[Note – I did this writeup elsewhere and am repurposing here]
Turns out there were three problems with my machine that were causing wifi and OS instability. I’d just moved to Antergos (an arch-based linux distro) after about 20 years on Debian. I made the change about a day before and hadn’t worked out the kinks.
First off, something was eating all my RAM until the box fell over. Turns out this was MATE’s compositing feature. Maybe it didn’t like nouvea. I figured this out eventually and switched it off; RAM usage dropped to normal, minimal linux levels.
Second, even if all the RAM was consumed why was the box locking up tight instead of swapping? Hurr, durr, I forgot to mention the swap partition entry /etc/fstab. Corrected that, did some swapon action and that was taken care of.
Third, why was my wifi dropping? It appears the default drivers for my rtl8192 usb wifi dongle don’t do N well — repeated disconnects/reconnects. During one of the periods of connectivity I logged into the router and backed the wifi radio down to b/g. She’s stable there. Will roll the official driver from source when I get a day off.
Here’s how I got the wifi driver upgraded:
sudo pacman -S linux-headers; yaourt -S 8192cu-dkms; sudo reboot
Now running on N. We’ll see how stable it is.