cannot see/connect to some wireless networks

I have a problem I’ve never heard of before, and had no success finding any other discussions about: my wireless connection works on some networks, but others it never even finds. They don’t show up in Network Manager, or when I use iwlist.

Some details about my system: I installed OpenSUSE 13.1 x86_64 on my Dell 1440 laptop, using a fresh install via the DVD, multi-booted with Win7 and an older version of OpenSUSE (12.1 I think). All updates applied by selecting update all packages if newer version available in YaST software manager. Currently using Linux 3.11.10-7-desktop.

I installed and then got updates with the ethernet connected. Upon finding the wireless didn’t work I checked dmesg and ran /usr/sbin/install_bcm43xx_firmware as indicated there. Then the wireless seemed to work fine…until I went home (where I have no ethernet) and found that my wireless there is not recognized. I’ve restarted multiple times (also due to chasing down an issue with my printer which is still unresolved, may post later on that) and double-checked that the wireless is in fact working.

The only wireless I have at home is from my Droid X running pdanet+. I booted into the older version of OpenSUSE which I had (thankfully) left intact and verified that I could get on the network; here is the output of iwlist from there (showing the phone’s wireless):

Cell 04 - Address: 40:FC:89:71:4B:5C
                    Frequency:2.437 GHz (Channel 6)
                    Quality=70/70  Signal level=-27 dBm  
                    Encryption key:on
                    Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s; 6 Mb/s
                              9 Mb/s; 12 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s
                    Bit Rates:24 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s

But when I boot into the new system, iwlist never shows the phone wireless. I tried my wife’s phone, also a Droid X with the same setup, with the same results - works fine with another OS but cannot be seen when running 13.1. But at work, with some old D-Link wireless router, I can get on just fine (that’s what I’m using right now). Both networks are set to WPA2, neither one hidden. Tried entering the phone wireless SSID as a hidden network (which it is not) with no results. As I continued to fiddle around further I noticed that occasionally on the D-Link wireless it does randomly disconnect. I can still see the network listed when I click the Network Manager icon, and when I click on it, it quickly reconnects.

Here is some info on my wireless card:

$lspci -vnn -d 14e4:
0c:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g LP-PHY [14e4:4315] (rev 01)
        Subsystem: Dell Wireless 1397 WLAN Mini-Card [1028:000c]
        Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 17
        Memory at f69fc000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16]
        Capabilities: [40] Power Management version 3
        Capabilities: [58] Vendor Specific Information: Len=78 <?>
        Capabilities: [e8] MSI: Enable- Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit+
        Capabilities: [d0] Express Endpoint, MSI 00
        Capabilities: [100] Advanced Error Reporting
        Capabilities: [13c] Virtual Channel
        Capabilities: [160] Device Serial Number xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
        Capabilities: [16c] Power Budgeting <?>
        Kernel driver in use: b43-pci-bridge
        Kernel modules: ssb

As I write this I am sitting next to both the D-Link and the phone (with wireless turned on), and can see both of them from the Win7 laptop sitting next to me, and have verified both on the older version of OpenSUSE on this same laptop as noted above. Why can I not see and connect to the wireless from my phone using OpenSUSE 13.1?

Thanks for any help you can give.[/size]

There was a bug in both the mac80211 and b43 drivers that would cause b43 to
fail to show some scan data. I just tested and it showed 4 of my 5 APs. After I
ran a “sudo /usr/sbin/iwlist scan” command, the networks showed up in

These bugs have been fixed in kernel 3.14-rc1, but I have no idea how long it
will take to propagate into 3.11. Because 3.11 is EOL, that means that someone
at openSUSE has to cherry pick the patches and they might not recognize that
these are needed.

You have a few options: (1) try the workaround, (2) continue to use 12.1 at
home, or (3) get a 3.14 kernel from the KOTD (Kernel Of The Day) project. I
would give you a link, but that part of openSUSE is not responding today.

I see. Perhaps that would explain why I had some weird behavior under 12.1 also using the b43 driver, although I had generally been able to work around it by refreshing with iwlist, suspend to ram/wake up, and related contortions. I will plan to check into the new kernel when time permits, and continue using the old system in the meantime. Thanks for the response.