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I just installed Ubuntu 10.04.3 to dual-boot with Windows. I can connect to the Internet using a wired connection, but not through wireless. The first time I booted, the wireless notification bar said "Device not ready". The next time I booted, the wireless notification didn't show any available networks, but did not say "Device not ready". The third time I booted, the Internet icon does not show at all.

I am conjecturing that this is a driver / hardware issue, but don't have enough experience to know.

My question is: What is the next troubleshooting step (if any) based on the steps I have already taken?

Background Info:

  • The hardware Wi-Fi button is in the on position :-) but the indicator light is not toggling with the button. i.e., when I have the wireless device in the on position while running Windows, the light is blue. When it's off, the light is orange. In Ubuntu, it is showing orange in both positions.

  • When I log on to the system, I get a dialog box that says something like, 'The configuration defaults for GNOME Power Manager have not been installed correctly, etc.' (I don't know how this affects the process, but hopefully you do :-)


Summary of troubleshooting steps (with outputs listed far below):

  1. Stepped through the pertinent troubleshooting steps at the Ubuntu Community Documentation

    a. Checked for device recognition with sudo lshw -C network (output below)

    b. Checked for a connection to the router with iwconfig (output below)

    c. Checked ip assignment with ifconfig (output below)

  2. Ran the "Hardware Drivers" utility in System-->Administration (it said 'There are no proprietary drivers on this computer')
  3. Identified my card and driver with lspci -vvnn | grep 14e4 (output below)
  4. Checked linuxwireless.org to see if the driver is supported (it is)

What's my next step?


1.a -- Output from sudo lshw -C network

*-network              
       description: Ethernet interface
       product: MCP67 Ethernet
       vendor: nVidia Corporation
       physical id: a
       bus info: pci@0000:00:0a.0
       logical name: eth0
       version: a2
       serial: 00:1b:24:d0:dc:21
       size: 100MB/s
       capacity: 100MB/s
       width: 32 bits
       clock: 66MHz
       capabilities: pm msi ht bus_master cap_list ethernet physical mii 10bt 10bt-fd 100bt 100bt-fd autonegotiation
       configuration: autonegotiation=on broadcast=yes driver=forcedeth driverversion=0.64 duplex=full ip=192.168.1.6 latency=0 link=yes maxlatency=20 mingnt=1 multicast=yes port=MII speed=100MB/s
       resources: irq:27 memory:f6488000-f6488fff ioport:30f8(size=8) memory:f6489c00-f6489cff memory:f6489800-f648980f
  *-network
       description: Network controller
       product: BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN
       vendor: Broadcom Corporation
       physical id: 0
       bus info: pci@0000:03:00.0
       version: 02
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list
       configuration: driver=b43-pci-bridge latency=0
       resources: irq:19 memory:f6000000-f6003fff
  *-network DISABLED
       description: Wireless interface
       physical id: 1
       logical name: wlan0
       serial: 00:1a:73:bb:d7:35
       capabilities: ethernet physical wireless
       configuration: broadcast=yes multicast=yes wireless=IEEE 802.11bg

1.b -- Output from iwconfig

lo        no wireless extensions.

eth0      no wireless extensions.

wlan0     IEEE 802.11bg  ESSID:off/any 
          Mode:Managed  Access Point: Not-Associated   Tx-Power=0 dBm  
          Retry  long limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off

1.c -- Output from ifconfig

eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:1b:24:d0:dc:21 
          inet addr:192.168.X.X  Bcast:192.168.X.XXX  Mask:255.255.XXX.X
          inet6 addr: fe80::21b:24ff:xxxX:xxXX/XX Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:4966 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:4068 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:4503525 (4.5 MB)  TX bytes:777899 (777.8 KB)
          Interrupt:27 Base address:0x2000

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback 
          inet addr:127.0.X.X  Mask:255.0.X.X
          inet6 addr: ::X/XXX Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:16436  Metric:1
          RX packets:1958 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:1958 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:117940 (117.9 KB)  TX bytes:117940 (117.9 KB)

3 -- Output from lspci -vvnn | grep 14e4

03:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN [14e4:4311] (rev 02)
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For future reference, ifconfig -a will list all interfaces, not just the active ones. –  amphetamachine Nov 28 '11 at 2:56

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Turn on the wireless interface and try to perform a scan for networks. ifconfig wlan0 up to turn on the wlan0 interface (change this if your interface is not called wlan0). iwlist scanning to perform a scan of available networks. This is a very important step, as it lets you know what is wrong and where to go next.

  • If the scan works (you see information about available networks printed out) then your hardware and driver is working fine and the problem is with the network manager and/or the network applet. I'd recommend disabling/uninstalling network manager and installing wicd. Alternatively, you can just disable network manager and install wicd to see if it works.
  • If the scan doesn't work (either you get stuck with ifconfig or iwlist), there is a problem with your device or driver. More troubleshooting can be done when you get the message that says what's wrong. Issues I have encountered include rfkill switch and conflicting drivers.
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I dont believe the b43 driver, needed for your broadcom BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN device, is supported in ubuntu 10.04. You can find a fix here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1390979 but you will need an alternative internet connection.

Updating to 11.10 wont help much either. To get it workling in 11.10 you need to first have an internet connection as you need to first install the b43 driver then remove the bcmwl kernel source.

$ sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer
$ sudo apt-get remove bcmwl-kernel-source
$ sudo reboot
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