I recently installed Debian 11 on my laptop. The wifi drivers I installed were https://github.com/lwfinger/rtw89. However, I still can't connect to the internet.

Result of lspci | grep Network: 01:00:0 Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. Device b852

Result of lsmod | grep 852:

rtw_8852ce          16384  0
rtw_8852c          577536  1 rtw_8852ce
rtw_8852ae          16384  0
rtw_8852a          679936  1 rtw_8852ae
rtw_8852be          16384  0
rtw_8852b          352256  1 rtw_8852be
rtw89pci            65536  3 rtw_8852ce,rtw_8852ae,rtw_8852be
rtw89core          454656  4 rtw_8852c,rtw89pci,rtw_8852a,rtw_8852b
cfg80211           983040  5rtw_8852c,rtw_8852a,rtw_8852core,mac80211,rtw_8852b

Result of iwconfig: lo no wireless extensions

Result of uname -r: 5.10.0-20-amd64

Does anyone know the problem to this? (Please note I cannot easily install packages because I have no internet on the laptop)

1 Answer 1


At the very bottom of the Github page you downloaded the driver from, it says this:

A note regarding firmware

Firmware from userspace is required to use this driver. This package will attempt to pull the firmware in automatically as a Recommends. However, if your distro does not provide one of firmware-realtek >= 20230117-1 or linux-firmware >= 20220329.git681281e4-0ubuntu3.10, the driver will fail to load, and dmesg will show an error about a specific missing firmware file. In this case, you can download the firmware files directly from https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/firmware/linux-firmware.git/tree/rtw89.

Since you don't have internet on the laptop, you would have to download the firmware files on some other computer, move them to the laptop on a USB stick or similar, and then place them into the appropriate directory under /lib/firmware. If you did not already do this, then sudo dmesg |grep firmware should display the firmware loading error messages, including the exact path where the kernel is expecting the firmware files to be.

Debian 11's standard firmware-realtek package is currently version 20210315-3, and even Debian Backports for Debian 11 has version 20210818-1~bpo11+1 only. Neither of those will satisfy the requirement of this driver. So you will have to download the firmware files from the git.kernel.org address mentioned in the instructions above, and place them to the correct directory (apparently /lib/firmware/rtw89, but check the sudo dmesg output first) manually.

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