I decided to use some of my rolled-over vacation days this week and give myself a four-day weekend. It’s been nice, and I’ve crossed a few items off my tasklist: rebuilt the okcomputer.org CA, put new tires on the car, installed DD-WRT on my Linksys WRT54G wireless router.

Things were humming along until about two hours ago, when my laptop started doing that annoying thing where Network Manager just out of the blue asks for your wireless key. This has happened in the past, and sometimes I’ve been able to just give my wireless key and move on, other times I’ve had to log out and log back in before it would work again. It hadn’t happened in quite a while (maybe since the Gutsy upgrade), and I hadn’t thought about it in a while.

Well, tonight it hit me out of nowhere and I’m down hard. Nothing I do seems to fix it. I’ve deleted the login keyring, logged out and back in, but when I provide Network Manager with the key on login it never gets saved to the new keyring.

The logs seem to indicate that when I submit the key Network Manager sends out DHCP requests, but never gets a response. This would make sense if the key isn’t working and the DHCP requests aren’t encrypted correctly. But why wouldn’t the key work? Why did the key stop working in the first place?

Is my wireless card just crapping out? Maybe. It’s over three years old, but I still seem to be getting a decent signal.

Could it have something to do with my installing DD-WRT on the router earlier this evening? I doubt it — I used the router successfully for several hours before the problem started, and two other laptops work just fine — but I feel like I can’t rule out such an obvious potential connection.

I’ve got a few more ideas for debugging this, but I’m going to bed now and I’ve got a full day scheduled for tomorrow. I’ll post an update tomorrow night.

UPDATE (Sun Jan 20 09:24):

Well, it’s working now, but I’m not exactly sure why. I power-cycled the router last night before bed and then booted the laptop this morning after breakfast. As expected, I immediately got the “Wireless Network Key Required” dialog box. So I stopped the gnome-keyring-daemon, deleted ~/.gnome2/keyrings/login.keyring and then rebooted for good measure. This time when I logged in and got the “Key Required” dialog box, I gave it the key, tailed the logs and watched the DHCP process complete successfully. Sure enough, I’m online.

The only differences between this morning and last night are the power-cycled router and my proximity. I’m about three feet away from the router now. Last night I was downstairs in the living room, but I’ve routinely used the laptop there in the past and I was using another wireless laptop from there last night. I’ll just take what I can get now, and then do some distance testing later today when I have more time.

UPDATE (Mon Jan 21 12:09):

Everything has worked fine for the past 27 hours. Honestly, I’ve got no idea what happened or why I was able to fix it on Sunday with techniques that didn’t work on Saturday. The only variable that I can’t account for is the router that I power-cycled. Maybe something was monkeyed up with the leases in the DHCP server….

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