• Howto Install the Realtek 8171 Wireless Driver in Linux

    I was asked to install Linux on a brand new laptop today (yet another who doesn't like Win 7!), it was an Advent M100 which contains the Realtek SemiConductor 8171 Wireless Adaptor.

    The card is detected by the kernel (on Kubuntu) but no drivers are available, so neither ifconfig or NetworkManager find the device.

     

  • Usurping the BTHomeHub with a Raspberry Pi: Part 1

    I used to run a nice pfSense box as my router, unfortunately power bills being what they are, I reverted back to using a BTHomeHub. Unfortunately, the BTHomeHub isn't particularly good - the Wifi signal sucks, it's DNS server seems to daydream and it occasionally forgets that it should be assigning some devices the same IP every time (or more precisely, will give their IP away if they are not currently present).

    We could, of course, replace the HomeHub with something a bit more up market, but where's the fun in that? In this post, we'll be starting down the route of using a Raspberry Pi to usurp some of the power the BTHomeHub currently holds over the LAN. Eventually, the HH will be acting as nothing but a dumb internet gateway, doing a little bit of NAT and not much else.

  • Xiaomi MIUI "Can't Connect To Internet" on Wireless Network

    Google's Android OS used to have an annoying feature - smart network switch - which would inevitably lead to it sitting there, not using your wireless network, displaying the message "No network access".

    This usually happened as you got home, because it had picked up your wifi at the very extreme edge of it's reach, and the test probes had failed as a result.

    The functionality works by placing some test HTTP requests when connected to a wifi network - if those requests fail, it's considered that the wifi doesn't have network access. This (fairly flawed) methodology doesn't properly account for a range of possible failures in the test itself.

     

    Xiaomi

    Unfortunately, Xiaomi appear to have felt the need to replicate this behaviour in MIUI - the only real difference is that Xiaomi's functionality displays "Can't Connect to Internet" on the wifi network.

    The result is that having previously been to the margins of your coverage, you'll eventually notice that your phone is relying on mobile data instead of wifi, and has eaten your battery (and your data allowance) as a result.

    Anecdotally, the issue seems to have become more prevalent recently.