I can't yet offer you a solution but what I can do is help validate what you are seeing.
Below are some sample ping times for my edison on wifi (802.11n network). Other wireless devices in the house don't exceed ping times of < 10ms (which is isn't great either but not as bad as half a second). I can also confirm that this at least for me, is attributing to nearly unusable ssh performance. So +1, intel gods please provide us with some insight or let us know you guys are ware of this and working on it. I've also seen it affect performance of Zeromq.
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=69 ttl=64 time=363.817 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=70 ttl=64 time=173.487 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=71 ttl=64 time=102.567 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=72 ttl=64 time=432.544 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=73 ttl=64 time=14.604 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=74 ttl=64 time=169.812 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=75 ttl=64 time=88.936 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=76 ttl=64 time=317.778 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=77 ttl=64 time=342.881 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=78 ttl=64 time=155.954 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=79 ttl=64 time=74.970 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=80 ttl=64 time=412.010 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=81 ttl=64 time=332.299 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=82 ttl=64 time=252.837 ms
64 bytes from 192.168.1.111: icmp_seq=83 ttl=64 time=98.104 ms
Looks like it is some kind of power save optimize setting. I see the same thing and thought maybe the breakout board blocks the antenna. Nope. The wifi is good. While connected over USB run a ping from your edison to your wifi router. While that is going on open up a ssh session and it will run smoothly. I suspect that this might be addressed if you flash the latest firmware and I might try that at some point. However, right now I am a bit afraid of bricking the thing. A work around is to run ping in the background while you go about your business
Please come back to this thread and share any permanent solutions.
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I loaded the latest image edison-image-ww36-14 and the wifi issue seems to have gone away. I had this issue and know my firmware was quite out of date. Maybe the same for the original poster. I recommend flashing with a current image and try again.
Note that I believe there is an issue if you use winzip to unpack the file. Use unzip which if you have githup for windows installed you can run from gitbash. Copy the files to the edison USB drive and then run "reboot ota" as root. FYI, this will wipe out your settings potentially without warning and you will have to re-run the configure_edison script.