Regular, intermittent loss of communication over WiFi

My laptop is a Dell Inspiron 15 - 5578.

I have been battling this problem for a long time, but I just don’t know what to do. It’s gotten so bad I can hardly use openSUSE TW anymore.

The problem: I boot up my laptop into openSUSE TW, log in and connect to WiFi. I’m able to pass traffic for a minute or two, then no traffic will go across my WiFi connection. The only way to pass traffic again is to disconnect from my WiFi and reconnect. but that only enables me to pass traffic for another 2-3 minutes, then traffic stops. Repeat over and over and over.

I have ensured the problem is not with my WiFi router because while my openSUSE TW laptop is unable to communicate I am simultaneously able to use another laptop (Windows 10) and an Android phone (Galaxy S5) using the same WiFi. The WiFi router and my laptop do not drop the connection, the connection just stops passing traffic. Other devices continue to work fine. Also, when I dual-boot into Windows 10 on my laptop, I have zero issues with WiFi. Due to the problem only appearing in openSUSE and not Windows 10, I am thinking it’s a driver problem. But I really don’t know.

Last night I decided to run a continuous ping to from Konsole to see what happens when I am unable to pass traffic. I am going to paste some curated results:

64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=18 ttl=55 time=82.8 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=20 ttl=55 time=32.3 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=21 ttl=55 time=32.5 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=49 ttl=55 time=33.1 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=50 ttl=55 time=32.9 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=51 ttl=55 time=34.0 ms

Notice how the sequence number goes from 21 to 49. That loss of ability to pass data traffic wasn’t too long.

64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=110 ttl=55 time=32.7 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=111 ttl=55 time=33.1 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=148 ttl=55 time=32.1 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=149 ttl=55 time=32.3 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=150 ttl=55 time=33.4 ms

Again, the above snippet of ping results shows a big gap between sequence 111 and 148.

64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=241 ttl=55 time=75.4 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=242 ttl=55 time=128 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=364 ttl=55 time=32.4 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=365 ttl=55 time=32.4 ms

Now that outage above was very long. Several minutes.

linux-q5o0:~ # uname -a
Linux linux-q5o0 4.13.5-1-default #1 SMP PREEMPT Thu Oct 5 18:28:26 UTC 2017 (3fd9659) x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Is anyone else having this problem with their Dell Inspiron 15?

I’m happy to provide any information you request while troubleshooting this maddening problem.

Do you have TLP installed? If not consider installing it as it can help with power management.

Networking Wifi Power Management WIFI_PWR_ON_AC=off
Sets wifi power saving mode. Adapter support depends on kernel and driver. Possible values:

  • off – disabled
  • on – enabled
     **Note:** deprecated config values 1=off/5=on are supported for backwards compatibility.
     **Hint:** power save can cause an unstable wifi link.

…and to clarify further, I suggest inhibiting wifi power management for both AC and battery operation…


Thank you for the reply. It does appear I have it installed, as I do have the /etc/default/tlp configuration file.

Here is my config file:

I should add my laptop is rarely on battery, it’s almost always on AC power. In each instance of a communication problem over my WiFi connection my laptop has been on AC power–not battery.

Thanks, I will do that now.

I should add my laptop is rarely on battery, it’s almost always on AC power. In each instance of a communication problem over my WiFi connection my laptop has been on AC power–not battery.

Ok, then this won’t help as it’s disabled already when on AC…

  1. # WiFi power saving mode: on=enable, off=disable; not supported by all adapters.

  1. WIFI_PWR_ON_AC=off


Not all wifi hardware devices have power management support anyway.

Post your wireless hardware details…

/sbin/lspci -nnk | grep -iA3 net

You’re right, it won’t help me in this case, but it’s always good to check. I edited the config file and started the service for the new parameters to take effect.

Oddly enough, tonight I haven’t had any trouble whatsoever. It’s just so frustrating.


linux-q5o0:~ # /sbin/lspci -nnk | grep -iA3 net
01:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Intel Corporation Wireless 3165 [8086:3165] (rev 79)
        Subsystem: Intel Corporation Device [8086:4410]
        Kernel driver in use: iwlwifi
        Kernel modules: iwlwifi
linux-q5o0:~ # 

Rather than pinging an internet address, a better test would be to ping your router/internet gateway address. That eliminates any external routing/latency influences.

You’re right, and I did do that. I just forgot to log the results to a text file. The pings to my router also failed. So it wasn’t just failing to ping to an Internet site, it was failing to make it to my router.

Thanks for your continued help.

Just in case this post is helpful to you…

Now you have a different Intel chipset, but maybe using newer firmware will help here too. Anyway, take a look at which firmware file is being loaded…

dmesg|egrep "firmware|iwlwifi"

I note that the iwlwifi#d_3165_and_3168_support page mentions…

7265D, 3165 and 3168’s latest firmware version is -29.ucode

I’m not using TW, but I assume it will be using the latest available firmware for these chipsets…

rpm -ql kernel-firmware|grep iwlwifi-31

You are right, I am running the -29.ucode. Output from the two commands you specified:

linux-q5o0:~ # dmesg|egrep "firmware|iwlwifi"
    3.159338] [drm] Finished loading DMC firmware i915/kbl_dmc_ver1_01.bin (v1.1)
    4.837070] iwlwifi 0000:01:00.0: enabling device (0000 -> 0002)
    4.844668] iwlwifi 0000:01:00.0: loaded firmware version 29.541020.0 op_mode iwlmvm
    4.899038] iwlwifi 0000:01:00.0: Detected Intel(R) Dual Band Wireless AC 3165, REV=0x210
    4.922879] iwlwifi 0000:01:00.0: base HW address: [redacted]
    5.061245] iwlwifi 0000:01:00.0 wlp1s0: renamed from wlan0
    6.043714] Bluetooth: hci0: Intel Bluetooth firmware file: intel/ibt-hw-37.8.10-fw-
    6.333724] Bluetooth: hci0: Intel Bluetooth firmware patch completed and activated

linux-q5o0:~ # rpm -ql kernel-firmware|grep iwlwifi-31
linux-q5o0:~ #

Well, this is interesting. I dove deep into the logs on my WiFi router and saw many, many entries where my laptop’s WiFi MAC was registering on the 2.4 GHz radio and then seconds or minutes later registering on the 5 GHz radio. Many of those entries are timestamped within the times I had real problems. I think the issue was caused by having both my 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz SSIDs the same. I have now changed them to be different. So far, so good, but then again tonight I wasn’t having issues even before I updated the SSID names. A week or two of heavy openSUSE TW use will determine if this fixed the problem or not.

Sorry for sending you on a wild goose chase! It may not have been anything with openSUSE at all. I feel pretty silly now.

That’s ok, and that will almost certainly be the cause of the issue. NetworkManager is capable of roaming, but it can work against users when there is more than one AP available using the same SSID, as intermittent switching (re-associating) can occur needlessly. You effectively have two by having the 5GHz and 2.4GHz spectrum enabled with same SSID on the same AP. Always a good idea to use different SSID in situations like this.

So far so good today as well. I guess I never realized a person needs to have unique SSIDs for each spectrum. Whoops!

Thanks for all your help. I did learn some things from the commands you asked me to run.

Sharing that learning here may well be helpful to others as well. :slight_smile:

I’ll certainly do my best around here. Though I hardly think I know enough to be of help to anyone.

You already are. The act of sharing/resolving problems like this is constructive contribution in itself. :slight_smile: