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raymac46

TP Link TL-WN725N Wireless Adapter

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Oh sure you can get Atheros based wifi adapters like the TL-WN722N but they tend to be bulky and best suited for use in a desktop. If you want something that takes up less real estate it's pretty had to find anything with Atheros - Realtek seems to have the market cornered here. For example there's the TL-WN725N nano. This little gem works great with Windows but until recently it failed spectacularly with Linux. At first it didn't work at all. Then you could download the source from Git, build the module and install it. However the next kernel update put you back to square one.

Now with the latest kernels the TL-WN725N works right out of the box, If you are looking for something much smaller than the big Atheros wifi adapter, this might be the one for you. Mine is version 2.1 and it's running well with Linux Mint and MX-16.

Edited by raymac46

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Those little nano adapters are great IF your computer is not too distant, or have too many barriers (walls, floors, ceilings) between the computer and your WAP (wireless access point). But if distance, barriers, or other sources of interference are, or might be a problem, I recommend an adapter with an adjustable exterior antenna.

 

For PCs, I much prefer Ethernet. But if running a cable to the PC is not practical, I recommend a PCIe Adapter like the Dual Band TP-Link N900. Dual band helps to avoid congestion. PCIe avoids the hassles that often come with the USB interface. And the exterior, adjustable antennas help ensure the best reception on both ends. And with detachable antennas, you can even position the antennas up high, if necessary.

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I keep the small USB adapters around for use in SFF desktops that might not accept a PCIe based adapter. Given a wider full size case and an available PCIe slot I would go with a dual antenna setup - and I have in my main Linux desktop. Wifi does a good enough job in my house that I don't need to run cables. The Windows desktop that sits right next to the router has an Ethernet cable.

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The Windows desktop that sits right next to the router has an Ethernet cable.
Ethernet is definitely the way to go, if practical. Not only do you totally eliminate reception issues, Ethernet networking is inherently more secure. But often punching holes in walls, floors and ceilings is not practical so wifi may be the only viable alternative.

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I just did a couple of bandwidth tests and I was geiing 43 Mbits down on wifi N downstairs in my basement through a wooden floor. That is plenty fast enough for anything I'd want to do. On the wire next to the router I'd get close to 185 down on a good day.

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Of course the WN725N Nano works great with Windows 10 as you would expect.

My Lenovo Flex laptop has a balky Atheros internal wifi adapter that drops connections all the time. I shut it off in the BIOS and plugged in the WN725N. It's fast and reliable and doesn't take up more room than a typical wifi mouse dongle. It would be great on old laptops if you want to upgrade to N performance.

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I have decided to give the internal wifi another try in my Lenovo Flex2-15D laptop. I have taken a new suggestion to disable Bluetooth (the adapter is a combination of wifi-N and Bluetooth.) Also I have a new gateway and no longer use a wifi extender network which may have confused things. So far the internal adapter seems stable. We'll see.

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It drops the signal randomly. It's a design flaw in the chipset I believe.
I disagree. If a design flaw, it would affect every unit in that model and revision line - that is, potentially 100s of 1000s of users would have the same problem and the maker would be forced (due to bad publicity and public backlash) to do a recall. It is much more likely to be a defective unit.

 

Edit comment: fixed typos.

Edited by Digerati

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It drops the signal randomly. It's a design flaw in the chipset I believe.
I disagree. If a design flaw, it would affect every unit in that model and revision line - that is, potentially 100s of 100s of 1000s of users would have the same problem and the maker would be forced (due to bad publicity and public backlash) to do a recall. It is much more likely to get a defective unit.

 

Agreed

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I'm not so sure. This chip has caused problems in a variety of laptops, not just Lenovo and there doesn't appear to be an obvious fix. It is a combination Bluetooth and wifi solution so that could be an issue. Certainly updating software had no positive effect, nor did disabling power management options which may have switched the wifi off.

 

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-networking/wifi-keeps-disconnecting-on-windows-81/59b95b34-afd1-467d-8ae5-0dfc5612bb98?auth=1

 

This adapter gave problems from the start with Windows 8.1 and so it isn't simply a Windows 10 upgrade problem. Disabling Bluetooth seems to be a solution. If you are going to have trouble it usually occurs in the first 10 minutes or so. Suddenly your connection is gone, you can't surf the web. You have to disconnect and reconnect and then maybe you'll get another 10 minutes.

Another reason I think it's something in the chip is that any USB adapter with a Realtek or even an older Atheros chip in it worked stably with the laptop. Never an issue.

However the new gateway may have helped as well.

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One link to a different adapter means nothing. Even if to the exact same adapter, that does not suggest a design flaw. Again, if it were a design flaw, there would be 1000s and 1000s of people having the EXACT same problem.

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I saw your reply before it was deleted. I am sorry you are taking this personally, but losing connectivity is just a common "symptom" that can be caused by many different problems.

 

It can only be a "design flaw" if the cause of the connectivity loss is due the exact same "discrete" component, circuit, code, etc. failing in each case.

 

Lenovo is the world's 2nd largest computer maker having just been leapfrogged by HP. Lenovo sold over 50 million! :blink: computers in the 4th quarter of 2016 alone with most of those being laptops. "Hundreds of posts online" complaining of connectivity issues is but a drop in the ocean and on top of that, in no way points to a specific device, circuit, or bit of code failing - or specific Alteros device either. It is not a design flaw. If it was, there will be 100s of 1000s of complaints on-line, in tech news articles, and elsewhere pointing out specific models. Not 100s of vague "lost connection" posts. And that's just Lenovo. Many notebook makers use Atheros adapters and many wifi adapter makers use Atheros as their OEM suppliers. And Atheros makes several different adapters of various designs too.

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For now the internal adapter is stable. I don't think I've identified the root cause but I have not had the dropped connections since I disabled Bluetooth (one of the suggestions I found in another forum.) However I now am using a different router and have taken out a wifi repeater unit which also could have caused problems. I don't run Linux on this laptop except in a VM so I cannot say for sure.how it would work with the Linux Atheros module (likely ath9K.)

I have also updated the driver to 10.0.0.350 which is the latest Windows 10 at atheros-drivers.com

Edited by raymac46

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but I have not had the dropped connections since I disabled Bluetooth (one of the suggestions I found in another forum.)
In terms of the RF, there is no reason one should interfere with the other. Bluetooth operates at frequencies between 2400 and 2483.5 MHz. While wifi operates in the same 2.4GHz band which can be pretty crowded, they use totally different protocols. While that does not eliminate the possibility of interference, typically it is the Bluetooth signal that is affected because Bluetooth signals are so weak, ~1mW compared to wifi devices which typically are at least 100mW

 

Did you try changing your wifi channel in your WAP/router? And if your wifi devices (and WAP/router) support operation in the much less crowded 5GHz band, I would try that too.

 

I use XIRRUS WiFi Inspector to see what wireless channels are in use by nearby networks and which are available.

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I re-enabled Bluetooth - not that I use it. I will see how things go, If all OK then I can rule out Bluetooth as a cause for the problem. Right now I am on channel 6 for IPV4 wifi. The AR956X chipset in the Flex2 15D does not support the 5Gz band.

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Right now I am on channel 6 for IPV4 wifi.

What's important is who else in your neighborhood is on ch 6. If you live in a house with other houses surrounding you, crowding is probably not a problem. But if you live in or very near an apartment complex, there could be several other wifi networks on the same or adjacent channels. Using WiFi inspector will show you all the wifi networks in your area, and the channel they are on so you can pick something several channels away. You change that in your AP.

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Channel 6 is OK here. Closest neighbors are on Channels 1 & 2. I can see 21 wifi routers but any on Channel 6 besides me are very weak. I live in a house surrounded by other houses.

Edited by raymac46

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Channel 6 is OK here. Closest neighbors are on Channels 1 & 2. I can see 21 wifi routers but any on Channel 6 besides me are very weak. I live in a house surrounded by other houses.

 

I always use channel 11 as it is the farthest away from the most common channel which is 6.

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I can see 21 wifi routers but any on Channel 6 besides me are very weak.
If me, I would move to an open channel and not share with anyone.

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