Wireless and Kubuntu 9.04…

I tried to connect my media computer to my wireless network and failed. I ended up running a wired connection to it and searching online for an answer. There is a lot of stuff out there regarding problems with the KNetwork Manager app being brain-dead with wireless. I did some checking and found that my wireless chipset, a Broadcom BCM 4318 AirForce One 54g should work. I ran the command lshw -C network and the results seemed normal. The b43 modules was loaded. Yet I could not get it to connect. I also stumbled over a possible fix with KWallet – using no password, creating an entry and allowing KWallet to use that for the network connection. It still did not work.
Then I went to the System menu, Hardware Drivers, and looked at the proprietary drivers. The Nvidia driver and the Broadcom driver were both listed but not enabled, so I enabled each. As soon as the Broadcom driver loaded, I recreated the network connection and was in immediately.

Not too smooth, overall. I can appreciate the frustration lots of folks are having with this issue, and the one with KNetworkManager not connecting to a network that does not broadcast an SSID. Some notification that more drivers needed to be loaded would have been really helpful here. I understand Ubuntu [GNOME] and Xubuntu [XFCE] are not having these issues.

9 Responses

  1. Try running a Gnome/XFCE live cd to see if you can connect. It might help you identify where the problem is coming from. From my limited experience, I’d guess it’s an operating system issue, not due to desktop managers.

    Good luck!

    • Actually, I found several links that all said that only the KDE spin had these issues – GNOME and XFCE did not. I am able to connect fine now – it needed the proprietary driver loaded before wireless would work.

  2. I tried using System Settings>Network Settings>Network>Wireless and adding a new wireless connection. No success. So I deleted the “connection” and tried something else:
    1. Use System Settings>Advanced>Autostart>Add Program
    2. Click the Open File Dialog icon (next to the text box) and browse to the folder for KNetworkManager (if your system is the same as mine it is /usr/bin)
    3. Set the permissions to: Owner Can Read & Write, Group Can Read, Others Can Read
    4. Ensure the Is Executable box is ticked on. Double check that the executable option has been recognised by clicking on Advanced Permissions – all three boxes under Exec should be ticked on. Click OK then OK
    This should add KNetworkManager as a Desktop file for the autostart function.
    5. Verify that the Status is Enabled – tick the box if Disabled. Click out of System Settings.
    6. Open Dolphin or some other file manager and browse to find KNetworkManager – click on the file to open it.
    7. Wait for a few seconds until the KNetworkManager icon appears in the system tray, then click on it
    8. Select “New Connection”, and click wlan0
    9. Add the details for your wireless network.
    10. Don’t click Save or Save and Connect immediately – after entering the relevant details keep clicking Next to add all the required details in each form.
    11. At the last screen, ensure that the Autoconnect box has a cross in it (don’t ask me why a check box wasn’t used!), then click Save and Connect. (At this point I rebooted my machine).
    12. Your network may need to be put into some sort of recognition or polling mode to recognise a new client.
    Hope this is useful. I’ve only been using Linux for a couple of weeks but I guess this approach would be reasonably universal.

    • I was actually using the widget that seemed to be enabled by default on the taskbar. A left-click brings up the interfaces and the wireless networks seen. A right click brings up a menu that allows one to set up new connections, as well as select which interfaces to display on the widget. Try the widget – probably a little simpler than putting the icon on the desktop and setting permissions. It gets you to the same place.
      Sounds like our problems might have been different – I definitely needed to install the closed-source driver for my Broadcom adapter. Doing those things you describe (I tried many variations) did no good until I had loaded the right drivers.

  3. The problem I had was that the widget wasn’t on the taskbar. This was after upgrading from 8.10 to 9.04. The KNetworkManager widget has the same menu for either left or right clicking. Which raises the question: which widget do you use?

    • I am using the “Network Management” widget from the task tray. Upon closer examination, it is actually a panel, not a widget. Different menus for different clicks….
      I always do a clean reinstall rather than a distro upgrade in place, just to reduce variables.

  4. Good point, I’ll do the same in future. I know I have to be careful to do a full backup first but I would prefer not to overwrite my home directory. Do you know how I check my partitions, where the different parts of Linux are? Then I can do a clean reinstall to affect only the system. Thanks!

    • Peter: To see what is mounted, just type mount. If you type “df -h”, you will see your mounted partitions with human-readable space available numbers. At the shell, you can type cfdisk, and it will open the disk partition layout for your first drive (cfdisk /dev/hdx or /dev/sdx to see other drives). This is safe as long as you do not make changes and then write them.
      I always build my filesystems with / (root) on a partition (10 gig), /var on its own (2 to 3 gig), /tmp on its own (2 to 3 gig), /boot on its own (when doing RAID, 70 meg or so), and /home on its own (the rest). This way, I can blow away my distro and not lose my data. This also prevents /var (logs, apt cache, etc.) and /tmp (VM snapshots, etc.) from filling up root (/) and dropping the box.
      If you made one big partition (default behavior for most distros, it seems), then get gparted, try to resize (shrink) your partition (back up your stuff first!), and see if you cannot make a new /home folder. If so, copy your stuff from home to the new home, and then rebuild as you like. Make sure you choose Advanced partitioning (Manually Select Partitions or words to that effect), and break out /var at least. Do not let it format your new /home partition. the root partition really needs no more than 10 gig, especially with /var out fo the way. Some folks like to break out /opt and /usr as well, but I don’t really see the point.
      Hope this helps!

  5. Thanks, great information!

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