Wireless card stopped working on Dell laptop

Asked by seanh on 2007-10-07

The laptop is a Dell Inspiron 510m running Dapper. The wireless card is an Intel PRO/Wireless LAN 2100 3B Mini PCI Adapter, internal.

It was working fine when I setup Ubuntu on the laptop, back in the Breezy days. It has since been upgraded to dapper, and the card was still fine. Then all of a sudden the user brings the laptop to me and tells me the Internet has completely stopped working, and sure enough, it has.

The network monitor applet is looking at the loopback interface, lo, and refuses to look at anything else. In Network settings the wireless card appears and can be activated, deactivated etc., but no networks show up in the list of networks. Even if I enter the network name manually it doesn't connect. I also tried running dhclient from the terminal and got nothing. Strangely enough when I booted a Feisty livecd I got exactly the same problem with the wireless card. Does this sound like the internal wireless card has actually died?

Here are some command outputs:

lshw: <http://pastebin.com/f3ea10d7f>

iwconfig: <http://pastebin.com/f7cb8c0a9>

sudo dhclient eth0: <http://pastebin.com/f24580559>

The laptop was definitely in range of a DHCP wireless network named "default" when I ran that command, because I'm able to connect to the network fine using ra0. ra0 is an external wireless card I've attached in order to make this bug report, it works fine, the problem internal card is apparently eth0.

The card should be compatible, from the looks of this page <https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HardwareSupportComponentsWirelessNetworkCardsIntel> using the ipw2100 driver, and I notice from the iwconfig output that it seems to be using that driver.

I did notice the "unassociated" and Tx-Power:off for eth0 in the iwconfig output. Looks weird. But I can do nothing more with my linux knowledge. Any help?

Thanks

Question information

Language:
English Edit question
Status:
Solved
For:
Dell Ubuntu Project Edit question
Assignee:
No assignee Edit question
Solved by:
seanh
Solved:
2007-10-14
Last query:
2007-10-14
Last reply:
seanh (seanh) said : #1

Oh, one more thing. When I first looked at the laptop the linux-restricted-modules package was marked as broken. I used Synaptic to fix it, then to install all the latest updates for dapper, then rebooted, before running the tests in my first post. I noticed that Synaptic installed new versions of linux-restricted-modules and the linux kernel.

seanh (seanh) said : #2

Here's the output of dmesg after I booted the laptop and messed around with eth0 and ra0 for a while, doing the tests in my first post:

http://pastebin.com/f5454db24

eth0 is the internal card that isn't working. ra0 is an external I've attached that works fine. I don't see eth0 anywhere in dmesg. Weird. Should dmesg print out all info since I booted the laptop?

seanh (seanh) said : #3

Any help with this? I've looked through the wireless man files, the linux wireless lan howto, googled, asked on IRC, but haven't learned anything. I think the output of iwconfig looks suspicious with all the 0's and 'off's:

eth0 unassociated ESSID:"default" Nickname:"ipw2100"
Mode:Managed Channel=0 Access Point: Not-Associated
Bit Rate=0 kb/s Tx-Power:off
Retry min limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
Power Management:off
Link Quality:0 Signal level:0 Noise level:0
Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

but I tried various commands to try and power-up the device with no luck:

sudo iwconfig eth0 power on
sudo iwconfig eth0 txpower on
-> SET failed on device eth0; Invalid argument.
sudo iwconfig eth0 txpower auto
-> SET failed on device eth0; Invalid argument.
etc.

Nothing seems to get anywhere.

seanh (seanh) said : #4

Thanks to anubhavrocks on the forums I've found the answer to this -- the user had pressed Fn+F2 and turned off the wireless card! Actually it's not very obvious when the card is off on these Dell's, just a turned off LED marked with an odd symbol that doesn't really say wireless. I'll remember to look more closely at the blue Fn markings on each key next time someone comes to me accusing linux of having stopped working with their wireless card :)

seanh (seanh) said : #5

Thanks to anubhavrocks on the forums I've found the answer to this -- the user had pressed Fn+F2 and turned off the wireless card! Actually it's not very obvious when the card is off on these Dell's, just a turned off LED marked with an odd symbol that doesn't really say wireless. I'll remember to look more closely at the blue Fn markings on each key next time someone comes to me accusing linux of having stopped working with their wireless card :)

seanh (seanh) said : #6

Oh, and here's the output of iwconfig with the wireless card OFF, then with it ON, for reference. When it's on you get non-zero readings for things like Bit Rate, Link Quality and Signal Level, but I think those would only appear once the card is on AND has connected to a network. The real clue is ESSID:off/any when it's off, but that doesn't appear anymore after the user has tried to manually connect to a network.

eth0 unassociated ESSID:off/any Nickname:"ipw2100"
          Mode:Managed Channel=0 Access Point: Not-Associated
          Bit Rate=0 kb/s Tx-Power:off
          Retry min limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality:0 Signal level:0 Noise level:0
          Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

eth0 IEEE 802.11b ESSID:"default" Nickname:"ipw2100"
          Mode:Managed Frequency:2.437 GHz Access Point: 00:60:B3:78:3C:00
          Bit Rate=11 Mb/s Tx-Power:off
          Retry min limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=96/100 Signal level=-62 dBm
          Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

seanh (seanh) said : #7

I guess the one thing in iwconfig that might always tell you that a card is turned off regardless of whether the user has already tried to connect manually or not is the "unassociated" between eth0 and ESSID.