[TriLUG] Noob Installing Intel Wireless Adapter
hunteke at earlham.edu
Wed Nov 3 14:12:33 EDT 2010
At 1:07pm -0400 Wed, 03 Nov 2010, Scott Thomas wrote:
> I want to do a new install of Linux on my laptop. I've tried at least
> ten different distros, hoping that one of them would automatically
> find and install my Sony Vaio VGN-FS790's wireless adapter (Intel
> PRO/Wireless 2200BG), but so far, none have.
This is very surprising. Intel open sourced the driver for that line of
wireless cards from near the beginning and co-developed it with the
community. I believe it's now directly in the kernel (since 2.6.24,
> I've tried the widest range I could think of including Mepis, Ubuntu,
> Kubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, OpenSuSE, Linux Mint, CentOS,
I used to have the 2200 BG card, and ran various version of Ubuntu,
Kubuntu, and Fedora on that machine. All used my wireless card flawlessly.
At the risk of getting flamed, I will say that I have generally not been
impressed with the Sony brand of computers. Maybe 8 of the ten Sony
boxes on which I've been asked to work have had some sort of
intermittent hardware error. On one it wouldn't boot to a usable
desktop unless you held down a key on the lower right part of the
keyboard. On another, after re-screwing in two screws, one still had to
hold the CD/DVD drive into place in the socket if one wanted to read a
disc. I haven't yet experienced a wireless hardware problem with a
Sony, but it wouldn't surprise me.
You might try re-seating the wireless card and power connections. It's
a long shot, especially if the card works in Windows, but it's something
After that, you'll generally need to debug what's going on. It's
unfortunate that you're new to linux, as debugging is not the most
friendly of endeavors to noobs, but hopefully you will stick with it!
- Does the kernel see the hardware (wireless card)?
$ lspci | grep -i wireless
- Scan the output of dmesg for something pertinent:
$ dmesg | less
- Did the kernel forget to autoload the correct driver?
$ lsmod | grep -Ei "ipw|iwl"
- Is the card recognized, but you've got the radio kill switch enabled?
$ rfkill list
- Is there anything pertinent in your system logs?
$ less /var/log/syslog
$ less /var/log/messages
If the kernel sees the hardware (lspci), /and/ the correct driver is
loaded into the kernel (lsmod), then the issue is not with Linux per se,
but with some setting. Perhaps the rfkill switch or something else.
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