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Old 09-06-2012, 10:20 AM   #1
HelenF
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F16 "wireless is disabled by hardware switch"


Running Fedora 16 (i686). The computer came with an internal USB wireless device "0db0:6877 Micro Star International RT2573". This has worked with kernels up to 3.3 (currently using 3.3.8-1).

With a 3.4 or higher kernel, it still works when I do a warm reboot from the 3.3 kernel. But if I boot from cold, NetworkManager says "wireless is disabled by hardware switch".

Code:
$ rfkill list
0: phy0: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: yes
(And rfkill won't let me unblock it.)

I downloaded some other kernel versions from Koji, and these four all gave the same behaviour:
3.4.2-1
3.4.9-2
3.5.3-1.fc17
3.6.0-0.rc4.git0.1.fc18

I'm also trying to use a better external USB wireless device (RT2870), that seems to require the 3.4 or higher kernel. It works only when the internal one is working. From a cold boot, rfkill says that only one of the devices is blocked; but NetworkManager says that both of them are "disabled by hardware switch". It makes no difference whether I boot up with the external one attached, or plug it in afterwards.

Any ideas for what I can try here? Extra reboots are a nuisance, and the 3.3 kernel probably won't be around any more after an upgrade.

(This post is not about my own computer, so I might be a little slow to post the results of your suggestions.)
 
Old 09-06-2012, 02:28 PM   #2
smoker
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I had a similar issue with wifi being disabled. If I turned the wifi off using the network dropdown (gnome 3) and then tried to turn it back on the same way, it would say hardware disabled. Going into the network manager and rapidly toggling the wifi on and off would clear it. Don't know why, haven't had the same issue since going to F17.

It may be worth trying a live version of F17 to see if the issue persists.
 
Old 09-09-2012, 07:16 AM   #3
HelenF
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F17 Live has a 3.3 kernel, so it didn't tell me anything new about this. (Except that I can still use a 3.3 kernel with F17, which means I should be able to upgrade without breaking the wireless completely.)

I tried Knoppix 7.0.4 (which has a 3.4 kernel) and it has the same issue. On a restart from F16 with 3.3 kernel, both wireless devices work. Booting from cold, I get "wireless is disabled by hardware switch".

I read that when this error appears on laptops, there might be a key combination to press to re-enable the wireless, such as Fn+F2 or Fn+F5. The problem computer is a small desktop with laptop-style internal hardware, and a desktop keyboard. The keyboard doesn't appear to have a Fn key. I tried pressing F2 and F5 and F-Lock in various orders, with no effect.
 
Old 09-12-2012, 04:11 PM   #4
HelenF
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If I do "rmmod rt73usb" from the problem state on either Fedora or Knoppix, the internal wireless device disappears, and the external one switches on and starts working properly. So I settled for that and blacklisted it. (At the range I was trying to use it, the internal one was not much good anyway.)
 
  


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