Loading wireless firmware by hand within the installer

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Loading wireless firmware by hand within the installer

Postby brian_p » 2015-12-28 18:53

The situation regarding missing firmware while installing is well described at


However, it can sometimes happen that firmware provided on removable media is not correctly detected and loaded into the wireless device.

One way round this is with a little bit of user intervention giving the kernel a fighting chance to find the firmware and provide it to the wireless device.

Put the firmware on a USB stick as loose files, not as Debian package. At the Detect network hardware stage stop and switch to a console with ALT-F2. The kernel always looks in /lib/firmware, so

Code: Select all
mkdir /lib/firmware

Mount the partition on the removable device holding the firmware:

Code: Select all
mount -tvfat /dev/sdxn /media

and copy the firmware files to /lib/firmware with

Code: Select all
cp -a /media /lib/firmware

sdxn will be something like sdc1, sdh2 etc.

Continue the installation with Detect network hardware. When the network is configured the wireless interface should be included in the list of discovered interfaces.

The procedure will almost certainly fail If you carry it out immediately after a failed firmware loading attempt and have not unplugged the wireless device and reinserted it. This is because the installer only tries once to detect network hardware and load firmware for a particular inserted device. A reinserted device is seen as a new device.
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Re: Loading wireless firmware by hand within the installer

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2015-12-28 19:25

Excellent guide, thank you very much for this :)
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