Wifi Standards

dos2unix

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While Wifi and even networking in general isn't technically "Linux" per se. Linux admins should be familiar with how to setup
networking on Linux systems. Most people know how to do this at a rudimentary level, at least in the GUI. More advanced
users know how to do these things from the command line.

But knowing "how" to change the settings, is different than knowing "what" to change the settings to.

Most computers these days come with Wifi adapters built-in, but some either aren't compatible with Linux, or don't
come with Wifi at all. So then, what kind of Wifi adapter should I get?

This is a Link to Linksys about Wifi standards.


b, g, n, and a aren't nearly as fast as ac or ax. So getting one of these adapters can make your internet speeds quite
a bit faster. However, you're only as fast as your weakest link. So even if you have an ac or ax adapter in your computer,
but your Wifi router only supports g or n, guess what. You're only going to get g or n speeds.

The second thing to note here, is that rarely ( if ever ) will ever get to use the full bandwidth of newer ( ac or ax ) wifi
adapters for your internet. Most of us don't have 10Gig internet connections going to our houses. So really this only
helps you if you have two ( or more ) computers with fast wifi adapters. Then you can get high speed at least from a
local computer to another local computer.

On the other hand, many of us ( myself included ) do have internet connections of faster than b, g, or a speeds. So
a faster wifi router and wifi adapter comes in pretty handy.

Yet a third thing to think about here. USB standards. If your wifi adapter is built in, on your motherboard, you don't
really have to worry about this too much, but if you're using a USB dongle type wifi adapter, there are some things
you need to know. For example USB standard 1.1 only supports 12mbs through put, so even if you buy the right
wifi router and wifi adapter, but you're plugged into the wrong kind of USB port... guess what. Yep, it only goes as
fast as your USB port supports.


So it's good to know what USB standards your computer supports. You might not be able to change them, but at
least you'll know why that new ac or ax wifi adapter isn't any faster than your old b or g wifi adapter.
 


Along the same lines as the post above... ethernet. It used to be that all computers came with ethernet ( RJ45 )
connectors. But the last few laptops I've looked at don't come with ethernet adapters. All of the new laptops where
I work are missing ethernet adapters also. No big deal, everyone uses wifi right? Well no, in our data center
Wifi is not allowed. Also at my house I tend to run wired ( ethernet ) whenever I can, even if the computer has a
wifi adapter, I still like to run ethernet. Mostly for personal reasons, but also virtually all ethenet adapters are
compatible with Linux, as opposed to Wifi where there are still a few adapters that can be difficult to use with Linux.

But even ethernet has different standards. In the old days we have 10meg ethernet. Then some computers
came with "fast" ethernet 100meg. Most network cards were 10/100 cards, meaning they could support 10
or 100meg. Most computers sold in the last decade or so have Gig ethernet. Which is a lot faster than "fast"
ethernet. Fast ethernet was fast for it's time, but it's slow compared to Gig Ethernet of today.


Some servers even come with 10gig and even 40gig ethernet adapters. We sometimes combine these to
get 80gig throughput. Now you never actually get the advertised bandwidth of any adapter, but at least it's
a baseline to compare the speeds of different adapters.

Again, like Wifi... it doesn't matter if I have Gig Ethernet on my two PCs, if I only have a 100meg router.
Guess what speed those computers are going to talk to each other at? Thats right 100meg. You're only
as fast as your weakest link.

Because some of my computers don't come with Ethernet, I've had to buy USB to Ethernet adapters.
But remember, USB has speed standards also, so if I plug my gigEthernet adapter into a USB 1 port
that only support 12mbs. Guess what speed my Ethernet is going to run at? That's right 12mbs.

I know all of this isn't a comprehensive full article by any means, but at least it gives some of us a starting
point for things to look at when configuring our local network.
 
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I've already mentioned "the weakest link" here a few times. This is also true from computer to computer.

So even if I have a fast wifi router ( ac or ax ) and my computer has a fast ax wifi adapter, but the computer
I'm sending or receiving data from only has a b or g, wifi adapter. Guess what speed we're going to be talking at?

That's right, the slower one. You're only as fast as the weakest link.
 
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We don't have any stickied threads in this sub-forum, so I'll sticky this one for a few days.

I might use it as crib notes for an article. Shh!!! Nobody will ever notice!
 
@dos2unix :-

No big deal, everyone uses wifi right? Well no, in our data center Wifi is not allowed. Also at my house I tend to run wired ( ethernet ) whenever I can, even if the computer has a wifi adapter, I still like to run ethernet. Mostly for personal reasons, but also virtually all ethenet adapters are compatible with Linux, as opposed to Wifi where there are still a few adapters that can be difficult to use with Linux.

Very much the same with me. I just prefer Ethernet to wi-fi, even though they're both available.

This HP Pavilion desktop rig has one of these modern Bluetooth/wifi 'combo' chips (after 3 years, I still can't get my head round this; desktop rigs with wi-fi.......huh?? Like, what's THAT all about, mm..?), in addition to Gigabit Ethernet. I've always used Ethernet; to my way of thinking, it's just so much more stable.

To each their own.


Mike. ;)
 
So is there a terminal command that will show what networking gear is present in my Linux computer?.....that doesn't stretch from here to Antarctica and can be reasonably easily read/deciphered ?
 
inxi -n is pretty basic. It gives an output something like this:

Code:
$ inxi -n
Network:
  Device-1: Intel Comet Lake PCH CNVi WiFi driver: iwlwifi
  IF: wlan0 state: down mac: 22:18:f4:24:cf:8d
  Device-2: Realtek driver: r8169
  IF: eth0 state: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full mac: b7:2f:14:0b:8c:8d

EDIT: Some of these tools may not be installed. Here are others:

Code:
sudo lshw -class network

sudo hwinfo --network
 
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is there a terminal command that will show what networking gear is present in my Linux computer?

lspci | egrep "Wi-Fi|Ethernet"

04:00.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82571EB/82571GB Gigabit Ethernet Controller D0/D1 (copper applications) (rev 06)
04:00.1 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82571EB/82571GB Gigabit Ethernet Controller D0/D1 (copper applications) (rev 06)
05:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Wi-Fi 6 AX200 (rev 1a)
06:00.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation I211 Gigabit Network Connection (rev 03)
 
If you're using Ethernet with a GigE switch or router, there is more to be aware of.


Cable standards.... uggghh... yes, it's complicated.
Wifi standards, USB standards, Ethernet Standards, Cable standards, where does it end?

As @KGIII mentioned above, these standards have nothing to do with Linux, they are the same
for Windows, BSD, Solaris, AIX, HP/UX, MacOS, and the Penguin too.
 
So it's great that we know we kind of hardware we have, and what it's capabilities are.
But what speed are we actually connected at?

For ethernet, I usually use "ethtool".

ethtool enp6s0
Settings for enp6s0:
Supported ports: [ TP ]
Supported link modes: 10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full
100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full
1000baseT/Full
Supported pause frame use: Symmetric
Supports auto-negotiation: Yes
Supported FEC modes: Not reported
Advertised link modes: 10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full
100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full
1000baseT/Full
Advertised pause frame use: Symmetric
Advertised auto-negotiation: Yes
Advertised FEC modes: Not reported
Speed: 1000Mb/s
Duplex: Full
Auto-negotiation: on
Port: Twisted Pair
PHYAD: 1
Transceiver: internal
MDI-X: on (auto)
netlink error: Operation not permitted
Current message level: 0x00000007 (7)
drv probe link
Link detected: yes

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just replace enp6s0 with whatever your ethernet interface name is.

The three most important lines in this output are....

Speed: This will normally be 10 or 100 or 1000, obviously higher is faster.
Duplex: What's a Duplex? Full duplex means you can send and receive data at the same time.
Half duplex means I can only send or receive data at a given microsecond. I can't do
both simultaneously.
Link detected: yes is what you want here. No means I can't see any device connected.
 
Well, that's great for ethernet, but what about wifi?

I use this command...

nmcli dev wifi list

1696925616022.png


Normally I like to paste the text output from a command here, but when I tried to do that, the strength bars
didn't display correctly, so I did a screen snapshot instead.

The top four lines are from two wifi routers in my house. The bottom four lines are from my neighbor next door.

It's nice to know what channel I'm using, this is usually selected automatically by your wifi router. On my routers
I can over-ride what channel I want to use, this comes in handy if your neighbors are using the same channels you are.

The RATE tells me how fast I can connect at. In my case I can connect at 540mbs to either one of my routers.
I suppose if I knew my neighbors password, I could connect to his router at 405mbs ( slightly slower than mine ).

The SIGNAL and BARS tell me how strong the signal is. In my house the signal strength is 100 and almost 90.
My neighbors house is 69 on his 2.4GHz channels and about 35 on his 5GHz channels.

It's pretty normal for 2.4GHz to have more range than 5GHz. That's why it has higher bars.
 
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