Ath0 card with one Antenna : Very poor signal /Which settings to change and How?

  • Hi All,

    The miniPCI card Complex WLE200NX I'm using has two connectors for Antennas. But for my purposes, I bought only one Antenna. I'm getting a very very poor signal an I guess it's the because it's trying to use  the diversity property, enabling the use of two anntennas. TX & RX must be changed to the one port (on the card shown as "1" - I have port "0" and "1").

    when I browse to /sbin and type sysctl -a | grep dev.ath.0.rxantenna, I get
    dev.ath.0.rxantenna: 1

    sysctl -a | grep dev.ath.0.rxantenna
    gives me
    dev.ath.0.rxantenna: 0

    dev.ath.0.diversity does not exist  :o

    So how to change those settings please and let them permanent ? Thanks !
    Or do you think the issue with the very poor signal is somewhere else ?

  • I had problems with some of the earlier versions where the settings were not saved on reboot, but that was the Channel option.
    I will try messing with the antenna stuff tonight as i have a working setup. I am curious as well to see how the following options work: Auto, Default , 0, 1
    I have always assigned each a number and that has worked for me. I am curious if Auto detects weather TX or RX or what.
    I will pull an antenna out to see if my speeds take a dive. I saw a  guru on here talking about MIMO 3X3 and wonder how that works. I see no additional options when i slip in a TPlink MIMO i have. It does work OK though. No options for third antenna.

    I assume you are using 2.2 alpha??
    I see no beacon stuck errors with the new version either. I saw some error messages at the console with an AR9580 but they looked related to a channel changes i did.

    While on the topic I wonder how "Auto" picks the channel for Wifi compared to manual channel setting.

    I feel you problems may be related to channels as crowded channels are pretty common in populated areas..

  • OK did some testing on 2.2 Snapshot. On my wireless settings>> Antenna Settings i have :Auto,Default,1,2 (testing on Atheros5416/miniPCI)
    When i set both -RX Antenna to 1 and TX Antenna to 1 -it will only use the one antenna. If i disconnect the antenna it drops off as it should.
    So in my testing i pulled antenna 2 and set it to 1 on both TX/RX and did some quick speed testing and it did not affect my speeds one bit. I have the wifi connection rate as high as 135M today and I am still working on some good benchmark methods. Currently I use the Vizio speed test on their TV setup menu. I also use HD tune connected to an ISCSI drive and do some file transfers to boot. My nas is weak so i am upgrading my freenas box . My notebook has an intel wifi and who knows what the visio uses for wifi.
    I was real surprised to see no difference in speed with one antenna and i actually can see more neighboring AP in my area with one antenna than two(In the Wireless status section). Testing with stock duckie antennas.. I set both to antennas to "Auto" and that worked the same with only one antenna attached or both. As it should

    I have the same Atheros radio your trying to use(TPLink version) and will move back up my stream of parts once i hit the bottom. I want to test the MIMO stuff more but wanted to see how the older draft N cards did. Nothing notable. All worked well in N mode.

    So in summary: Your not missing anything major with only one antenna.

    What does the Status>Wireless page say is your connection rate? I am not saying that is definitive but it is somewhere to start. I notice mine is dynamic..Under load and on start-up it goes to 135M but after idle it drops down. Maybe power saving features for the radio. I dunno. I realize you will never achieve these theoretical rates but i look at it like a modem. You start diagnosing by looking at the connection speed. Then start doing some speed testing. This all after a good site survey(Looking at all your neighboring-AP users channels and finding holes). Finding a good channel is the most important in my testing. I have 2 out of 13 that seem optimal.

    I am really wondering about 5GHZ/N stuff. I only see channels for 2.5GHZ(1-13) and the radio is showing both 2.5/5GHZ at console bootup.

    Good Luck and ask as many questions as you want. I don't know much but will try and help.

  • Hi Phishfry,
    Thank you very much for your post and sry for the delayed feedback.
    You said you are also using Complex WLE200NX ?
    I'm still running Pfsense 2.1.5 and not 2.2 Alpha, I'm afraid to run the alpla version because I read many things are still not working except Wifi drivers.. How is your experience with it ?
    I guess the issue that I have with my Wireless is probably the version of Pfsense / FreeBSD in use ?

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