Bloody Linux Wireless Networking

Update

My advice is this:

If you have problems connecting to your wireless network in any version of Kubuntu just install wicd with

sudo aptitude install wicd

This will remove the default network manager and install a more reliable one (wicd). Once it’s installed, restart your computer. If wicd fails to connect with your wireless network open its command interface (Applications>Internet>Network Manager) click preferences and set Wireless Interface to wlan0. Worked for me.

On with the story:

A few of days ago I updated my Linux distro with the usual sudo apt-get dist-upgrade. I’ve been on a fucking steep learning curve ever since. I’m glad I ran the update but I wish it hadn’t buggered up my operating system by removing my desktop environment.

Trust me, it’s only after you’ve had to use a computer without a graphical desktop that has a nice graphical file manager and a nice graphical web browser that you appreciate how much you depend on them and the developers who build them.

Don’t get me wrong, I know how to navigate the command line to find, backup and edit files but it’s so much easier to command a computer with a mouse than to issue textual instructions.

I can hear you forming the question: “Why didn’t you just re-run the update or re-install the removed components?”

Believe me, if only it had been so easy… Something I learned through all of this: Linux, Command Line and Wi-Fi Adapters do not mix.

For two days, the only Internet access I’ve had through this computer is via my trustee Kubuntu Live Disk.

Getting Linux to use a Wi-Fi adapter without a graphical desktop is damn near impossible. I spent plenty of time surfing the Net, checking manual pages and posting in the Kubuntu forum. I’ve learned a few tricks, I’ve learned new things about Linux, I have something new to write about; and I’m happy about that; but none of this new knowledge helped.

To fix the issue I tried to re-run the update but the required packages hadn’t been downloaded; so I thought, I know, I’ll use the Live Disk to access the Internet, download those packages to apt’s storage cache (/var/cache/apt/archives) and install them manually with apt-get install –no-download and dpkg -i. No joy. Too many missing dependencies.

I tried to get my Wi-Fi card to work with various iwconfig and ifconfig instructions and none of it worked. Not for my Wi-Fi adapter anyway.

If ever you find yourself without your Linux Desktop Environment and unable to access the Net to fix it then my advice to you is this: remove the Wi-Fi card and connect your computer directly to your router via a LAN cable. It will save you many hours (for me, days) of hard work getting you nowhere fast.

But, if you really want to know the solution that’s supposed to get your Wi-Fi card up-and-running from the command line then here it is (use sudo before each command or sudo su to maintain super user status while issuing the commands):

for an unencrypted network,

ifdown --force -a
iwconfig wlan0 essid pleasework
iwconfig wlan0 key off
iwconfig wlan0 mode managed
ifconfig wlan0 up

That last command (ifconfig wlan0 up) can also be stated as ifup wlan0 (that is the number zero not the letter ‘o’).

Another option is to issue the commands

iwconfig wlan0 essid justwork mode managed
ifdown --force -a
ifup wlan0

Neither of those instruction set worked for me despite my editing my interfaces file (nano /etc/network/interfaces) from,

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

to

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback
address 127.0.0.1
netmask 255.0.0.0

I’m told those instructions and edits should have worked but they didn’t. Perhaps you, dear reader, will have better luck.

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