Fixing slow laptop wifi on linux

I’ve got a nice shiny Samsung Series 7 laptop with Broadcom based 802.11n wifi in it. I’m using xubuntu on it and it was working very well, but every so often I noticed that the wireless connection was running very slowly.

Eventually I realised it was only happening when it was running on battery.

I delved into the power settings and found that the wireless card was being put into a power saving mode. After a lot of searching I found out how to turn this off.

iwconfig wlan0 power off

Once I have run this command the speed returns to normal, and there is only a tiny increase in power consumption.

To make this permanent you can make a file called /etc/pm/power.d/wireless containing the following:

/sbin/iwconfig  wlan0 power off

This will be run automatically by the power management in Ubuntu.

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  1. Ouch… this just bit me on Sam Series 9 running Gentoo. Thanks for helping!

  2. That’s a good little tip, as slow internet is one of the most annoying things when using a computer. For the most part I only run my ubuntu machine whilst plugged in but I’ll certainly make the change for the future.

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