Linux Wifi

A guide to tuning your wifi for adverse conditions.

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  • Increase speed. The faster everyone is connected, the shorter their time slice is and the less contention you will run in to. This is something that must usually be enforced on the wireless AP, not at the client level.
  • Fragment your packets. Normally packets are set in one piece, as large as possible. Use iwconfig wlan0 frag 256 to chop the packets up smaller. This hurts your throughput, but makes the packets much more likely to slip by everyone else's.
  • Enable rts handshaking. Before sending a packet, handshake with the AP to guarantee that it is listening. This really hurts your throughput but does wonders for getting the attention of the access point. The default is to only perform the handshake on packets bigger than 2kB. Force it for all packets with iwconfig wlan0 rts 1.
  • Increase the retry levels. Persistence is key for pushing through a crowd and this holds true for wireless contention as well. Normally your card gives up after seven attempts at sending a packet. Thirty is more reasonable, tune with iwconfig wlan0 retry 30.
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