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winnall
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Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:18 pm

I have three Pi 3s running Jessie 8 (jessie-lite from March 2017, I think). They are equipped with EnOcean Pi boards and have been running 24x7 since November 2016.

Recently, one lost its wifi connection and I couldn't get it back. I ordered a replacement from Digitec here in Zurich, but wifi didn't work on that either. Assuming my software had some problem I tested the duff Pis with software on the other ones that still worked. The wifi still didn't work, so I concluded the duff Pis had a hardware problem.

Digitec were excellent and sent a replacement Pi the next day. I tested it - with some trepidation - but it worked fine, confirming for me that the two duff Pis had a hardware problem. Interestingly, though, if I plug in a wifi dongle on a duff Pi, wifi works immediately via the dongle.

I have also seen other reports on the Internet of wifi just stopping on Pi 3s.

Just when I thought everything was alright another of the original Pis has started to lose its wifi connection. If I plug in the wifi dongle, connection is restored. And the first time I got the onboard wifi working again using ifdown/ifup. An hour or so later it lost the wifi again: this time ifdown/ifup didn't work.

All this looks to me as though the Pi 3 has a quality problem with its onboard wifi. Any thoughts?

Incidentally, I'm using the official Pi 3 power supply, so it shouldn't be a problem with the board being underpowered.

Steve

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elkberry
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:12 am

To the best of my knowledge, all Pis are factory-tested very thoroughly. The sheer amount of pogo/test pin contact plates are testament to this, never seen so many on a "cheap" board. If I'm not mistaken, these tests also include Wifi and Bluetooth.

Besides the Pi, there are more devices in your setup that may cause poblems. Wifi isn't a reliable medium, it just happen to work often. Maybe your Wifi access point may have developed problems? Some that issues that only become gradually visible with some devices at this time? Or that the environment has changed, with many more access points being active in your place?
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MaxK1
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:47 am

What does the output from dmesg say about it? Does BT still work?
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jamesh
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:50 am

This is not a HW problem, it's a driver issue. We have some issues in the github already with similar symptom, and I have asked the Linux driver mailing list for help, but the guy at Broadcom who deals with this stuff is very busy, I'll try and chivvy him along.
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winnall
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:36 am

@elkberry I don't think it's anything to do with the access points: only the Pi 3s are having problems, not any other devices.

When I do

Code: Select all

ifconfig -a
only `lo` and `eth0` show up (no `wlan0`). Also

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sudo iwlist wlan0 scan
fails with a message to the effect that it doesn't support scanning.

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winnall
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:39 am

MaxK1 wrote:What does the output from dmesg say about it? Does BT still work?
BT is switched off because the EnOcean board uses the serial interface.

I'll start one of the duff boards up later and see what's in dmesg.

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winnall
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:48 am

jamesh wrote:This is not a HW problem, it's a driver issue.
This is encouraging. However, it does not match my experience.

The board failed when I did my cron-driven weekly reboot. I hadn't changed any software. Also, when I booted the defective Pi with the USB stick that worked with another Pi, `wlan0` was still not visible.

If it helps, I can send you one of the defective Pis to play with.

jamesh
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:54 am

winnall wrote:
jamesh wrote:This is not a HW problem, it's a driver issue.
This is encouraging. However, it does not match my experience.

The board failed when I did my cron-driven weekly reboot. I hadn't changed any software. Also, when I booted the defective Pi with the USB stick that worked with another Pi, `wlan0` was still not visible.

If it helps, I can send you one of the defective Pis to play with.
We are waiting for updated firmware for the Wifi from Broadcom - not a quick process, and I'm pretty sure there are SW issues with the driver. The HW is pretty simple, so unless your specific device has an issue, I doubt there is quality issue with the Pi3 design itself.
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mikerr
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:24 am

Here's the github thread which may be your problem

https://github.com/raspberrypi/linux/issues/1342

from that there's the following possible workarounds:
  • change router wifi channel from 11 to 6
  • ensure country is set correctly in /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf ( connecting from a Samsung phone kills wifi if not ?!)
  • turn off roaming but creating/edting file /etc/modprobe.d/brcmfmac.conf :

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    options brcmfmac roamoff=1
  • turn off IPv6 in/etc/modprobe.d/ipv6.conf:

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    alias net-pf-10 off
    alias ipv6 off
    options ipv6 disable_ipv6=1
also look here:
http://projectable.me/optimize-my-pi-wi-fi/

Personally I have had problems with pi3 and channel 11 in the past, so avoid that if possible.
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winnall
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:04 pm

mikerr wrote:Here's the github thread which may be your problem

https://github.com/raspberrypi/linux/issues/1342

from that there's the following possible workarounds:
  • change router wifi channel from 11 to 6
  • ensure country is set correctly in /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf ( connecting from a Samsung phone kills wifi if not ?!)
  • turn off roaming but creating/edting file /etc/modprobe.d/brcmfmac.conf :

    Code: Select all

    options brcmfmac roamoff=1
  • turn off IPv6 in/etc/modprobe.d/ipv6.conf:

    Code: Select all

    alias net-pf-10 off
    alias ipv6 off
    options ipv6 disable_ipv6=1
also look here:
http://projectable.me/optimize-my-pi-wi-fi/

Personally I have had problems with pi3 and channel 11 in the past, so avoid that if possible.
Thanks, I tried all that, but it made no difference. What I saw afterwards was the following:

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pi@b-mq-xx:~$ sudo dmesg | grep -i wlan

pi@b-mq-xx:~$ sudo ifconfig -a
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr b8:27:eb:b0:cd:9b  
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback  
          inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:65536  Metric:1
          RX packets:128 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:128 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1 
          RX bytes:10368 (10.1 KiB)  TX bytes:10368 (10.1 KiB)

pi@b-mq-xx:~$ sudo iwlist wlan0 scan
wlan0     Interface doesn't support scanning.
I tried using `systool`:

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pi@b-mq-xx:~$ sudo systool -a -v -m brcmfmac
Error opening module brcmfmac
The firmware:

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pi@b-mq-xx:~$ ls -l /lib/firmware/brcm/
total 4260
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root  96224 Jun  7  2016 bcm43xx-0.fw
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root    180 Jun  7  2016 bcm43xx_hdr-0.fw
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 397312 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac43143.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 385067 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac43143-sdio.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 455745 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac43241b0-sdio.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 403855 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac43241b4-sdio.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 253748 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac4329-sdio.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 222126 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac4330-sdio.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 451566 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac4334-sdio.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 569291 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac4335-sdio.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 219557 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac43362-sdio.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 369576 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac43430-sdio.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root   1108 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac43430-sdio.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 507752 Jun  7  2016 brcmfmac4354-sdio.bin
So I tried to load the brcmfmac module:

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pi@b-mq-xx:~$ sudo modprobe brcmfmac

pi@b-mq-xx:~$ lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by
brcmfmac              186403  0 
brcmutil                5661  1 brcmfmac
bnep                   10340  2 
bluetooth             326105  5 bnep
cfg80211              428871  1 brcmfmac
rfkill                 16037  3 cfg80211,bluetooth
bcm2835_gpiomem         2976  0 
bcm2835_wdt             3225  0 
uio_pdrv_genirq         3164  0 
uio                     8000  1 uio_pdrv_genirq
i2c_dev                 5859  0 
fuse                   84037  3 
ipv6                  347620  42 

pi@b-mq-xx:~$ sudo systool -a -v -m brcmfmac
Module = "brcmfmac"

  Attributes:
    coresize            = "186403"
    initsize            = "0"
    initstate           = "live"
    refcnt              = "0"
    srcversion          = "009A86FAE85BD6D0B28F445"
    taint               = ""
    uevent              = <store method only>

  Parameters:
    alternative_fw_path = 
    debug               = "0"
    fcmode              = "0"
    roamoff             = "1"

  Sections:
    .ARM.exidx.exit.text= "0x7f1e758c"
    .ARM.exidx.init.text= "0x7f1e7568"
    .ARM.exidx          = "0x7f1e86ec"
    .ARM.extab.exit.text= "0x7f1e7580"
    .ARM.extab          = "0x7f1e7594"
    .ARM.extab.init.text= "0x7f1e7544"
    .alt.smp.init       = "0x7f1e751c"
    .bss                = "0x7f1ea180"
    .data               = "0x7f1e927c"
    .data.unlikely      = "0x7f1e9f44"
    .exit.text          = "0x7f1dfdf8"
    .gnu.linkonce.this_module= "0x7f1e9f80"
    .init.text          = "0x7f1f1000"
    .note.gnu.build-id  = "0x7f1dfe1c"
    .rodata.str         = "0x7f1e16f8"
    .rodata             = "0x7f1dfe40"
    .rodata.str1.4      = "0x7f1e1cb4"
    .strtab             = "0x7f1f917c"
    .symtab             = "0x7f1f109c"
    .text               = "0x7f1c2000"
    __bug_table         = "0x7f1e1ac8"
    __mcount_loc        = "0x7f1e6f54"
    __param             = "0x7f1e6ec8"
But the module disappears again on reboot.

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winnall
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:19 pm

jamesh wrote:The HW is pretty simple, so unless your specific device has an issue, I doubt there is quality issue with the Pi3 design itself.
I'm not questioning the design, just what I've got in front of me, namely
  • a new Pi 3 whose wifi didn't work from the start
  • a Pi 3 which worked perfectly for 7 months until its wifi stopped working when it rebooted
  • a Pi 3 whose wifi stopped twice in 12 hours for no apparent reason yesterday
Out of 5 Pi 3s in total that's significant. It may just be a bad single batch which ended up in Switzerland.

I have a Realtek-based USB wifi dongle that works with all three defective Pi 3s, so the software is OK. I have two other Pi 3s that are working with effectively the same software configuration as the ones that don't.

Do you understand why I think it might be a hardware problem?

jamesh
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:37 pm

I can see why you might suspect it, but there is no proof one way or the other. My suspicion is a driver issue, since we have quite a few reports in github with the same symptoms that I am fairly sure are either driver or firmware problems, not HW.
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winnall
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Re: Does the Pi 3 have a quality problem with onboard wifi?

Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:48 pm

jamesh wrote:My suspicion is a driver issue, since we have quite a few reports in github with the same symptoms that I am fairly sure are either driver or firmware problems, not HW.
Thanks for the feedback, Jamesh.

Could you tell me what files I should be looking at to verify that it is a driver or a firmware problem? Because they should be different on the machines that are working and the ones that are not...

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