no wireless on laptop with Debian etc. but 2 other Linux ok

Getting your soundcard to work, using Debian on non-i386 hardware, etc

no wireless on laptop with Debian etc. but 2 other Linux ok

Postby Nick_Levinson » 2017-06-11 00:59

Wi-Fi is nonexistent on my refurbished Dell Latitude E4300 laptop with BIOS properly set when Debian 8.8.0, TrueOS (2017-04-21), or Fedora 25 Linux is installed or Fedora 20 or 25 is live but works fine when old Knoppix 7.2 is either installed or run live or with Porteus 1.1 64-bit running live on the same laptop. These are all Linux except that TrueOS is FreeBSD. Debian with the Xfce desktop in nonroot (root was unreachable) didn't see any wireless. Attempts in Debian to use the Gnome desktop revert to Xfce. In Fedora, the wireless icon is missing from the desktop panel, wireless is not in the network app, and it doesn't work. In nonroot TrueOS, I tried treating my usual home network as hidden but that only got me a profile, not a connection, although the icon is on the Lumina desktop. TrueOS > SysAdmin: Update Manager (127.0.0.1) window > Updates tab > Latest Check > "System is up to date!!" implies Internet access works but I think that message is probably an error, especially since the title bar shows a loopback address. All this is on a refurbished laptop, recently bought, all single-boot. I never tried Windows, which I erased. Is there something I should adjust in Debian?
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Re: no wireless on laptop with Debian etc. but 2 other Linux

Postby orythem27 » 2017-06-11 01:16

Post the output of the following commands.
Code: Select all
uname -a
lspci -knn | grep -iA2 net
/sbin/iwconfig
/usr/sbin/rfkill list all
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Re: no wireless on laptop with Debian etc. but 2 other Linux

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-06-11 01:31

When you post the output of the command suggested it will be more clear,

Is there something I should adjust in Debian?

Often some firmware is needed, this is a very common problem.
no wireless on laptop with Debian
============
https://wiki.debian.org/iwlwifi
==========================
https://wiki.debian.org/WiFi
"What we expect you have already Done"

Before doing anything, read the Debian documentation:
Debian Documentation
How to ask the smart way
Debian Foro Español
======================
For the Birds
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Re: no wireless on laptop with Debian etc. but 2 other Linux

Postby Nick_Levinson » 2017-06-16 23:23

@orythem27: Here's the Debian CLI output in a nonroot account (I couldn't access root and don't know why) (brackets, leading whitespace (perhaps not as tabs), and blank lines so in original):
nick@wintermidnightbeach:~$ Code: Select all
bash: Code:: command not found
nick@wintermidnightbeach:~$ uname -a
Linux wintermidnightbeach 3.16.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.16.43-2 (2017-04-30) x86_64 GNU/Linux
nick@wintermidnightbeach:~$ lspci -knn | grep -iA2 net
00:19.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Intel Corporation 82567LM Gigabit Network Connection [8086:10f5] (rev 03)
Subsystem: Dell Device [1028:024d]
Kernel driver in use: e1000e
--
0c:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g LP-PHY [14e4:4315] (rev 01)
Subsystem: Dell Wireless 1397 WLAN Mini-Card [1028:000c]
Kernel driver in use: b43-pci-bridge
nick@wintermidnightbeach:~$ /sbin/iwconfig
lo no wireless extensions.

eth0 no wireless extensions.

nick@wintermidnightbeach:~$ /usr/sbin/rfkill list all
bash: /usr/sbin/rfkill: No such file or directory
nick@wintermidnightbeach:~$ ^C
nick@wintermidnightbeach:~$

@GarryRicketson: That some old OSes work makes the failure of new OSes look like software regressions, so the search terminology to use was not clear to me. I can't just use the old OSes since browsers are becoming incompatible with some secure websites. I prefer to use default or preselected installations in order to avoid the risks of novel configurations and dependencies, but maybe I'll have to hack through ndiswrapper and a Win driver or find a compatible USB NIC. I'm used to firmware being a term for programming encoded in something firm, like a chip, which one does not upload, but I see here it has another meaning. Thank you for the links, which likely seemed obvious to you but reflect a reframing of my issue.
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Re: no wireless on laptop with Debian etc. but 2 other Linux

Postby stevepusser » 2017-06-17 00:30

All you need to know is in the wiki. That's my top result when I do a web search for this

Code: Select all
debian 14e4:4315


Do you have a wired connection until you get wireless working?
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: Krita 3.3.2.1, Pale Moon 27.6.0, Audacity 2.2.0, mpv 0.27.0, Corebird 1.7.1, Firefox 57.0, SMPlayer 17.11.2
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Re: no wireless on laptop with Debian etc. but 2 other Linux

Postby Nick_Levinson » 2017-09-09 23:28

Tentatively solved: I got a USB Wi-Fi NIC meant for Linux without having to compile or install any software (it's from ThinkPenguin, which has a long detailed compatibility list) and it's working. I think a driver may have been taken out of the Linux kernel, which would be why old OSes worked but newer ones did not. I tried a couple of other Linux-compatible USB NICs, but the instructions were unclear and I got stuck mid-installation. I have no wired connection; a public building has one but I won't have much time there, so it's not practical. Thanks for the parsing and the advice.
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Re: no wireless on laptop with Debian etc. but 2 other Linux

Postby stevepusser » 2017-09-10 01:03

No, it's because some distros include the nonfree firmware on the ISO, and some don't...like Fedora and Debian. There's no removal of the driver from the kernel. Since you now have a connection, you can install firmware-b43-installer as clearly stated in the wiki to get your device working.
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: Krita 3.3.2.1, Pale Moon 27.6.0, Audacity 2.2.0, mpv 0.27.0, Corebird 1.7.1, Firefox 57.0, SMPlayer 17.11.2
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Re: no wireless on laptop with Debian etc. but 2 other Linux

Postby Nick_Levinson » 2017-09-10 01:38

My USB Wi-Fi is working (I found it was made by Trendnet, which does not assert Linux compatibility and no longer offers it, but sold by ThinkPenguin, which does assert it and is right to do so, especially because no software installation is needed). I'll live without the internal Wi-Fi, because installing a driver for the Broadcom may be clear but is not simple and would have to be repeated for every OS kernel update or perhaps OS update and it wouldn't help when I'm using a live distro, which is often. I hope the industry catches up to us users.

On driver removal from the kernel, I don't know if Broadcom drivers were removed, but apparently some other drivers are removed from time to time, but maybe not for WLAN wireless.
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Re: no wireless on laptop with Debian etc. but 2 other Linux

Postby stevepusser » 2017-09-10 18:57

I repeat, the b43 driver is in the kernel. It is not removed in any distro's kernel. Debian does not have permission to package the non-free firmware that the driver asks for, so instead the b43-firmware-installer package downloads and installs it. Kernel upgrades do not affect the firmware, and the driver will get upgrades as part of any new kernel. Don't confuse firmware with drivers, as so many do.

If you won't read the wiki and package descriptions, you are always going to have trouble with Debian.
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: Krita 3.3.2.1, Pale Moon 27.6.0, Audacity 2.2.0, mpv 0.27.0, Corebird 1.7.1, Firefox 57.0, SMPlayer 17.11.2
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Re: no wireless on laptop with Debian etc. but 2 other Linux

Postby Nick_Levinson » 2017-09-12 22:45

I do read relevant parts of the wiki. I read package descriptions, or used to until recently when they come by the dozens during an update and I no longer have the time to read all of them, especially since they usually don't say much worth remembering and I'm not sure they can be found again without a lot of work each time (for openSuse 13.2, I had to search the developer website pages for source code and for that I'd have to remember which packages were updated).

I used to think of firmware as code inserted into physically hard (firm) stuff, thus requiring flashing a BIOS, which risks permanent destruction of the system board (I'm probably not prepared to desolder in tight quarters, or any quarters), so I wasn't interested in downloading firmware to support USB Wi-Fi if I could find another way to get Wi-Fi. I gather either the definition of "firmware" has changed or the procedure has improved, and I may research that.

I recall seeing "b43" or "B43" during installation of TrueOS (not Linux); the string came up twice and it wanted me to supply a file. I didn't and, for an unrelated reason, I switched back to Linux.

I need the computer for productivity, so I prefer default installations and adding apps approved for the current distro, to reduce problems. For some long-ago distro, I tried not installing games and found some dependency missing, so now I choose default configs.

I'm glad for the FOSS movement. It's produced very capable replacements for Microsoft's annoyances.

I have working Wi-Fi (just not internal for newer OSes). I'm productive.

Thanks.
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