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Old 07-27-2008, 12:42 PM   #1
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Registered: Jul 2008
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Newest of the new... with wireless network proplems... bah.

I am VERY new to Linux and just installed Ubuntu 8.4 on my desktop and my laptop (Dell Inspiron 5160) and now it won't install updates on the laptop because it can't seem to connect to the internet.

Please bare with me because I am SO new to this. If you do reply, please use short, very descriptive (detailed, such as "go to Applications>then here> then here, etc." not just "you need to install ndiswrapper").

After installing Ubuntu I tried to install the updates that were available (at the top right of the screen displayed by an arrow) and it gives me 2 messages (one for each update):

W:Failed to fetch Could not resolve ''

I have gone to the following links and have tried just about everything I think.

Two problems with using this link:
Because I DO not have internet access, I used that part to start my fix.

I reinserted the desktop cd of Ubuntu and it does not prompt me to add anything to any repository thingy. It just opens up that cd and lists the files. ??? Inserting that cd and rebooting just takes me to the installation screen again.

Also, when I go to the Synaptic Package Manager and search for ndis, nothing comes up.

So I downloaded the ndiswrapper-1.53 but in no way know how to install this. So it sits on my desktop, unused and lonely.

I also searched for my wireless card via the terminal command lspci and I found: 02:02.0 Network Controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller. Does this mean my computer at least recognizes the driver? ???

When I go to System> Admin> Network I have 3 "connections" that are displayed. 1 is "Wireless connection" that I manually tried to configure, but go figure, it still doesn't work. The other are "Wired Connection" and "Point to point connection".

I have also been to this site:

And while it DOES walk me through the steps, it just doesn't answer my questions completely.
Like: When I go to System> Preferences> Hardware Info ... Oh, wait, Hardware Info isn't there! Hmmm...

Also, when I "check for network", how do I know if it is on? Will it say "*-network DISABLED" because that's what it says. Does that mean it isn't on? How do I turn it on?

I did iwconfig and there is an ESSID, but I manually configed this (note above) so does that count? It isn't connecting!!!


I am so frustrated and tried to exhaust all my possible links before writing this thread, but now I am just exhausted.

If someone could help me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Start from the begining and use LITTLE words or I will get lost.

I can hear it now "dang newbie!" Ha. :P
Old 07-27-2008, 02:23 PM   #2
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1) I do not use Ubuntu.
2) Ubuntu has a package manager that I do not know how to use, which also expects you to be on the net to download stuff, so we have a catch 22, since we need to download stuff to get on the net.
3) READ THE FAQ & README files for ndiswrapper after you extract it.

Here's what I would do, as someone who doesn't use Ubuntu:

Install ndiswrapper the old fashioned way (presuming you have the SOURCEcode):

Figure out what windows driver to use.
You need to either:
1) boot windows on the machine, go to control-panel--> device manager--> the network device in question --> driver properties, and note the name/path of the driver in use.
2) Search through the Windows system directory (I don't know where, I don't use Windows) and locate the driver files for the device.
You are looking for two files, a .INF file and a .SYS file. For example, I have a Marvell Wireless device here, and the Windows files I use are called something like "marvW220.inf" and "marvW220.sys" but this is an example. Locate yours (on a WinXP or Win2K disc if possible.
3) Check the WIKI and the DOCS and the FAQ on the
ndiswrapper website, and locate your network device (if it is there) and identify what file they tell you that you need from the windows machine.

When you eventually find these file(s), copy them somehow over to the Ubuntu area, or atleast have them available somehow, like on a USB stick or a floppy disk.

Now, build & install ndiswrapper:

1) Extract the ndiswrapper archive you have there, by doing something like right clicking it and selecting "Exctract here" or something like this.
1b) Copy the Windows files into the ndiswrapper folder.
2) In your file browser (Nautilus?) enter into the newly created folder of the ndiswrapper sourcecode.
3) Locate the "Console" or "Konsole" or "terminal" or "Gnome Terminal" icon in your Nautilus menu somewhere, and open a terminal window. If there is no option in Nautilus for this, then locate said terminal in the MAIN MENU of the system, and in it, use such commands as 'ls' for list and 'cd' for change directory, and make your way into the ndiswrapper folder.
4) type "make"
5) type "make install -i windows-filename.inf" -- I think this is right, but the docs or the website will tell you.****

**** Note that you will probably need to prepend the word "sudo" in front of the two commands here, or atleast in front of the "make install" command.****
6) Now, if all went well, ndiswrapper is built & installed. Note that it also comes with an "Uninstall" option, so you can remove it and either install it properly later, or whatever.
7) type "sudo depmod"
8) type "sudo ldconfig" just for good measure
10) type "sudo modprobe ndiswrapper".
11) Presto! The device should be working.

If you got this far, or not, or if something is unclear, do tell.

Good luck!!

PS - The driver will probably not reload automatically upon reboot. Next time you reboot, open the terminal window and type "sudo modprobe ndiswrapper" to insert it again.
We can deal with this issue later, to make it automatic..

(And if I missed something in this procedure, Ubuntu people, please correct me for the benefit of this newcomer )


Last edited by GrapefruiTgirl; 07-27-2008 at 02:33 PM. Reason: forgot about sudo..
Old 07-28-2008, 09:16 AM   #3
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Question Hmmm... ok...

Well, I don't know how to add Windows to my new system, that is the first problem.

I already have the ndiswrapper on my machine, I just need to install it. Don't know how to do that from the shell script and if so where do I put the "package" to begin with before I install?

Is that even the problem? I think it has determined that I have a wireless adapter because it can detect that I have Broadcom... right? So do I even need ndiswrapper?

I am getting so frustrated. I need to have this fixed by August 11th. That is when my classes start... *sigh*

Can anyone help?!?!
Old 07-28-2008, 11:47 AM   #4
Registered: Dec 2005
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Ubuntu uses the Debian package manager (APT) for installing and updating software. I'd strongly recommend that you use that. You don't have to use it, but going behind the back of your package manager is not a good approach for someone just getting started with Linux.

Wireless networking is not yet quite plug and play in Linux. If at all possible, you will want to find a way to have a wired Ethernet connection to install the necessary software.

I'd recommend doing a little more reading on apt-get and figuring out a way to install the packages you need using that.

Also, do a little research on your wireless card and see if there is a native Linux driver for it. Ndiswrapper should be a last resort.
Old 07-28-2008, 01:19 PM   #5
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How do I find a "native linux driver"? Very good suggestions btw. Some stuff I should have thought about that I didn't. Duh.
Old 07-28-2008, 01:23 PM   #6
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Oh, I did do a search on my wireless driver and didn't see any linux software that I can use. It is Broadcom BCM and everything I read about that says to use ndiswrapper.
Old 07-28-2008, 01:31 PM   #7
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My suggestions:
Try plugging an ethernet cable into your PC and router/modem. Then boot. Most ubuntus will connect you automatically if your router/modem is offering dhcp (most do, by default). Then at least you have a connection you can post here from

Your wireless chip seems to be supported by the linux module bcm43xx I suspect we just need to do some configuration

Please post the outputs of the following commands (Preferably within code tags (Click go Advanced at the bottom of the quick reply bit, then use the # button)
sudo ifconfig
sudo iwconfig
sudo  iwlist scan
lsmod | grep bcm
lsmod | grep ndis
cat /etc/network/interfaces
Please also tell us the model of your wireless router (and a link to its PDF manual from the manufacturer's website would be much appreciated!)

Please answer the following:

have you done anything "strange" to your wireless router (like told it only to accept connections from known MAC addresses) or is it in an out-of-the-box condition?

Is your wireless encrypted?
What with? (WEP/ WPA)

What is its ESSID?

What is your passphrase? (Just go ahead and tell us, we do not know where you live, it'll help us sort out stupid-character and "spaces" errors, and you can always change it later)

we should have all the information we need to help you.
Old 07-29-2008, 08:35 AM   #8
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Well, I can answer some of these now and the rest tonight when I get home and look at again (I am at work).
I (for some strange, strange reason) thought originally it was my router that wasn't working. Yes, I know that if the desktop was working and my laptop was working before I installed Ubuntu then it couldn't possibly be that, but at the time I was grasping for straws. I read on a website for linux that the linksys routers sometimes need firmware updates. So I proceeded to do that. I changed my settings to factory and uploaded the firmware provided by the website (and now I can't find that stupid website). It was a wiki website if I'm not mistaken. Well, that whole process took a while to take care of and after tons of frustration I ended up shutting down my pc and not worrying about it until the next day.

Long story short, my router is still set at factory settings. No WEP/WPA and is set at the basic out of box factory settings currently (I don't care, if people really needed to steal my internet that bad, they can steal it... for now). My boyfriends laptop can connect to they linksys by the ESSID of "linksys". My laptop did not automatically detect this ESSID and so I entered "linksys" manually into the Wireless configuration thingy... and nothing.

I believe my wireless card model is: Broadcom Corporation BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller, but I will double check at home to be sure. I googled this and couldn't pin point a pdf file for you. Sorry.

Also, I will reply with output of the above commands this evening sometime. Thanks for your help.

I will go home and shut down the entire system (desktop, linksys, modem, and laptop) and power them all back on to see if I don't get a connection then. That may also be the problem, who knows?


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