Fix WiFi Not Working (or Slows Down) In Ubuntu With Bluetooth Turned On

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Recently, I have been playing a lot with Ubuntu 16.04 (and Ubuntu based) distro’s a lot. Having been shifted to Elementary OS Loki (from ever updating Windows 10), I immediately started missing the ability to connect and use Bluetooth headset. This has been a known issue especially for relatively older devices such as mine (Dell Inspiron 15R N5110 having Intel Centrino Wireless-N 1030) wherein the bt_coex_active didn’t behave as expected.

Under normal circumstances, bt_coex_active is supposed to prevent interference between Bluetooth and wireless but in some buggy implementations, bt_coex_active remains under the impression that the Bluetooth is always transmitting and thus never gives a chance to the wireless device to transmit i.e. connectivity loss or intermittent packet transfers.

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Before coming across this possible solution on StackOverflow, I messed around system drivers, extracting from Windows and porting back to linux machine. This might work in other cases but it should really be the last resort. If you are facing a similar issue (or remotely similar), I will suggest you to turn off bt_coex_active and see if it works.

To implement this fix,

  • First, swap out the kernel module for WiFi using modprobe
    sudo modprobe -r iwlwifi
  • Second, swap back in the kernel module for WiFi using modprobe with bt_coex_active disabled
    sudo modprobe iwlwifi bt_coex_active=N

Now check if Bluetooth and WiFi as working as expected (and maybe a speed test). If everything is working fine, make this change permanent by,

echo “options iwlwifi bt_coex_active=N” | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/iwlwifi.conf

If things go south, simply swap back to default wifi module,

sudo modprobe -r iwlwifi

sudo modprobe iwlwifi

You can read more about the modprobe here and about Bluetooth coexistence here.

Note – This article has been put together to gather all resource in a single page rather than hopping around askubuntu, superuser, etc. links. Source link has been mentioned below.

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