I have faced this problem many times. First, I thought it has something to do with laptop model and brand but later I came to know that same hardware with different OS was having different results.

Laptop using Windows, Windows 8 to be more specific were recieving wifi signal more easily than in my linux-based laptop(ubuntu 13.10).

Why is this? Is there any solution to this?

  • 1
    I'veseen this a few times, too. My suspicion is that either (a) Windows isn't telling the truth, (b) the driver isn't telling Windows the truth (c) the Windows driver takes advantage of the wireless hardware better than the Linux driver.
    – user732
    Nov 9, 2013 at 19:11
  • I am having this experience. Set up Thnkpad T420 with 16.04 side by side with Windows 7. The 5G signal is strong with 7 and middling with 16.04. Checked the driver and 16.04 is using Intel latest driver for Centrino 6300N. Speedtest shows 7 at 100mbps and 16.04 at 25mbps. This is not a solution. I am giving up and accepting that 16.04 is not going to download at the same rate as 7 with the T420. Dec 10, 2016 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


Many wireless card manufacturers support only Windows or Mac OS platforms. When developing drivers to integrate the hardware with the operating system, they focus solely on these platforms. This leaves Linux-based distros on their own.

Some wireless vendors release the specs to the open source community so they can write drivers for Linux, while other drivers are reverse-engineered by the community. Because there's no official support, some of these drivers can be quite buggy. For my desktop running Ubuntu 10.04, I just simply gave up and ran an ethernet cable up the stairs from the router.

However, there are wireless cards that work well with Ubuntu. When deciding to run Ubuntu or some other Linux distro on a computer, it helps to select hardware known to be Linux-compatible.

Ubuntu's Help Docs - Wireless Cards Supported lists all of the wireless cards by vendor and then by model. It will tell you if the card is supported, how well it works, what it takes to install and configure the drivers, and how to troubleshoot.

In my experience, using cards that work out of the box are best. Not only is installation easier, but the cards generally continue to work as you update your system.

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