rtk8192ee wifi firmare stops loading after ifenslave setup attempt (Debian 10)

I tried setting up Mode 0 NIC bonding using ifenslave between my Ethernet and WiFi cards on Debian 10.

After numerous ifconfig wls1 up/down, I was able to set up Bond0 until it stopped working. After undoing the setup, I realized ifconfig wls1 up wasn’t loading the WiFi adapter’s firmware anymore (rtk8192ee)

:~$ sudo dmesg | grep firmware

[5.201360] rtl8192ee: Using firmware rtlwifi/rtl8192eefw.bin

[5.201745] rtl8192ee 0000:24:00.0: firmware: failed to load rtlwifi/rtl8192eefw.bin (-2)

[5.201799] firmware_class: See https://wiki.debian.org/Firmware for information about missing firmware

[5.201845] rtl8192ee 0000:24:00.0: Direct firmware load for rtlwifi/rtl8192eefw.bin failed with error -2

I know I’m not missing the firmware because it was working before. Could this be a NetworkManager bug?

Please see my /etc/network/interfacesfile below

source /etc/network/interfaces.d/*

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback

Any ideas why the firmware is acting up?

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Author: cvlo