Boot Time Configuration for Wifi Broken for RPi 3

I’m trying to set up a Raspberry Pi 3 for headless WiFi operation on a virgin 16.04 system, utterly without success. The network manager can bring up wlan0, but only after I log in, so I know that necessary drivers and software is properly installed. I can also run the same SD card in an RPi 2, so I know the configuration is correct. But nothing I have found will bring up the WiFi on an RPi 3 without a login, which is slightly problematic if the logon has to take place over WiFi. No egg, no chicken.

The issue appears to be with wpa_cli forked from wpa_supplicant. wpa_cli fails with

Could not read interface p2p-dev-wlan0 flags: No such device

In all cases, the Ethernet interface comes up at boot time if plugged in, otherwise when a cable is connected. p2p-dev-wlan0, incidentally, is created in /run/wpa_supplicant on the RP 3, both networking and network manager, but not on the RPi 2.

I have a major distributed database project operating on an RPi cluster that will be going down the tubes if a solution cannot be found. There are at least a dozen people who have reported the same problem without response. It’s hard to draw on conclusion other than network support this operating system is out of control, not listening for user problems, and could benefit from some leadership.

Between Broadcom, Ubuntu, Raspberry Pi, Debian, and wpa_supplicant, there is plenty of opportunity for finger pointing, but also plenty of opportunity to actually address the problem.

Problem resolved. The solution was to restart with an ab inito 16.04 installation. The original problem was, apparently, an artifact of upgrading 15.10 to 16.04.