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What wireless card does your laptop have? Probably the wireless light will turn to green (indicating on) once you have installed the correct driver or firmware file for it. Perhaps you are in the unfortunate position that your card is not supported out-of-the-box by Ubuntu.
thanks for the link. i installed the latest drivers as suggested but that did not help either. i still believe it has to do with the wireless switch above the keyboard. it still does not change its color. do you know how to check its configuration?
I have had the same problem with two different HP laptops.
The sulotion I found working on both of them was to go to BIOS and do a BIOS reset.
I allready had the "default" settings in BIOS so this diden't affect anything really, but the wireless started working directly after a reboot.
Give it a try