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#1 2022-07-12 22:55:05

nobodyuknow
Member
Registered: 2017-09-10
Posts: 162  

[SOLVED] new systems lose wireless (RTL8821CE) connectivity

I have a strange laptop, with AMD hardware (it's a gray market from Asia). I've got Devuan Cinnamon installed on the internal NVMe SSD. It has gone through many updates.

But as a hobby, and because I had spare hardware lying around, I installed Devuan Xfce on a USB flash drive and Devuan MATE on an external SSD. Both were initially installed on a different laptop, one with Intel hardware, simply because it's older and can have its internal SSD easily removed (I don't like dual-boots). I installed the necessary hardware packages, same as I did with the internal system, and then tried to use it on the AMD laptop.

On all systems, I must install firmware-amd-graphics and rtl8821ce-dkms_5.5.2.1-7~mx21+1_all.deb, though with the latter, I must first install dkms and other prerequisites.

But that's where the trouble begins. The Xfce and MATE systems do not have wireless connectivity on the AMD laptop even though I followed the exact same steps as with the Cinnamon system.

Anyone have a guess why the internal system keeps running fine, while the two external systems died a premature death? I don't think the choice of desktop has anything to do with it. All of the above are Chimaera 4.0.

And some Linux distributions run fine on external SSDs and USB flash drives, for example, Manjaro KDE/Plasma and Xfce.

Last edited by nobodyuknow (2022-07-13 21:39:53)

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#2 2022-07-13 16:22:36

Head_on_a_Stick
Member
From: London
Registered: 2019-03-24
Posts: 2,733  

Re: [SOLVED] new systems lose wireless (RTL8821CE) connectivity

Compare the outputs of these commands in the various systems:

lspci -knn | grep -A3 Network
ip link

The first will show your card and drivers, the second will list all network interfaces. Post them all here (using code tags) if you can't make any sense of them.


"Who's the idiot in charge?" — ralph.ronnquist

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#3 2022-07-13 18:41:20

nobodyuknow
Member
Registered: 2017-09-10
Posts: 162  

Re: [SOLVED] new systems lose wireless (RTL8821CE) connectivity

Below is the output. I had to go back and verify that in the "ip link" section, the USB-connected system really was missing the wlan0 entry. Also, in the lspci output, the entries for Realtek wireless are rather different, even though I dpkg-ed the same .deb file. This is bizarre. I will never again buy a "refurbished" laptop from Newegg.

FOR THE CINNAMON SYSTEM RUNNING ON INTERNAL NVME SSD:

~$ lspci -knn | grep -A3 Network
03:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8821CE 802.11ac PCIe Wireless Network Adapter [10ec:c821]
	Subsystem: Hewlett-Packard Company RTL8821CE 802.11ac PCIe Wireless Network Adapter [103c:831a]
	Kernel driver in use: rtl8821ce
	Kernel modules: rtw88_8821ce, rtl8821ce
04:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Picasso [1002:15d8] (rev c2)

:~$ ip link
1: lo: <LOOPBACK,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 65536 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
    link/loopback 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd 00:00:00:00:00:00
2: eth0: <NO-CARRIER,BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state DOWN mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 14:cb:19:1a:4e:50 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
3: wlan0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc mq state UP mode DORMANT group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 64:6c:80:91:0a:a9 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff




FOR THE MATE SYSTEM RUNNING ON EXTERNAL SSD VIA USB 3.0:

~$ lspci -knn | grep -A3 Network
03:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8821CE 802.11ac PCIe Wireless Network Adapter [10ec:c821]
	Subsystem: Hewlett-Packard Company RTL8821CE 802.11ac PCIe Wireless Network Adapter [103c:831a]
	Kernel modules: rtw88_8821ce
04:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Picasso [1002:15d8] (rev c2)
	DeviceName:  Onboard IGD




~$ ip link
1: lo: <LOOPBACK,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 65536 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
    link/loopback 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd 00:00:00:00:00:00
2: eth0: <NO-CARRIER,BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state DOWN mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 14:cb:19:1a:4e:50 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

Last edited by nobodyuknow (2022-07-13 18:48:58)

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#4 2022-07-13 18:53:01

nobodyuknow
Member
Registered: 2017-09-10
Posts: 162  

Re: [SOLVED] new systems lose wireless (RTL8821CE) connectivity

On the Devuan Xfce system, I tried dpkg-ing the .deb file again, but then I was informed that kernel headers were missing.

And things could be worse. A Linux Mint MATE system I created the same way on another external SSD has completely died, refusing to boot with never-ending "read-only filesystem" errors.

Maybe this laptop is Arch-only for external systems. Good thing the extra SSDs were bought cheap.

Last edited by nobodyuknow (2022-07-13 19:23:48)

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#5 2022-07-13 21:47:41

nobodyuknow
Member
Registered: 2017-09-10
Posts: 162  

Re: [SOLVED] new systems lose wireless (RTL8821CE) connectivity

After doing some surfing, I discovered that a driver for RTL8821CE is problematic. Some distributions include it and some (Devuan) don't. I suspect that when a new kernel is installed, my external systems die. I still don't understand why an internally-installed system does not die as well. I think I'll make make multiple backups of the internally-installed system.

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#6 2022-07-14 14:46:52

nobodyuknow
Member
Registered: 2017-09-10
Posts: 162  

Re: [SOLVED] new systems lose wireless (RTL8821CE) connectivity

It seems that the 5.15 kernel is needed to run Debian-based systems with RTL8821CE.

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