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Ubuntu install on Dell Inspiron - WiFi Issues

Linux Tips and Tricks
  • Friday, February 13 2015 @ 04:31 PM EST
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About a year ago, I did a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.04 on an older Dell laptop. One of the few issues was with the WiFi connectivity.

There is a proprietary driver for the Dell Wireless 1395 WLAN mini-card (which is actually a Broadcom BCM 4312 under the hood) provided by the manufacturer here.

Also, more information about detecting and installing alternate drivers provided in the Ubuntu documentation is worth reading: 
Identifying Your Broadcom BCM43xx Chipset (PCI)

The steps that I discovered was:

  • Install the proprietary driver
  • Go to System Settings and select Additional Drivers
  • Give it a few minutes to detect your hardware
  • Activate the STA wireless driver
Important to note: you need to be plugged in with your Ethernet port to access the Internet. Changing the wireless drivers will disconnect your WiFi and of course will be unable to download anything.  That might be overstating the obvious, but hey, just wanted to mention it.


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