Unable to get 802.11n connectivity in 2.2



  • Hello all,

    I've set up an APU board with the Compex WLE200NX (chipset: AR9280) as a wireless access point (hostap). My intention is to use this for a dedicated 5Ghz AP, as thelocal wireless environment is quite congested in the 3 non-overlapping 2.4Ghz channels. I have the wireless card working in 802.11g mode, and clients can successfully connect with rates up to 54Mbps. That said, I'm unable to see any MCS rate indices being used, and if I set the interface to 'N only' mode, it rejects connections to all devices (I've confirmed this behavior in both 802.11na and 802.11ng configurations). I see that the ath driver only gained N compatibility with FreeBSD 10, and can confirm my 2.2 snapshot contains the required option:

    $ sysctl kern.conftxt | grep ATH
    options ATH_ENABLE_11N

    I also see that mode 11na shows up in the interface configuration, and the band correctly looks to be 11a ht/40+, which from my reading of the FreeBSD wireless list indicates 802.11n:

    $ ifconfig -v ath0_wlan0
    ath0_wlan0: flags=8943 <up,broadcast,running,promisc,simplex,multicast>metric 0 mtu 1500
      ether 04:f0:21:xx:xx:xx
      inet6 fe80::6f0:21ff:fe0c:2a37%ath0_wlan0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x9
      inet 192.168.x.x netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast 192.168.x.x
      nd6 options=21 <performnud,auto_linklocal>media: IEEE 802.11 Wireless Ethernet autoselect mode 11na <hostap>
      status: running
      ssid fizzbo channel 44 (5220 MHz 11a ht/40+) bssid 04:f0:21:xx:xx:xx
      regdomain FCC country US indoor ecm authmode WPA2/802.11i -wps -tsn
      privacy MIXED deftxkey 2
      AES-CCM 2:128-bit
      AES-CCM 3:128-bit powersavemode OFF powersavesleep 100 txpower 17
      txpowmax 50.0 -dotd rtsthreshold 2346 fragthreshold 2346 bmiss 7
      [cut]
      -pureg protmode OFF ht htcompat ampdu ampdulimit 64k ampdudensity 8
      amsdu shortgi htprotmode RTSCTS puren -smps -rifs -wme burst -dwds
      -hidessid -apbridge dtimperiod 1 doth -dfs inact bintval 100
      groups: wlan</hostap></performnud,auto_linklocal></up,broadcast,running,promisc,simplex,multicast>
    

    The 2.2 alphas don't seem to include athstats, but I compiled it elsewhere and copied it over to the box. I didn't see anything strange other than the lack of MCS rates:

    
    athstats: ath0: Invalid argument
    athstats: ath0: Invalid argument
    126780   data frames received
    123294   data frames transmit
    114      tx frames with an alternate rate
    3769     long on-chip tx retries
    91       tx failed 'cuz too many retries
    1        stuck beacon conditions
    54M      current transmit rate
    2170     tx frames with no ack marked
    1703     rx failed 'cuz of bad CRC
    151770   beacons transmitted
    525      periodic calibrations
    -0/+0    TDMA slot adjust (usecs, smoothed)
    54       rssi of last ack
    52       avg recv rssi
    -96      rx noise floor
    2183     tx frames through raw api
    3        raw tx failed 'cuz interface/hw down
    1703     cabq frames transmitted
    172      cabq xmit overflowed beacon interval
    Antenna profile:
    [0] tx   123202 rx       11
    [1] tx        0 rx   126769
    

    I also tried enabled dev.ath.0.diag, but it didn't show anything useful, other than the connection looked to have stayed in the upper rates available in g mode. With ifconfig -v ath0_wlan0 list sta, I can successfully see my clients connect, but nothing that indicates why N speeds aren't being used. For comparison, I connected the same STA to the 2.4GHz 802.11n AP (a low-end Linksys) I have on a congested band, and it negotiates a 145Mbps MCS 14 connection without issue, and iperf shows around 56Mbps sustained. The same STA connecting to my APU wireless only manages 19 Mbps, on a crystal clear 5Ghz band.

    The version panel reports:

    2.2-ALPHA (amd64)
    built on Thu Sep 11 19:41:05 CDT 2014
    FreeBSD 10.1-PRERELEASE

    My current wireless configuration:
    WPA2 only with PSK
    US FCC regulatory settings
    WPA-Pairwise: AES

    Any hints for next steps to debug this? I can kick this up to the freebsd-wireless list, but I wanted to start here first and see if others have suggestions. I see at least a couple threads where APU-based machines are working with 802.11n connections, and if any one has details to chime in with, it'd be much appreciated. Most of the documentation I've found is limited to 2.1 and only covers 802.11g and lower, or covers Linux, which I'd prefer not to use for this application.



  • I bought an Mikrotik R11e-5HnD just to see how pfSense acts with a 5ghz only radio. The dual band 2.4/5ghz Ath cards seem to default to 802.11ng on 2.2 snaps with no 802.11na options..



  • Finally getting to benchmark my 5GHZ mikrotik. I would appear i am only getting upper end of 802.11G rates as well. My windows connection speed is 162M-180M

    C:>iperf -c 192.168.1.123
    –----------------------------------------------------------
    Client connecting to 192.168.1.123, TCP port 5001
    TCP window size: 8.00 KByte (default)

    [1912] local 192.168.1.128 port 1402 connected with 192.168.1.123 port 5001
    [ ID] Interval      Transfer    Bandwidth
    [1912]  0.0-10.0 sec  46.5 MBytes  38.9 Mbits/sec

    Any chance i get the athstats you compiled? Does it work on the newer beta version?



  • Have you tried the R11e-5HnD with pfSense 2.2 Release?  Does that card work now?  I'm thinking of purchasing one of those cards but I don't want to waste the money if it doesn't work correctly.



  • Will check this weekend on this card. Its been humming along fine since September.  I need to bring the machine up to the release version and it is located offsite.. When i tested it it had the best connection speeds i had seen on Windows connections..Running on Advantech PCM9362. Sorry if this post left the wrong impression. One of my favorite cards. Next favorite Ubiquiti SR71-E. Only 400mw but nearly as good. Lower profile.

    I don't know if your expecting massive speed increases with 802.11N but i only found modest improvements when i upgraded.



  • And truthfully i don't know if i would recommend spending 50 bucks on any of these cards. Try a used Apple Airport Extreme card for a good buy. Aka AR5BXB112. Mimo 3x3 and works well.



  • I have the same problem here with my AR9280 card, will be interested to see what you find..



  • Compex WLE200NX with AR9280 @ 5GHz.

    $ iperf -c nas
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Client connecting to nas, TCP port 5001
    TCP window size: 85.0 KByte (default)
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    [  3] local 192.168.0.135 port 50579 connected with 192.168.0.160 port 5001
    [ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
    [  3]  0.0-10.0 sec   173 MBytes   145 Mbits/sec
    


  • That looks pretty respectable at 18 megabytes /sec.. Hopefully mine reaches those numbers. What do your initial connect rates look like? You seeing 300M connection? What kind of distance between client and AP? Client OS?? Clients using Atheros hardware as well? Dual rubber duck antenna's on AP??Clients are laptops?



  • @Phishfry:

    That looks pretty respectable at 18 megabytes /sec.. Hopefully mine reaches those numbers. What do your initial connect rates look like? You seeing 300M connection?

    wavemon says 270 Mbit/s.

    What kind of distance between client and AP?

    3.25 meters, AP is obscured by a TV.

    Client OS??

    Linux 3.18.

    Clients using Atheros hardware as well?

    Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260

    Dual rubber duck antenna's on AP??

    Yes, http://pcengines.ch/antsmadb.htm

    Clients are laptops?

    Lenovo X240

    wavemon sometimes report 300 Mbit/s and iperf reports 159 Mbits/sec, and the APU is still suboptimally positioned.

    Standard: 802.11na (becomes ng if Channel isn't explicitly set to a 5GHz channel)
    Protection mode: off
    Channel: 11 a/n - 64
    Regulatory settings: ETSI, SE, Indoor
    Minimum wireless standard: 802.11n
    Enable WME: yes
    Encryption: WPA2, AES



  • @Phishfry:

    I bought an Mikrotik R11e-5HnD just to see how pfSense acts with a 5ghz only radio. The dual band 2.4/5ghz Ath cards seem to default to 802.11ng on 2.2 snaps with no 802.11na options..

    It would'nt even be detected in pfSense (2.2.1). I have it mounted on RB14eu card along with Atheros AR9285. pfSense detects the latter card just fine, but not the r11e-5hnd (Atheros AR9580).



  • My r11e-5hnd was deployed in an Advantech PCM9362 for an relative. It has been working fine with this being my first chance to upgrade it. Went from 2.2 beta(Sep27)to 2.2.2 without issue. It is working on the AR9300 driver i noticed. I noticed it was throwing out continual beacon errors before upgrade…

    I have the rB14eu myself and found it works as advertised. I put 2 AR5BXB112 on the front and a MC7700 on the back. I didn't try an R11e card on it. I did have other atheros cards on it though.
    You realize the USB cable is only needed on the 3G side if using wifi? Not that there is a "3G side" but with the provided cables and 10 pin header it services 2 slots on one side of the card...With a 5 pin cable you could do a single 3G/4G slot.



  • Did you try it in the AR9285.'s slot? Something don't sound right… Mine works fine and has since Sept.



  • @Phishfry:

    My r11e-5hnd was deployed in an Advantech PCM9362 for an relative. It has been working fine with this being my first chance to upgrade it. Went from 2.2 beta(Sep27)to 2.2.2 without issue. It is working on the AR9300 driver i noticed. I noticed it was throwing out continual beacon errors before upgrade…

    I have the rB14eu myself and found it works as advertised. I put 2 AR5BXB112 on the front and a MC7700 on the back. I didn't try an R11e card on it. I did have other atheros cards on it though.
    You realize the USB cable is only needed on the 3G side if using wifi? Not that there is a "3G side" but with the provided cables and 10 pin header it services 2 slots on one side of the card...With a 5 pin cable you could do a single 3G/4G slot.

    It did work on linux. mini-PCIe module sitting in the same RB14eu slot. Though I had there another set of issues (with WPA auth). Worked fine without encryption though and apparently on full power.

    Now that you mentioned it, I recall I tried R11e-5Hnd on pfSense first using it in some noname Chinese miniPCIe/PCIe adapter. I found that the signal output was limited to ~17dBm (going to be the case with RB11 as well) and thus I ordered RB14eu. "eu" for future proofing, might need 3G or LTE module at some point in the future, price difference between "e" and "eu" is only around 10 euros. Just forgot that I tested wlan module on pfSense some 3-4 months before ordering RB14eu

    Thanks guys, gonna give it another try. First in FreeBSD workstation (10.1-RELEASE), if the RB14eu/R11e-5Hnd appears to be working there, gonna kick that linux from my router and return back to pfSense.


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