Posts tagged ‘wireless’

16 December, 2011

Generic steps for troubleshooting wireless on Ubuntu.

by gorthx

Fresh from my success with my Thinkpad T420, I tackled my Dell Latitude E6410, which had its own interesting quirks. So, here are some basic wireless troubleshooting steps for Ubuntu.

Step 1: Make sure the hardware switch is not set to off.

Step 1a: Is there another “hardware” switch? My HP2501p had an extra firmware switch for the wireless, accessible only from Windows. (Good thing I hadn’t deleted that partition…)

Step 2: Check the permissions: System -> Administration -> Users and Groups -> Advanced Settings; make sure “allow to connect to ethernet and wireless networks” is checked.

Step 3: Use lpsci to make sure your machine can see your card. Should look something like this (output filtered for brevity):
lspci -nn
02:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation BCM43224 802.11a/b/g/n [14e4:4353] (rev 01)

Step 4: Check the drivers: System -> Administration -> Additional Drivers. You should see a driver appropriate for your card there, e.g. I have the Broadcom STA Wireless Driver. It should show green and say “activated”. If not, click the “Activate” button. (I needed to reboot the Dell in order to get this change to take.)

Step 5: Find your ethernet interface:
:::-->iwconfig
lo no wireless extensions.

eth0 no wireless extensions.

eth1 IEEE 802.11 Access Point: Not-Associated
Link Quality:5 Signal level:0 Noise level:163
Rx invalid nwid:0 invalid crypt:0 invalid misc:0

…and enable power*:
sudo iwconfig eth1 txpower on

Et voila.


* This page: http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~axs/laptop/#wireless helped me figure this out.

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2 December, 2011

Installing Ubuntu 10.10 on a Thinkpad 420

by gorthx

(This post is mainly about getting the RealTek wireless card working.)

I went with 10.10, mainly because I had the image handy on a USB key, and I’m not so excited about what I’ve heard about 11 yet. (Although I do intend to try it at my next available opportunity.)

To get the Thinkpad to boot from a USB, I hit F12 during boot (gotta be quick with it!) to access the boot menu, then -s to get the startup menu. (The ‘thinkvantage’ button didn’t get me where I wanted to be.) Once I was in the startup menu, I was in the ‘boot options’ tab. Hit the down arrow to select “USB HD”, then hit enter. Voila.

The install went pretty fast, but then I spent a fair bit of time with updates. In retrospect, I probably should have updated the image on the USB key. :shrug:

First, the most important configuration change: put the #&@* minimize/maximize buttons back on the right side, where they belong.

Next: install my favorite font.

Everything worked out of the box (external keyboard, external monitor, card reader, etc) except wireless. My laptop wasn’t even detecting that I had a wireless interface.

First I tried enabling “connect to ethernet and wireless networks”. (System -> Administration -> Users & Groups; select the user; click “Advanced Settings”; select the “User Priveleges” tab; make sure “Connect to wireless and ethernet networks” is checked). No dice.

I could see my card:
lspci -nn
Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. Device [10ec:8176] (rev 01)

…but I needed the drivers. This thread (specifically, the post by canucked) had the info I needed:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lexical/hwe-wireless
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rtl8192ce-dkms

(Kind of confusing that the driver has what seems to be a different model # in it, but there it is.)

I pulled up System -> Administration -> Additional Drivers to check the status of my new driver, and discovered it was activated but not currently in use. Deactivating and reactivating it didn’t change anything, but a reboot did.