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I've been using Fedora 13 for around six months, but only with a wired connection in my room. I took my laptop to a college library that has Wifi, but when I turn my system on it doesn't detect any wireless networks at all. What could be the problem? How do I fix it?

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Are you using network-manager? Is your wireless button turned on? – Tshepang Nov 10 '10 at 12:39
@Tshepang: I don't know how to do it. PLease let me know – S.C. Nov 10 '10 at 12:44
Many laptops have a hardware or software (Fn+something or a program) switch to enable the wifi, so first make sure you've turned it on. For better help, edit your question to add the exact model of your laptop and describe how you configured the wired connection. Also, if you have an interface component (a tray button, maybe) that lets you configure the network, describe it and tell us what your interface is (e.g. Gnome, KDE, ...). – Gilles Nov 10 '10 at 18:35
@Giles: Its GNOME – S.C. Nov 10 '10 at 18:39

Wireless configuration is everything but easy. For a start, you should collect the following information

  • Wireless configurations for the library network (these should be made available by the IT team there, even if it's just a couple tutorials for some specific GUIs instead of the settings themselves — it allows you to know what to set up);

  • The identification of your wireless card: some wireless cards have none or next to none decent support, others insist in binary, off-the-tree drivers, others work perfectly. Knowing your card helps you finding out if there is some known issue or if it should just work;

  • Pick a tool and some instructions for it — I don't know how is it supposed to be in Fedora, I'm just used to the usual bunch of tools: iwscan and iwconfig, with wpa_supplicant when needed. And the distribution may have its own way to automate the steps.

From what you describe, I guess that there is a wireless NIC installed and working, but the search shows nothing, either because the search tool has some issue or because the card has some issue regarding searches. I'd suggest running iwscan card-name list, on your card (card-name) and see if there is some weird result.

(Ok, I doubt this is still useful for the OP, but I hope it is for people looking on some tips on how to debug wireless issues.)

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