MIMO 1T1R), address c8:3a:35:c4:ee:f3
    run0: firmware RT2870 loaded</ralink> 
    

    My ifconfig shows (run0 related information only):

    
    run0: flags=8a43 <up,broadcast,running,allmulti,simplex,multicast>metric 0 mtu 2290
    	ether c8:3a:35:c4:ee:f3
    	media: IEEE 802.11 Wireless Ethernet autoselect mode 11g <hostap>status: running
    run0_wlan0: flags=8843 <up,broadcast,running,simplex,multicast>metric 0 mtu 1500
    	ether c8:3a:35:c4:ee:f3
    	inet6 fe80::ca3a:35ff:fec4:eef3%run0_wlan0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x9 
    	inet 192.168.xxx.xxx netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast 192.168.xxx.xxx
    	nd6 options=3 <performnud,accept_rtadv>media: IEEE 802.11 Wireless Ethernet autoselect mode 11g <hostap>status: running
    	ssid xxx channel 11 (2462 MHz 11g) bssid c8:3a:35:c4:ee:f3
    	country xxx authmode WPA2/802.11i privacy MIXED deftxkey 3
    	AES-CCM 2:128-bit AES-CCM 3:128-bit txpower 0 scanvalid 60
    	protmode OFF -apbridge dtimperiod 1 -dfs</hostap></performnud,accept_rtadv></up,broadcast,running,simplex,multicast></hostap></up,broadcast,running,allmulti,simplex,multicast> 
    

    I have had no trouble connecting to this AP from my Linux netbook. I'm running build pfSense-Full-Update-2.0-BETA4-20101127-0055.tgz



  • krazykev,

    Just curious if you ever got your wifi mystery resolved? From reading this thread I am not really able to add any useful information,,,but seeing how from what you have posted the usb dongle,is causing the pfSense machine to randomly reboot, I am sure you are going to have problems with the given usb dongle you are using. I would guess you do not have an open slot inside your pfSense machine to utilize an pci wifi card?
    I would guess this would solve all of your wifi dodgyness.
    It would appear to me the chipset and/or the physical usb is not right on the usb dongle you are using thus causing your machine to randomly reboot.

    Take Care,
    Barry


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