Why won’t Linux detect my Wi-Fi adapter?

Have you ever installed Linux on a laptop, restarted it, and found that it can’t see your Wi-Fi card? It is very frustrating. Try these tips. Either of these two can get you there.

Linux and Wi-Fi: A Love-Hate Affair

Historically, Linux has had a somewhat strained relationship with Wi-Fi cards. In recent years the situation has changed drastically – and for the better – but it is still possible to boot up a fresh Linux installation and experience that sense of helplessness when you realize you don’t have Wi-Fi.

The installation procedure is very good at identifying the different components of the target computer and configuring themselves to work with that device. But problems can still arise.

Troubleshooting hardware problems is tricky, especially if the only computer you have is the failing hardware. It is clear that not everything presented here applies to all cases. But with any luck, the items below will either fix your problem or point you in the right direction.

Why is a penguin linux amulet?

before installation

Do some research. Most distros contain lists of supported devices. Ask on their forums if anyone else is using the same brand and model of laptop you intend to use. Did they have any problems, and if so, how were they resolved?

To get a good idea of ​​what you will encounter, boot your laptop from a USB or live CD from the latest version of the distro you want to use. This way you can be sure that it works the way you want it to, without having to jump into the installation.

Check things like screen resolution, graphics, mouse pad, gestures, and Wi-Fi connectivity. If it is running in a real environment, then it should work when you install the distro. If none of them work, try a live CD from another distro. You may get different results. If so, can you identify the cause? They may be using a newer kernel or bundle the drivers by installing them.

Using the commands that we show you in this article, you can select Wi-Fi devices for your laptop. With this knowledge, you can do some research on the web. If you’re lucky, your Wi-Fi card will be a perfectly working one. If not, you may need to use some of the methods described in this article.

Find the key combination you need to interrupt the boot sequence and enter the laptop’s BIOS. You may not need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you found it early on. It is often one of the following combinations: Esc, F2, F5, or F10. On many laptops, you will need to hold down the “Fn” key at the same time. Make sure you know the keys to accessing your laptop’s BIOS.

Plan what you will do if Wi-Fi is not activated immediately. Can you use a wired connection to connect your laptop to the Internet? If not, do you have access to another computer? Can you call your cell phone and use it to access the Internet?

Look for minor problems

It’s easy to take the lead and start looking for complex root causes, but don’t lose sight of the simple things.

Some laptops have physical external switches—usually sliding ones—that disable Wi-Fi. They are often well camouflaged and designed to fit into the body of the computer. If you accidentally move one of them to the “Off” position, your Wi-Fi won’t work no matter what you do in the operating system.

It is also possible to disable Wi-Fi from BIOS. Reboot the laptop and enter the BIOS.

Find the Network or Wi-Fi section, and make sure that Wi-Fi is enabled.

Allow the boot sequence to continue. Log in and open the system menu by clicking on the right end of the GNOME status bar (or where the network settings are in the desktop environment). If there is an entry in the list called “Wi-Fi Disabled”, click on it.

System menu with Wi-Fi not working

In the expanded menu options, select “Enable”.

System menu with expanded Wi-Fi options

The menu closes. Re-open it, then select “Settings”.

System menu with Settings option highlighted

In the Settings app, select Wi-Fi from the sidebar and make sure that the top bar slider is toggled on and the Airplane mode slider is off. Then select the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to.

Wi-Fi pane in Settings

If you do not see any of these options, the network card will not be recognized by the operating system.
solving problems

Now that we’ve made sure we haven’t forgotten any basic solutions, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of troubleshooting Wi-Fi cards.

Does any kind of network work?

If you have an Ethernet connection on your laptop and you can connect using a wired connection, the network is working on your laptop. It’s just Wi-Fi not working. If you don’t have an Ethernet port, you can still have hope with an Ethernet adapter.

If you can’t connect via the wired connection, there is a problem with the computer network capacity, period. Try getting your laptop to do the same ping.

ping localhost


Make your laptop ping itself

If none of these attempts succeed, your network manager may be missing or broken. Try to reinstall it. This will either install it or replace it if it was already installed.

On Ubuntu, type

sudo apt install network manager

On Fedora, use:

sudo dnf install network manager

In Manjaro, the command is:

sudo pacman -Sy network-manager

Reboot, and see if that improves the situation.

Wi-Fi Card Hardware Identification

If you do not have a Wi-Fi network yet, we need to select the Wi-Fi card devices. The lspci command will list all of your PCI devices.


PCI Laptop List

Look for an entry with “wireless” or “wi-fi” in its description.

Results of inserting a Wi-Fi card into the lspci command.

On this laptop there is a Realtek RTL8723BE card. We can also see this information using the nmcli command, including the network interface identifier.


CLI network manager command

Our wlan0 wireless interface shows as unavailable, but it still identifies the device for us.

Wi-Fi card ID and network interface in nmcli command results.

This entry appears as “Disabled Software” because we have disabled the Wi-Fi card to simulate a failure. In a real-life scenario, the message here might give you an idea of ​​what the problem is or what it might be related to.

Try loading the map

The iw command can be useful sometimes. Replace wlan0 with the appropriate interface on your computer.

iw dev wlan0 link

The iw command shows that the wlan0 interface is not connected

We are told that the interface is not connected. Let’s try to make it appear.

set sudo ip wlan0 url

RF-kill is determined to prevent the Wi-Fi card from working

We were told that the network connection could not be established due to rfkill. This is a utility to forcibly block RF network interfaces. We can ask him to show us what’s stopping him.

rfkill list

The rfkill command shows that the Wi-Fi card is blocked by the program.

And we can ask him to lift the ban on what has been banned. Note that if the card is listed as locked, this means that there is a physical switch on the laptop that must be turned to the “on” position. Let’s remove the program lock.

rfkill unblock wifi

rfkill list

Use rkill to unblock a Wi-Fi card

In our case, this appears to have fixed the problem. If your problem persists, it is most likely a driver module problem.

Drivers Check

We can check which drivers are being used with the lspci command, using the -k (kernel drivers) option.

lspci -k

List of kernel drivers and modules

Our wireless card uses the “rtl8723be” driver and kernel module.

Wi-Fi Card Core Drivers and Modules

We can check if it is loaded by searching the system logs with dmesg and grep. Replace “rtl8723be” with your computer’s module name.

sudo dmesg | grep rtl8723be

Entering the Wi-Fi card driver in the system logs

If you don’t see a positive sign of driver download, check your distro’s website and online help, and look for instructions on how to download drivers for your distro. Distributions often have common driver packages that you can use, and they may contain distribution-specific applications to make it easier to load new drivers.

If you can’t find a way to get your drivers from the package manager or the distribution website, you can check the list of supported wireless cards and find your card’s hardware in the list.

The closest match to our Realtek Wi-Fi card in the list of well-known Linux Wi-Fi drivers

Clicking on the model – or closest match – of your Wi-Fi card will take you to a page for the card. This page lists all the cards in this set of devices. Check if your card is listed there.

In our case, we clicked on the “rtl8723ae” link, which gave us a page with the rtl8723be tag as well.

Perfect match for our dashboard

There is a link under the “Firmware” heading at the bottom of the page.

Link to download page

This takes you to the git firmware repository page. Use the git clone command and one of the sites listed at the bottom of the page to download the repository. We used:

git clone git: //git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/firmware/linux-firmware.git

git clone repository

In the downloaded (large) directory tree, you should find the appropriate driver file for your device.

Driver file in the loaded repository tree

Refer to your distro’s instructions for the best way to load it.

Use your community

One of the greatest strengths of Linux is the communities associated with Linux distributions. Seek help from your chosen distribution community. It is possible that someone else has gone through the same thing as you.

Leave a Comment