Disappearing WiFi with rt2800pci

I recently did a routine package update on my Fedora 24 laptop. I’ve had the laptop for three years and have been running various Fedorae the whole time, so I didn’t think much of it. So it came as some surprise to me when after rebooting I could no longer connect to my WiFi network. In fact, there was no indication that any wireless networks were even available.

Since the update included a new kernel, I thought that might be the issue. Rebooting into the old kernel seemed to fix it (more on that later!), so I filed a bug, excluded kernel packages from future updates, and moved on.

But a few days later, I rebooted and my WiFi was gone again. The kernel hadn’t updated, so what could it be? I spent a lot of time flailing around until I found a “solution”. A four-year-old forum post said don’t reboot. Booting from off or suspending and resuming the laptop will cause the wireless to work again.

And it turns out, that “fixed” it for me. A few other posts seemed to suggest power management issues in the rt2800pci driver. I guess that’s what’s going on here, though I can’t figure out why I’m suddenly seeing it after so long. Seems like a weird failure mode for failing hardware.

Here’s what dmesg and the systemd journal reported:

Aug 01 14:54:24 localhost.localdomain kernel: ieee80211 phy0: rt2800_wait_wpdma_ready: Error - WPDMA TX/RX busy [0x00000068]
Aug 01 14:54:24 localhost.localdomain kernel: ieee80211 phy0: rt2800pci_set_device_state: Error - Device failed to enter state 4 (-5)

Hopefully, this post saves someone else a little bit of time in trying to figure out what’s going on.

8 thoughts on “Disappearing WiFi with rt2800pci

  1. thanks – it helped me also – I need to cold boot the laptop to get this working on fedora 24.

  2. Thanks man! This post helps, it is all the evening I working to figure out this issue I did a lot restart to apply various modification to configuration… once I shutdown the computer and start it again the ralink wifi works again.

    It is a little strange to me why this issue it is still present and never fixed, I will go on to search if there have a definitive solution, cannot restart sometime could be an annoying issue.

  3. Thanks… Just after Debian 10 minimal install cause of network issues, I was installing xfce4 after…
    And the same issue with the same wifi card happened.. Network by wifi has been fixes using this trick !!

  4. 🙂 Saved my day! Wiped Windows from an old HP Pavilion Elite 430SC – network was up and down (mostly down). Suspend and resume worked.

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