Debian Buster on MBP WiFi no longer connecting

Kernels & Hardware, configuring network, installing services

Debian Buster on MBP WiFi no longer connecting

Postby c64whiz » 2020-03-03 01:18


This post is more of a narrative for others who may be experiencing similar issues and not so much a call for help. Though input/suggestions are welcome.

The Problem
I have a 2015 MacBookPro running Debian 10 and XFCE with latest patches as of 3/2/2020. I have the Broadcom firmware installed per the wiki: ... om_chipset

All was working fine and dandy until recently when my WiFi would no longer connect. I fought with NetworkManager, 'rfkill', etc. all with no luck. So I tried other adapters also with no luck. I rebooted into MacOS (I have dual boot on this box) and it too, would no longer connect to any of my networks...not hidden networks or visible networks!!

I know, you're thinking it's the access point...I thought that too. But my phone connects fine to the "guest" network of the AP and another mobile device connects to the primary network of the AP...both just fine with no problems and quickly.

Possible Solution
I've had this issue before and I recall unplugging my 4-Port USB hub (powered from the USB port on the MBP, i.e. no external power source) from the left USB port on the MBP got my WiFi up and running again. Once I remembered this after yelling and screaming, I rebooted the machine with the USB hub unplugged and voila!, Wifi was back up with no problem and quickly.

I call this a possible solution because I have 3 things plugged into the hub:

    a USB mouse (HP brand)
    a micro-usb cable connected to nothing
    a RJ-45 Ethernet dongle connected to nothing

Once the system was up and connected to wifi, I plugged in the hub again, the network was connected, but I couldn't resolve/ping anything. So I again, unplugged the hub and things started working fine. Then I re-attached the Hub and things are still working.

Just out of curiosity, I've removed the USB Ethernet dongle and will live without it for a bit to see if reboots result in any issues.

Yes, I agree! The USB Ethernet dongle was not connected to a network cable and thus did not even register with Network Manager. Likewise, the micro-USB cable is not connected to anything. But if the USB hub itself is to blame, then I should expect problems in the future without the Ethernet dongle anyway.

I will update this post in a few days after some life with the Hub but w/o the dongle.

Temporary Conclusion
If WiFi is starting to give you problems on a MBP, try removing all USB devices and see if you get different results.

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