Lousy wireless on OS X Mavericks

To be honest I have not noticed any improvement on upgrading to OS X Mavericks on this laptop, but I have noticed a significant degradation in the performance of the wireless networking – notably dropped connections and long re-connect times. Not impressed.

And, of course, it is proprietary software so there is little chance of a community-originated fix appearing.

The problem with Apple kit (part one?)

Last September I joined a startup, Centreground Political Communications and, like my three fellow employees, have been using Apple equipment more or less since then.

It is good quality kit, focused on (typical) user experience: like Windows done right. And, yes, as a Unix/Linux person I also get a bash shell and access to forty years of engineering excellence.

But it is difficult not to see the faults also:

  • The one button mouse – a legacy of the 1980s and one that Apple must recognise is a poor one (why else have all those Ctrl dependent commands?
  • The emphasis of design over function – no ethernet port, and a wireless performance massively below even the least powerful IBM compatible
  • Audio that works out of the box – if you can ever hear it

A broadband commons and economic prosperity

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Much internet traffic in recent weeks has been devoted to efforts by US lawmakers to give the executive the power to “shut down the internet”, but other news shows that not all the ideas from the regulators over there are bad ones:

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, “With today’s approval of the first TV white spaces database and device, we are taking an important step towards enabling a new wave of wireless innovation. Unleashing white spaces spectrum has the potential to exceed even the many billions of dollars in economic benefit from Wi-Fi, the last significant release of unlicensed spectrum, and drive private investment and job creation.”
Unused spectrum between TV stations – known as “white spaces” – represents a valuable opportunity for provision of broadband data services in our changing wireless landscape. This unused TV spectrum provides a major new platform for innovation and delivery of service, with potential for both research and commercial
applications. Development of unlicensed radio transmitting devices has already led to a wave of new consumer technologies, including Wi-Fi and other innovations like digital cordless phones and in-home video distribution systems that have generated billions of dollars of economic growth. This new technology will build on that track record and provide even more benefits to the U.S. economy.

Wireless bridge again

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Can confirm that I need both commands:

/etc/init.d/hostapd restart

iwconfig wlan0 mode master

to get my wired to wireless bridge to come back up on my Ubuntu box.

Not quite sure why as obviously the hostapd service comes up on boot and the /etc/network/interfaces file has that exact mode setting line. But the bridge comes up with the wireless card disabled and while the mode setting line will enable it, it requires the hostapd restart to work.

Anyway, the fact I know what to do means it is easy to restore the network to full capacity, but it would be nice if it worked off-the-bat.

Using old Prism 2 card for the wireless bridge

So, I have taken the Belkin RT2500 card out and replaced it with a decade old DLink DWL-650 (a locked down PCMCIA <–> PCI bridge) – this has a Prism chipset and so should work. But right now I cannot even get the wireless card to come up, never mind bridge it…

adrian@dragoneye:~$ sudo hostapd -ddd /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf
[sudo] password for adrian:
Configuration file: /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf
Failed to create interface mon.wlan1.
nl80211 driver initialization failed.
wlan1: Unable to setup interface.


More as I get it…