The more I find out, the less I know!

You need to have read the previous two parts of this saga before proceeding.

How (not) to install Windows 7 on a USB3 computer

What could possibly go wrong?


So, there I was, having resolved all the problems, including the one caused by an assumption that, despite an Ethernet cable having worked correctly for a long time, that it still worked! The problem was, that after a day or so, the cable I replaced it with, began to develop the same problems. Too much of a co-incidence?

One night, a few days later, I was struggling to get to sleep, so I picked up my phone and did a search online, specifically about Ethernet interfaces that use the r8169 driver. My previous computer had also used the same driver, without a moment’s problem. But the driver covers a number of RealTek interfaces, and doesn’t necessarily work with the latest ones. The way it works is that RealTek issues a driver (r8168) that you have to build locally from its source, and will have to be rebuilt every time you change the kernel, and you have to “blacklist” the r8169 driver from the kernel. RealTek keep their driver up to date, and then the Linux Kernel people incorporate it into the kernel from time to time.

Return from Windows

There was also a weird problem, in that these interfaces sometimes play up in Linux after you return from running Windows (also never happened on my old computer). I had a third problem,  because Windows itself obviously uses the Windows driver included on the CD that came with my motherboard, but that was flakey, too! I did try compiling the r8168 driver for Linux, and the connection was more solid, but took far too much time to start. It was at that time, that the Wireless dongle I had sent off for, came through the letterbox.

I decided to plug it in and try it. There was a disk that came with it which got it running 100% perfectly in Windows 7. The only problem I had with it in Linux was to change some settings to prevent a start-up delay while the computer looks for the wired internet (which I had disconnected). Once that was done, the login was instant! And solid. It just goes to show!

Computer mounted on wall. Wireless dongle plugged in at top left.

Computer mounted on wall. Wireless dongle plugged in at top left.

The actual chip in the Wireless Dongle is a Ralink 5370 and it runs off the driver rt2800usb in Linux. Unless you get a faulty item, it’s rock solid!

Wireless Dongle Speeds

This is a 150Mbps dongle. It’s easy to be seduced by promises of 300Mbps, 600 or even 1200Mbps, but if you have ADSL (and in truth, even Cable/Fibre broadband), you’ll be lucky to ever get anywhere near 150Mbps download speed. So the dongle will keep up with your internet. Just saying! ADSL where I am, being far from the local telephone exchange, is a rather sad 2.64Mbps, and it keeps up fine with YouTube videos and the like.

Anyway, the saga is over, I hope! My new computer, built lovingly over the last month or so, is working, almost silently, running cool, and now with rock solid internet. Fingers crossed!


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