Devices cannot connect to WiFi on NanoPi R1

I have a FriendlyArm Nanopi R1 (unfortunately still 18.06), and originally I used to be able to connect to it. However after I messed something up, I had to reinstall the firmware image, and while cable connection and internet on it works, I only once got connecting to the wireless network of it working. (after that I tried adding a guest network, only to find out that the WiFi chip probably doesn't support multiple SSIDs, so I had to start over again) E.g. on iOS it will just spend ages trying to connect, sporadically saying "No internet connection", and eventually say "Failed to connect". KRACK countermeasures are enabled, but it didn't work without them either, and long or short preamble as well as 802.11b compatibility didn't change anything as well, same goes for channel and distance. Encryption was always WPA2-PSK (force CCMP) and transmit power 20 dBM (100 mW). Country is set to DE. It seems to notice that I try to connect, because whenever I do the signal strength display in Luci goes from 0% to 95% or 100%.

Start with targetted debugging.

  • is the wireless driver (brcmfmac) installed and loaded, what about error messages in dmesg.
  • is the necessary firmware (/lib/firmware/brcm/brcmfmac43455-sdio.bin?) installed and loaded, dmesg again.
  • what about the required boardfile (/lib/firmware/brcm/brcmfmac43455-sdio.txt?), dmesg again.

Once that's sorted, you can check if the wireless is technically functional (iw dev wlan0 scan and iwinfo radio0 scan). If you've succeeded this far without encountering any issues or error messages and gotten back a list of BSSIDs nearby, congratulations, the wireless is basically working - now you need to divert your debugging up towards the higher levels of the stack, namely hostapd and netifd - start by checking logread for error messages or warnings.

Start testing with a simple/ default wireless config:

# rm /etc/config/wireless
# wifi config

Don't configure anything but your regulatory domain and enabling the interface.

Slowly add your desired configuration options (encryption in particular) and constantly try connecting/ scanning for it from a client, watch logread -f in real-time, etc.

None of this would directly solve your issues (aside from probably starting with a clean default wifi config), but you should then have a pretty good idea what is failing - and maybe even why. Once you know this, it should be easy to start working on fixing this. brcmfmac might not be the most cooperative driver, but it's rather common and should basically work.

I think I now figured what the issue was. I thought it was a good idea to attach the WAN interfaces to the WiFi, as this is not my main router / DHCP server, just an access point, however it wasn't. I looked at the differences between what I had done and the default configuration. What solved it in the end was bridging all physical interfaces together on the LAN interface, then disable DHCP and delete the WAN interfaces. But thanks anyway @slh.

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