My kogan agora pro has just returned from six weeks abroad, where is was regularly put to the test booking flights, trains, accommodation and other general duties.
There are many great things to like about travelling with the agora netbook – it is light and easy to carry in a backpack, the battery life was good and only needed charging every few days, and on flights it makes a great video player to pass the time.
There is also a downside – the under-performance of the wireless network adapter. On many occasions at hotels and in pubs and restaurants I was unable to connect to the free wifi on offer. Some networks were visible in the network manager but I could not connect to them, whilst other networks would simply not appear in the available list. Very frustrating!
Viewing the syslog often revealed that dhclient struggled to receive a DHCP response from the access point (AP), even though connection negotiation had commenced. dhclient would timeout, and end the connection negotiations. The following is an example from syslog:
Activation (eth1) starting connection ‘Auto FreeWifi’
Activation (eth1/wireless): connection ‘Auto FreeWifi’ requires no security. No secrets needed.
Activation (eth1/wireless) Stage 2 of 5 (Device Configure) successful. Connected to wireless network ‘FreeWifi’.
dhclient: Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client V3.1.1
dhclient: DHCPDISCOVER on eth1 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 4
dhclient: DHCPDISCOVER on eth1 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 8
dhclient: DHCPDISCOVER on eth1 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 18
dhclient: DHCPDISCOVER on eth1 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 20
Device ‘eth1′ DHCP transaction took too long (>45s), stopping it.
eth1: canceled DHCP transaction, dhcp client pid 3410
Often if I moved closer to where the AP was physically located, I would be able to connect – but I had to be within around 10 meters. This is wireless, not bluetooth! The difference between 20 meters and 10 meters should not limit my ability to connect.
Now that my agora pro is home, I have done some simple tests and compared them to a Dell laptop. Looking at the available wireless networks on each laptop side by side, I immediately noticed that whilst the Dell could see my AP as well as the APs of three neighbours, the kogan agora could only see my AP (see screenshots below). Even though I live in suburbia and the neighbours are only over the fence, their APs are out of range for the agora.
Also, using the
iwlist program, I was able to check the signal strength of my AP from each laptop. First up, the Dell:
ESSID:”g.kayno.net” Quality=39/100 Signal level=-77 dBm
ESSID:”BigPond7178″ Quality=31/100 Signal level=-81 dBm
ESSID:”Sky Captain” Quality=33/100 Signal level=-80 dBm
Followed by the kogan agora pro:
ESSID:”g.kayno.net” Quality=25/100 Signal level=-80 dBm
The agora comes in slightly lower, however no matter how many different locations around my home I try, I cannot see the neighbour’s APs.
I have been told by Neerav Bhatt that the latest batch of agora netbooks from kogan have a new wireless card with a Ralink chipset that addresses the performance problems. If anyone has recently brought a kogan agora netbook, and has the new card, please comment below on performance. I’d love to hear how well it works, and also see a photo!