Troubleshooting Wireless Networks with Ubuntu

1. Introduction

This guide aims to help in troubleshooting wireless networks on Ubuntu. Before undertaking the steps in this guide, try the recommendations in the Offical Ubuntu Documentation for your version of Ubuntu.

2. Quick Check

  1. With your computer turned off, insert your wireless adapter into a suitable port/slot.
  2. Turn on your computer and log-in if/when prompted.
  3. Open a terminal window and enter the following command:
    nm-tool
  4. This program will output the information Network Manager has collected about your card, much of which will assist in setting-up wireless networking .
  5. If the output contains:
    State: connected
    (and you are not on a wired connection) then your wireless adpater is working and connected to a network.
  6. Left-click on the panel applet (four vertical bars in 9.10 or older; 4 concentric arcs in 10.04). If you can see wireless networks, then your wireless works; you need to connect to a network. See below on network connection.

3. Troubleshooting Steps

Troubleshooting wireless networks in Ubuntu can be approached in three steps in order:

  1. Check that your wireless adapter is enabled and that Ubuntu recognizes it: see Device Recognition and Operation.

  2. Check if drivers are available for your wireless adapter; install them and check them: see Device Drivers.

  3. Check your connection to the Internet: see Wireless Connections.

  4. Check if your wireless device is disabled by hardware switch or in BIOS; if the terminal command rfkill list shows "Hard blocked: yes", you may need to turn a physical switch on your laptop, or to enable your wireless device during the boot process.

  5. If it still does not work, ask a question at Launchpad, Ubuntu's official help: instructions.

4. Reference

  • Commands - a comprehensive list of commands, with explanations, for troubleshooting your wireless connection

  • Wireless Configuration Files - A list of the configuration files used in Ubuntu for configuring wireless networks.


CategoryNetworking CategoryWireless

WifiDocs/WirelessTroubleShootingGuide (last edited 2014-01-02 15:39:20 by jeff-t)