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Old 06-08-2011, 11:02 PM   #1
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Problem with Wireless running Ubuntu in Dell Inspiron 1521

Hello everyone. I'm new in Linux and I can't seem to make the Wireless work. I've searched in google and on this forum and have followed some advices but i'm stuck.

I'm using Ubuntu on a Dell Inspiron 1521. I downloaded ndiswrapper 1.9 from Synaptic and the windows driver (the one I successfully used in windows). I managed to install the bcmwl5.inf with ndiswrapper (it says: "Hardware present:yes") but it doesn't detect any wireless conections.

If I run ndiswrapper -l in the terminal it says:

bcmwl5 : driver installed
	device (14E4:4311) present (alternate driver: ssb)

So far so good (I hope) BUT, when I run iwconfig it says:

lo        no wireless extensions.

eth0      no wireless extensions.

wlan0     IEEE 802.11bg  ESSID:off/any  
          Mode:Managed  Access Point: Not-Associated   Tx-Power=0 dBm   
          Retry  long limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off

Any ideas? Again, I'm really new (installed Linux like...3 hours ago and i'm fighting with this) so i'm sorry if I did EVERYTHING WRONG, please understand

Well, I hope you guys can help me! I'd sure appreciate it!

Yours sincerely,


Last edited by Mangrula; 06-08-2011 at 11:05 PM.
Old 06-09-2011, 09:42 AM   #2
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a little bump so you guys don't forget about me
Old 06-09-2011, 01:22 PM   #3
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I have previously had nice luck with Ubuntu on Dell. The current one I am typing is Dell Inspiron connected to wireless network. I am not sure why you had to use ndiswrapper. Now that your network card seems to be installed, can you see anything on network manager regarding wireless networks? If the card is properly installed and working and if it detects wireless networks, you should just be able to left click on the network manager icon and connect to the network.
Old 06-09-2011, 02:47 PM   #4
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Hello linuxlover, thanks for replying! I had to use ndiswrapper because it didn't show any wireless networks on the network manager, and neither does now. Any ideas?
Old 06-09-2011, 09:07 PM   #5
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Run lspci in a terminal; the output should identify your wireless chipset.

Being a Dell, it's likely a Broadcom chip. The firmware is in the Ubuntu restricted repos (Synaptic-->Settings-->Repositories-->Ubuntu-->Proprietary Drivers for Devices).

You will need to use a wired connection to download the firmware.


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