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Old 6th February 2014
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Default Intermittent network drops with urtw adapter

I posted almost this exact thing to misc@ as well (sorry for the weird line breaks; I copied and pasted) but haven't got much help yet, so I'm hoping someone here can save me from going back to Debian and iptables.

I have an Alfa AWUS036H USB wi-fi adapter that I am using on OpenBSD
5.4 amd64. Problem is, sometimes as often as every 15 minutes, the only way to
get the interface to pass traffic is with ifconfig urtw0 down &&
ifconfig urtw0 up
. I've monitored the traffic with tcpdump to look for
a pattern as to when it stops passing traffic, but I have not been able
to find one.

At the tail of dmesg output the following messages are repeated:

Code:
usb_insert_transfer: xfer=0xffff800000568000 not busy 0x4f4e5155
urtw0: could not send frame: INVAL
I am getting a 70-80 dB signal according to ifconfig, which is not
ideal, but should by no means be unusable. I have used the interface
with media set to DS1 mode 11g and OFDM54 mode 11g, with the same
behavior. I am using WPA2-PSK to authenticate to the access point (a
Verizon router). When network traffic stops, the status of the interface
is reported as active by ifconfig.

dmesg.boot has the following lines for the device:

Code:
urtw0 at uhub0 port 4 "Realtek RTL8187" rev 2.00/1.00 addr 2
urtw0: RTL8187 rev 0x04, RFv2, address 00:c0:ca:75:31:85
urtw0 at uhub0 port 4 "vendor 0x0bda RTL8187_Wireless" rev 2.00/1.00
addr 2
urtw0: RTL8187 rev 0x04, RFv2, address 00:c0:ca:75:31:85
urtw0: expect 0xe6!! (0xd2)
Is there any way in which I can troubleshoot this? It's becoming a bit
frustrating, but I'd like to keep using OpenBSD! I'm a bit lost at this
point as to how to approach this issue further, so hopefully someone may
be able to point me in the right direction.

Perhaps also helpful is this line from usbdevs -v:

Code:
port 4 addr 2: high speed, power 500 mA, config 1, RTL8187(0x8187),
Realtek(0x0bda), rev 1.00, iSerialNumber 00C0CA753185
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Old 7th February 2014
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A basic question: have you been able to verify that the device works properly with another OS, possibly on different hardware?
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Old 7th February 2014
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I can't help. But like others, I've seen operations halt with urtwn(4), which is not the same driver.

I think Stefan Sperling's recent reply to you on misc@ with his recommendations for further diagnostics is terrific. I'm going to save his Email, and perhaps this weekend I'll dig my urtwn device out of the desk drawer where it was thrown in disgust and try them.

I could not find Stefan's reply at marc.info or at gmane.org, so for everyone's convenience I am reposting it here (redacting Email addresses):
Code:
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2014 12:10:24 +0100
From: Stefan Sperling 
To: misc@
Subject: Re: Intermittent stops in network traffic with urtw interface

On Thu, Feb 06, 2014 at 04:28:21PM -0500, Brian Curran wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 06, 2014 at 09:29:37AM -0500, Brad Smith wrote:
> > On 06/02/14 9:25 AM, Alexey Suslikov wrote:
> > >Brian Curran writes:
> > >
> > >>>when it stops passing traffic, does issuing "ifconfig urtw0 scan" help?
> > >>>
> > >>
> > >>I test this just now and it seemed to help, although I only started
> > >>seeing ping replies about 10 seconds after issuing the scan. There is
> > >>a similar small delay, though usually not as long, when bringing the
> > >>interface down then up.
> > >>
> > >>Also maybe of note is that the status of the interface as reported by
> > >>ifconfig remains "active" when it is not receiving any traffic.
> > >
> > >I have urtwn(4) which also experience intermittent stops
> > >with some Access Points (not all).
> > >
> > >Looks like it is common problem for urtw(4) and urtwn(4).
> > 
> > and rsu(4).
> > 
 
> Does anyone have any idea as to how this might be troubleshot further?

I've also seen device timeouts very occasionally, with urtwn(4).
I have no known way to reproduce it at will though.

Can you record netstat -W urtw0 output please, and netstat -I urtw0?
Perhaps there is a particular counter that keeps increasing when
the network stops working? If so, that might lead us further towards
the cause of the problem.

It sounds like either the TX (transmit) or RX (receive) path is dying.
It would be nice to know which is dead. If you can run tcpdump on the
AP or a third host in monitor mode, please check if you see the client
sending frames to the AP, and if you see incoming frames from the AP on
the client.

On OpenBSD, if you see incoming frames with tcpdump -y IEE802_11_RADIO
and perhaps tcpdump -y IEE8021_11 which then don't show up in regular
tcpdump, this means the driver is dropping incoming frames and doesn't
pass them up to the net80211 stack. Knowing whether this is the case might
also give us clues for further diagnosis. If you don't see any incoming
frames then the USB framework might not be passing frames to the driver.

I'm not sure how to debug the USB stack for this kind of problem but
perhaps someone else can fill in information about this. systat and
vmstat -iz output might help to see if perhaps the USB host controller
is getting interrupts on incoming frames that don't get translated
upwards to corresponding interrupts in the wifi driver.

If you don't see any interrupts on the client at all when you send
broadcast frames (e.g. arp requests) from the AP then the hardware
in the wifi USB stick might bave problems seeing frames, perhaps due
to interference, overheating, or misconfiguration by the driver.

If switching to another channel makes a long term difference then
it is probably interference. You did disable any nearby microwave
ovens and bluetooth devices, right? Note that even if some other
wifi devices work fine in the face of interference that doesn't mean
a small USB stick will work fine as well. However, so far I believe
it's more likely an error in OpenBSD than anything else.

Also please use 'ifconfig urtw0 debug' while investigating, and watch
the dmesg (or /var/log/messages) for suspicious output.

Last edited by jggimi; 7th February 2014 at 12:18 PM. Reason: redactions
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Old 8th February 2014
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Quote:
A basic question: have you been able to verify that the device works properly with another OS, possibly on different hardware?
Yes. I've used the adapter with Debian before (on the same hardware) and it's worked consistently.

Quote:
I think Stefan Sperling's recent reply to you on misc@ with his recommendations for further diagnostics is terrific. I'm going to save his Email, and perhaps this weekend I'll dig my urtwn device out of the desk drawer where it was thrown in disgust and try them.
I agree! I'm going to try some of the things he suggested tomorrow. Hopefully I can find some sort of direction in the results.

Thanks for redacting emails, as easy as the thread is to find .
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