WLAN: towards a solution for the roaming freeze

Andy Green andy at openmoko.com
Fri Jan 23 13:50:39 CET 2009

Hash: SHA1

Somebody in the thread at some point said:

|> There's no point altruistically researching Atheros
|> firmware bugs if it won't pay off for us?
| Why do you think it does not pay off for us if we look for solutions
| for problems our customers experience because we chose to include
| the Atheros module in our product ?

It's a different question, I take it we agree "there is no point
researching Atheros firmware bugs if it won't pay off for us".

As it stands, it seems it won't pay off for us as there's no update path
right now, it'll be grief to get, prove and support one.  It'll be money
to get Atheros to update our fly-in-amber binary firmware since we can't
do it ourselves (by design, since it's binary-only non redistributable
firmware right now).  AR6001 is not their latest product either.

However, if they're willing to update the firmware for free and give us
a Linux firmware update applet or code we can adapt, it can make sense.
~ But I think we should find out about that first since "there's no
point... if it won't pay off for us".

| Also, this problem was reported as a repeatable real-life observation
| by users. It's not just an artefact I create with obscure lab
| experiments.

Yet it's going to be uncommon in the global sense... most users do not
have same SSID on different channels.  I have seen it in some hotels and
airports.  I am sure it is a real problem.

|> I guess the user will hit on
|> NetworkManager or whatever icon and try to reconnect.  It's what I would
|> do anyway.
| Yes, I think a way to trigger a manual reset complete with
| reconfiguration is a good option to have. However, manual
| intervention is often undesirable. E.g., you may roam without
| actually noticing, and having your connections hang seemingly
| randomly gets annoying very quickly.

Fine, for sure it's not a fix: it's inherently undesirable to have to
use it.  But, we have every reason to think it'll be effective
workaround and we can probably stitch it in by ourselves.  If it comes
down to when moving from one office to another, some people have to
click the NM button and reselect the SSID it's annoying but actually
pretty contained issue.

- -Andy
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