I've bought a netbook with a Realtek RTL8723AE Wireless LAN card, which functions, when I run Windows 7. I can access the Internet only via wireless networks.

Now I want to install Linux on my machine. In order for the wireless LAN card to work, I need to obtain its drivers for Linux.

It doesn't work out of the box (I tried it with Xubuntu and Slax).

Now there are 2 options to make the wireless card work:

  1. Build and install the drivers from the sources as suggested to in the answer here.
  2. Use Windows wireless drivers as described in the Xubuntu documentation.
  3. Install a Linux distro, in which these proprietary drivers are included.

The problem with first 2 solutions is that they both require Internet connection, which I don't have (wireless card doesn't work without drivers and I don't have access to wired Internet). The third option is problematic, because I'm not sure whether such a Linux distro exists (one, in which Realtek drivers are part of the ISO image).

How can I install RTL8723AE wireless LAN drivers on a Linux machine with no Internet connection?

An ideal solution would be a collection of package files (RPM, DEB or similar), which I can install offline.

Update 1 (22.07.2013 14:00): ndisgtk is not installed and attempts to install build-essentials etc. from files fail due to missing dependencies.

So now I think about downloading the ISO image and installing all packages from there.

How can I configure Xubuntu's packaging system to look for available packages in an ISO image?

  • So, do you have a dual-boot? If I've opted the way (1) I would have download the driver and required .deb-packages (build-essential linux-headers-generic linux-headers-'uname -r') manually on Windows (may be to a flash as Iserni suggested) and manually installed them on linux with dpkg -i. Besides, thanks for clear question formulation. Jul 21, 2013 at 23:44
  • @Bob Yes, I can boot both Windows and Xubuntu right now (from hard disk). I also can boot from a USB drive. Jul 22, 2013 at 3:54
  • Would it be an option to purchase a supported USB-Ethernet dongle or Wifi-dongle to get internet access while you do this work? Then when the driver is up and running you can remove the dongle again. Oct 1, 2016 at 7:32

1 Answer 1


You can almost certainly get a "full ISO install" of your distribution with all required packages for install and compilation already supplied; possibly (and even better), a live distribution.

All that you need is a FAT-formatted USB key where you will download the Dropbox-supplied "officially unofficial" driver in source format from Windows 7. The key will be writeable from Windows 7, and readable from Linux (and of course you will have verified this is the case ;-) ).

So you fire up the live distro, compile everything on the USB key and verify that it is working. Then you can perform a permanent installation, and you will just need to copy the just compiled relevant modules from the USB key. If they don't take, you still have the option of repeating the compile-and-install procedure, this time on the physical machine.


However, you do not need an Internet connection to use the ndiswrapper option of Xubuntu. You just need to save the Windows driver files (again on a USB key) and then import them with ndisgtk.

  • Thanks for your suggestion. Is ndisgtk included in the default Xubuntu installation? Jul 21, 2013 at 21:26
  • Judging by the torrent ISO size, I'd say it should be. But you cann check it out; you only risk a few hours' time to download the torrent. I haven't been able to find out a manifest of the ISO, nor a browseable online image.
    – LSerni
    Jul 22, 2013 at 8:05

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