QCA6174 showing terrible performance when connecting via WPA3-SAE

James Prestwood prestwoj at gmail.com
Mon Apr 29 11:23:11 PDT 2024

Hi Eric,

On 4/29/24 5:18 AM, Kalle Valo wrote:
> Eric Park <me at ericswpark.com> writes:
>> On 4/25/24 5:51 AM, Kalle Valo wrote:
>>> I do not use Network Manager or other connection managers when testing.
>>> It's much more reliable to use wpasupplicant directly and you get full
>>> control. I usually create a custom config file and then start the
>>> supplicant manually. Some pointers:
>>> (...)
>> I had some time today to test this, but unfortunately I couldn't
>> figure out if wpa_supplicant was using WPA2 or WPA3. Trying to connect
>> via `key_mgmt=SAE` caused `dhcpcd` to time out looking for carriers,
>> so I guess it was connecting via WPA2. In any case the speed results
>> were the same as disabling WPA3 on the router-side.
> If you run wpa_supplicant -dddt (or similar) you get a lot of debug
> output, I'm sure it will also include the cipher.
>> The reason I'm sending this email despite not making much progress
>> above is because it turns out I was chasing a red herring. The real
>> problem behind the degraded throughput was 802.11w. The router was
>> advertising support for it (802.11w capable but optional), but was not
>> forcing clients that didn't have the capability (required mode).
>> In Optional mode, I was experiencing the degraded performance. But
>> after I disabled 802.11w on the router side, the speeds recovered to
>> normal levels on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, even connected over
>> WPA3.
>> So I'm guessing something on the driver's side is signaling that it
>> supports 802.11w, when in reality it doesn't or some bug with the
>> implementation causes the speed to drop. Or maybe there's an overhead
>> I'm unaware of when 802.11w is enabled? My limited understanding of
>> 802.11w is that the management frames are protected to prevent deauth
>> attacks.
>> I'm not sure where to begin troubleshooting this, but in the interim
>> can I disable the capability advertising on the driver-level? I don't
>> want to disable 802.11w on my entire network, if possible.
> Very good that you found this is 802.11w related. What is the make and
> model of your router?
> I don't know how well ath10k 802.11w support is tested and then it was
> last tested. Do you happen to have other Access Points supporting
> 802.11w? That might help to pinpoint if 802.11w is completely broken in
> ath10k or if this is an interoperability issue with ath10k and your AP.

FWIW I just had 802.11w enabled on our test floor (should have been to 
begin with...) where all clients are running QCA6174's. I tested with 
iperf and saw zero difference in throughput between MFP disabled and 
enabled. We also set MFP to required, not optional. So at least the 
hardware variant/firmware we run isn't picky with MFP:

qca6174 hw3.2 target 0x05030000 chip_id 0x00340aff sub 168c:3363
firmware ver WLAN.RM.4.4.1-00288- api 6 features wowlan,ignore-otp,mfp 
crc32 bf907c7c




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