Wifi on Ubuntu (or Linux in general) - solved

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Wifi on Ubuntu (or Linux in general) - solved

Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:56 pm

OK so I have a Dell 610 /Intel 2200BG wireless. I have tried posting on Ubuntu Forums with no luck so I will try here.

From all I read on the net wireless should work out of the box with Ubuntu 7.04 and Intel wifi, but despite network connections finding my wireless network etc i cannot get on the internet. More detail here.

Not sure if I can find a solution here but does anyone know a good resource I might be able to get help? Or should I try a different distro? I once tried Fedora a while back, but I understand Ubuntu is one of the more user friendly distro's. If I could just get wireless up and running I could really give it a fair trail and see if its for me.
Last edited by amphibem on Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:59 pm

Why are you using 7.04 instead of 7.10?
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:04 pm

Defiantly get 7.10. With my laptop, (a cheap Compaq) I wasn't able to get wireless to work in 7.04. I just tried putting 7.10 on it, and it asked right away to download the right firmware to run the wireless, and a few minutes later it was working.
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:07 pm

DreadCthulhu wrote:Defiantly get 7.10. With my laptop, (a cheap Compaq) I wasn't able to get wireless to work in 7.04. I just tried putting 7.10 on it, and it asked right away to download the right firmware to run the wireless, and a few minutes later it was working.


I guess I will try that then. I was trying to avoid that big download for now (here in NZ we have download caps, 10GB for us :( ) but might as well go for it. I will let you know how it goes.
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:15 pm

Tested the 7.10 live cd on my xps1210m laptop and after fiddling for less than 2 minutes, was up and running the internet via wifi. pretty impressive IMO.

You might also want to check out a new ISP. 10gb isn't a lot. :(
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:21 pm

It's the best you can do for a reasonable price ($NZ50 for 10GB @ 4Mb/2Mb), except for some traffic managed (read Bittorrent throttled) DSL plans. And they aren't as fast or (from what I hear) as reliable. Anyway getting off-topic :P Updating now, gonna take a while at 100kB/s
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:47 pm

etilena wrote:You might also want to check out a new ISP. 10gb isn't a lot. :(


I think I uploaded that much in the past couple of days :o
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:53 pm

amphibem wrote:It's the best you can do for a reasonable price ($NZ50 for 10GB @ 4Mb/2Mb), except for some traffic managed (read Bittorrent throttled) DSL plans. And they aren't as fast or (from what I hear) as reliable. Anyway getting off-topic :P Updating now, gonna take a while at 100kB/s
What's the point of having speed such that you can use a month's bandwidth allowance in under 6 hours? What's the advantage over "traffic managed" plans (other than reliability you mentioned) when you don't have enough of a traffic allowance to download much of anything anyway? The only real point of those sorts of speeds, as far as I'm concerned, is in moving large amounts of data around. For browsing and similar usage who really cares if it's that fast?
...
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:09 pm

Yer I know and agree, we probably aren't on the best deal available either but I'm in a flat and this is what we ended up getting. The problem with NZ is we have limited bandwidth to the outside world, mostly via the Southern Cross cable which goes from NZ, to Australia, to the States and it is expensive for ISP's to buy bandwidth. There did used to be deals with free national traffic but they all disapeared, must have cost the ISPs too much!

Plus we have had serious monopoly issues with our dominant telco company for years which are just being sorted out now. All in all its not a great internet situation here, for years we have been ranked in the bottom 2 or 3 of the OECD ICT rankings.
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 5:48 pm

Anyway back on topic, up in running 7.10 and no better. Still no 'Radio on' LED. Can't get even get the signal using iwconfig like before.

At a loss here because all my other function keys (hibernate/sleep, screen brightness) all work fine. But the most important one doesn't! Looks likes this is the end of this Linux experiment :-?
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 5:56 pm

amphibem wrote:Anyway back on topic, up in running 7.10 and no better. Still no 'Radio on' LED. Can't get even get the signal using iwconfig like before.

At a loss here because all my other function keys (hibernate/sleep, screen brightness) all work fine.

The Intel 2200BG certainly works; it is a well supported chipset. Besides function keys what are you using to configure your wireless settings? You should probably try using NetworkManager since it is supposed to do all of the things you need.

In newer wireless stacks, it is often the case that the radio won't turn on until you bring the interface up using ifconfig (iwconfig just configures the wireless parameters but doesn't necessarily "activate" it -- this lets you power down the interface separately from configuring it). For instance, on my wireless card, if I was doing it manually I'd do:
iwconfig <iface> essid "<whatever>"
iwconfig ... (other settings)
ifconfig <iface> up
(now the radio turns on)
dhclient <iface>

You could also run ifup on the interface if you've configured the settings in /etc/network/interfaces. Running dhclient directly on an interface will also bring it up. These complexities are a good reason to use NetworkManager. Sometimes you also have a hard on/off switch that is not software controlled.

Also, the radio on LED doesn't necessarily signal wireless activity. For instance, on my laptop (with the iwl4965), the driver doesn't do anything with the wireless light at all, even when it is connected/sending or receiving data, the light stays dark.
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:38 pm

bitvector wrote:
amphibem wrote:Anyway back on topic, up in running 7.10 and no better. Still no 'Radio on' LED. Can't get even get the signal using iwconfig like before.

At a loss here because all my other function keys (hibernate/sleep, screen brightness) all work fine.

The Intel 2200BG certainly works; it is a well supported chipset. Besides function keys what are you using to configure your wireless settings? You should probably try using NetworkManager since it is supposed to do all of the things you need.

In newer wireless stacks, it is often the case that the radio won't turn on until you bring the interface up using ifconfig (iwconfig just configures the wireless parameters but doesn't necessarily "activate" it -- this lets you power down the interface separately from configuring it). For instance, on my wireless card, if I was doing it manually I'd do:
iwconfig <iface> essid "<whatever>"
iwconfig ... (other settings)
ifconfig <iface> up
(now the radio turns on)
dhclient <iface>

You could also run ifup on the interface if you've configured the settings in /etc/network/interfaces. Running dhclient directly on an interface will also bring it up. These complexities are a good reason to use NetworkManager. Sometimes you also have a hard on/off switch that is not software controlled.

Also, the radio on LED doesn't necessarily signal wireless activity. For instance, on my laptop (with the iwl4965), the driver doesn't do anything with the wireless light at all, even when it is connected/sending or receiving data, the light stays dark.


OK this looks like the sort of information I need but I still don't quite follow, being a bit of noob at this.

1. I am pretty sure there isn't a physical switch on the computer, just software
2. How does one use NetworkManager? I setup my ESSID and passphrase in Network Settings but this doesn't give me an off/on control
3. What do you mean by <iface>? Can I use 'ifconfig <iface> up' to turn the radio on if I have entered the wifi settings in Network Settings?

Cheers
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:04 pm

amphibem wrote:2. How does one use NetworkManager? I setup my ESSID and passphrase in Network Settings but this doesn't give me an off/on control

Aren't there checkboxes to allow interfaces to be enabled/disabled? First try using the Fn combination to enable wireless, then try configuring in NM and using the checkbox to enabled the interface.

amphibem wrote:3. What do you mean by <iface>? Can I use 'ifconfig <iface> up' to turn the radio on if I have entered the wifi settings in Network Settings?

You shouldn't need to in the first place. <iface> is the interface name of your wireless card (maybe wlan0 or wifi0 or ethN or something). You had mentioned that you were using iwconfig, which is the manual mechanism for configuring wireless settings. iwconfig/ifconfig are the manual tools and you should either use them or NetworkManager, but mixing them is not a good idea because you'll change the settings with the manual tools and then NM will change them back.

Could you also post the contents of the file /etc/network/interfaces?

I can post the entirely manual way to do it but that should just be a stopgap.
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:16 pm

bitvector wrote:Aren't there checkboxes to allow interfaces to be enabled/disabled? First try using the Fn combination to enable wireless, then try configuring in NM and using the checkbox to enabled the interface.


There is a checkbox next to 'Wireless Connection', this was enabled by default and I have never disabled it. To the best I can tell Network Stettings (is this what you mean by Network Manager?) thinks I am connected to my Network "FLAT"

bitvector wrote:Could you also post the contents of the file /etc/network/interfaces?


Here it is, with my WEP key taken out:

/etc/network/interfaces wrote:auto lo

iface lo inet loopback


#iface eth0 inet dhcp

auto ath0
#iface ath0 inet dhcp

auto wlan0
#iface wlan wlan0 inet dhcp



iface eth1 inet dhcp
wireless-key **********
wireless-essid FLAT

auto eth1

iface eth0 inet dhcp
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:30 pm

Okay, you've got a lot of entries in there. Did you configure any of those manually? NetworkManager ignores interfaces that are already configured by another means, so try something:

Go to System -> Administration -> Networking and select Properties of your wireless connection. Uncheck "enable this connection" for it and then log out. Log back in and try configuring your wireless again in NM. Also, post the contents of your /etc/network/interfaces after you log in but before you try reconfiguring. If it hasn't changed we may need to edit it manually.
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:58 pm

bitvector wrote:Okay, you've got a lot of entries in there. Did you configure any of those manually?


Not that I meant to, but I did plug the laptop in to connect through standard Ethernet and update. Dunno what that did.

bitvector wrote:Go to System -> Administration -> Networking and select Properties of your wireless connection. Uncheck "enable this connection" for it and then log out. Log back in and try configuring your wireless again in NM. Also, post the contents of your /etc/network/interfaces after you log in but before you try reconfiguring. If it hasn't changed we may need to edit it manually.


Unchecked wifi and restarted:

/etc/network/interfaces wrote:auto lo
iface lo inet loopback


#iface eth0 inet dhcp

auto eth2
#iface eth2 inet dhcp

auto ath0
#iface ath0 inet dhcp

auto wlan0
#iface wlan wlan0 inet dhcp



iface eth1 inet dhcp
wireless-key **********
wireless-essid FLAT



iface eth0 inet dhcp

auto eth0


So it changed some lines around, Eth0 must be 'Wired connection', looks like I accidentally enabled it at some stage. Back into System/Administration/Network, re-enable 'Wireless connection'. Properties still the same.

Internet still not up, interfaces now lists "auto eth1" as well so its definitely changed that setting.
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:15 pm

Okay, it didn't do what I thought it would and now there seems to be a new eth2 entry. We should edit it manually to clean this up. Edit the file (sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces) to look like this:
Code: Select all
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

#iface eth0 inet dhcp

#auto eth2
#iface eth2 inet dhcp

#auto ath0
#iface ath0 inet dhcp

#auto wlan0
#iface wlan wlan0 inet dhcp

#iface eth1 inet dhcp
#wireless-key **********
#wireless-essid FLAT

#iface eth0 inet dhcp
#auto eth0

The blank lines don't matter (you can clean it up a bit); just comment out everything except for the "lo" related lines. After doing that, save your changes, reboot the system and retry with NM. Also, when you try with NM sometimes try unchecking and rechecking the interface.

If it still doesn't work after all that I'll post instructions to test manual configuration of the interface.
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:44 pm

OK manually edited, reset up the wifi, tried turning it on/off, still no net :(

/etc/network/interfaces

Code: Select all
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

#iface eth0 inet dhcp

#auto eth2
#iface eth2 inet dhcp

#auto ath0
#iface ath0 inet dhcp

#auto wlan0
#iface wlan wlan0 inet dhcp

iface eth1 inet dhcp
wireless-key **********
wireless-essid FLAT

#iface eth0 inet dhcp
#auto eth0


So it un-commented the 'eth1' lines but no luck. Btw I not certain I am reading my handwriting for my WEP key properly, would I get an error if it connected but the key was wrong? I've tried the different combinations of 'zero' or 'O' anyway, don't think thats the problem.
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:59 pm

amphibem wrote:Btw I not certain I am reading my handwriting for my WEP key properly, would I get an error if it connected but the key was wrong? I've tried the different combinations of 'zero' or 'O' anyway, don't think thats the problem.

... eliminate that possibility first. It won't tell you explicitly if the key is wrong, you just won't be able to associate properly with the AP. If the key is specified in hex digits (0-9 and A-F), it should always be zero. You have to select WEP ASCII, WEP Hex or WEP Passphrase correctly in your settings depending on the type of key.

This page here gives you an example of NM's behavior when Wireless is working: http://resnet.missouristate.edu/help/ac ... ubuntu.php
When enabled, you should be able to select "Connect to Other Wireless Network..." to connect to ones without a broadcasting ESSID.
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Postposted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:10 pm

wifi is one of the biggest things keeping me from using linux. (besides drivers.)
I use WPA2+AES, and have not been successful getting linux to work with that.

The live dvds are great for testing, and saves me a lot of hassle if it doesn't work.

maybe try wlcardconfig if nothing else works. (does that work in ubuntu?)
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Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:43 am

Just want to make belated final post here to say cheers to bitvecthex!or for your efforts, I'm giving up on Linux for now and attempting to back up what I have done for later efforts but thanx man.

edit: It works! Followed the manual config here, a bit of trial and error and found out I was entering my pass phrase as ASCII when it was actually hex! :oops: Feel a bit silly for that one. But its all go now, cheers all.
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