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Dell WiFi Problems Under Ubuntu 9.10 Koalic Koala

by Frost

Introduction
This morning I found myself ripping my hair out attempting to get my wireless card working on my new dual boot Ubuntu 9.10 / Windows 7 setup. The wireless worked great on Windows 7, but alas, the dreaded Ubuntu Karmic Koala was putting up a fight! Well here is how I was able to get my wireless card to work on Ubuntuo 9.10 Karmic Koala.

The First Steps
After many hours of googling (I was plugged into a hardline connection) I had learned nothing about the problem other then feeble attempts at trying to use ndiswrapper drivers to no avail. This was very disheartening, as it seems installing and using ndiswrapper worked for many people. Well unfortunately it did not work for me. Now I am just sitting here twiddling my thumbs and decide to lookup some simple commands I could use to probe and see why my wireless card was not working. It boiled down to 1 command that really caught my attention, “lshw”!

lshw Command on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala
It seems as though the lshw command lists available hardware on the system. In a desperate attempt I decided to give it a try. Well what came up really caught my attention, under *-network there was a “disabled” next to it. Which caught my attention and got me thinking, why is my wireless card disabled? Well in this line of thinking I stumbled upon another helpful command “lspci | grep Network” which pulled out the listing for the card. To my surprise it told me it was missing something to do with b43.

Fixing the missing b43
Well it turns out the b43 firmware was missing for the broadcom wireless card. Well great, thinking of how to fix it I decided to see if there was anything in the Synaptic Package Manager. I do a quick search for b43 and to my surprise on package comes up, b43-fwcutter, which basically extracts the broadcom firmware. Of course I install this package at once! After I installed it, the card did not work. Since this had to do with firmware etc, I decided to try a reboot. Once the computer came back up WOOHOO! My Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala now has WiFi capabilities and connected flawlessly to my networks.

Ending Notes
Although I was very frustrated at time, I am extremely happy that the solution was a simple one. I decided to write this entry to help others out there with a Broadcom card having the same issue on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala. What took me a few hours to figure out, should have been more like 10 minutes to get straightened out. This was a great learning experience for me and I am so happy that I finally got the Wireless card to work! I hope this works and helps you out as well.

Other Notes
I am not an expert at Linux / Ubuntu by any means. I do not claim to be, as such if the above does not work, I am not sure how to fix it for you. Your question is better directed towards the Ubuntu Help Forums. If this does work, great! Glad I could help. Just an FYI that you posting your problems here means that you are posting them in vain if you are expecting me to fix them for you. Thank you!

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