I found something that I believe might be an issue, and I have an idea on how to correct this, but unfortunately, this doesn't solve the issues I occasionally see with this driver. I'd still like to share it, because I might be totally mistaken in my understanding.
With no firmware code or documentation at hand, it's not exactly clear which assumption the firmware makes, but obviously, the driver and the firmware share memory to exchange descriptors that either contain control information or payload. The driver puts control descriptors and payload descriptors in a ring buffer in an interleaved fashion. When the driver wants to send an skb, it looks for a currently unused control descriptor, and then fills it, together with its directly chained payload descriptor. The descriptors are both marked valid and then the firmware is instructed to start processing the ringbuffer. In case the firmware is idle when wcn36xx_dxe_tx_frame() is entered, this is all fine. However, when sending many packets in a short time frame, there are cases when the firmware is still processing the ring buffer (iow, ch->reg_ctrl & WCN36xx_DXE_CH_CTRL_EN != 0), and in this case, writes to the shared memory area depict a data race. The local spinlock of course doesn't help to prevent that. OTOH, it should be completely fine to modify the descriptors while firmware is still reading them, as the firmware should only pay attention to such that are marked valid. There's a problem with the latter presumption however which looks like this in the driver code: desc->fr_len = ctl->skb->len; /* set dxe descriptor to VALID */ desc->ctrl = ch->ctrl_skb; The CPU may very well reorder the two writes, even though the memory is allocated as coherent DMA. When that happens, the firmware may see a wrong length for a valid descriptor. A simple memory write barrier would suffice to solve this, but then again, there are two descriptors involved. My attempt to fix that restructures the code a bit and makes the payload descriptor valid first and then the control descriptor, both strongly ordered through memory fences. This however assumes that the firmware will ignore valid payload descriptors unless they have a valid control descriptor preceding them, but that's really just guessing. Does that make sense? As I said, I can't really say this improves anything, sadly, so I might be mistaken entirely. But I'll leave this here for further discussion. Ideally, somebody with access to the firmware sources could give an assessment whether this is an issue at all or not. Thanks, Daniel Daniel Mack (1): wcn36xx: fix buffer commit logic on TX path drivers/net/wireless/ath/wcn36xx/dxe.c | 75 +++++++++++++++++----------------- 1 file changed, 38 insertions(+), 37 deletions(-) -- 2.14.3