Getting Wireless Networking to Work in Ubuntu on a Dell Latitude D630

Album Cover: In Rainbows

"Words are a sawed-off shotgun."
Radiohead / Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Posted on June 26, 2008 7:42 PM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I'm playing around with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS on a laptop (all of my prior experience has been on a PC) and one of the problems I immediately encountered (other than a botched partitioning on the first install attempt, which I lived to tell about) was lack of any acknowledgment that the Dell Latitude D630 I'm working with should be able to access wireless networks. Unfortunately for me, this ended up being one of those experiences with Ubuntu that is not so pleasant, so I figured I'd share my findings here in case someone else finds it useful.

The first step was searching Google for anything that would at least get me started down the right path. It wasn't long before I saw a common thread in the "solutions" I was finding. All signs pointed toward using NDISwrapper, which is available in Ubuntu via the Synaptic Package Manager (and therefore sudo apt-get install). Furthermore, the steps to follow in getting NDISwrapper set up and then referring it to the proper Windows (yes, Windows) driver were all relatively similar. The best summary of these steps can be found in the Ubuntu Forums.

One thing to keep in mind when following those steps is that you don't have to get too worried when you get a message like "ERROR: Module bcm43xx does not exist" after running the sudo rmmod bcm43xx command. I received this error and was able to get things to work properly anyway. I think the error is a little bit misleading in that it really just means that the module wasn't active when you ran the command (or something to that effect).

Furthermore, a big key to this whole process is making sure you have the right driver. I went through the process using a driver linked to in one of the step-by-step tutorials (not the one previously linked to) and ended up seeing the "driver present" message but not the corresponding "hardware detected" message that is equally important. Once I found the right driver, which for the Dell Latitude D630 I am working with ended up being the driver for the Dell Wireless 1505 Draft 802.11n WLAN Mini-Card, I saw both of the aforementioned messages after sudo ndiswrapper -l and knew I was in business. After a restart, I then saw wireless networks showing up after clicking on the Network Monitor icon in the taskbar.

Now that I'm past that hurdle, I can start digging around for the next one. ;)

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nxvaiwdc on May 15, 2017 at 5:23 AM:

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