After dual booting MacBook Air with Ubuntu, when I logged in to Ubuntu, I found that Ubuntu did not detect any wireless network. Networking was on but it said ‘no network devices available‘.
Indeed it is a common issue not only with with Broadcom network adapters but other network adapters as well in Ubuntu Linux.
A relief is that Ubuntu provides additional drivers specifically for various wireless adapters. But the issue is that to install additional drivers in Ubuntu you will need a network connection. If you have a wired connection, it will be very easy to install the additional drivers. But if you are restricted to the wireless network only, you’ll have to look for alternate methods.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you a few methods to fix wifi issue in Ubuntu and other Ubuntu based distributions such as Linux Mint, elementary OS etc.
Fix no WiFi issue in Ubuntu based Linux distributions
First, find out the network adapter in your system. You can refer to this article to find out the make of wireless network adapter in Linux. In fact, you can just check in Software Sources if there are any additional drivers available for your system or not. If there are propriety drivers available, this method will easily work for you. Also, you will need the ISO image of the same Ubuntu version.
Method 1: Use the ISO image to install additional wifi drivers in Ubuntu
Get the ISO image of Ubuntu. If you just had a fresh install, you must have this ISO image in some other system or same system in another OS in dual boot. Copy it to an external device such as USB or DVD. Just copy it, don’t burn it as bootable USB.
Now boot into Ubuntu and copy this Ubuntu ISO image to your home directory.
Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and use the following commands:
sudo mkdir /media/cdrom cd ~ sudo mount -o loop ubuntu-* /media/cdrom
Basically, we just manually mounted the ISO image as if it was a CD.
Go to Unity Dash and look for Software & Updates:
In the first tab Ubuntu Software, check the option of CD Rom with Ubuntu…
It will ask for your password and reload the software sources. Next is to go in the Additional Drivers tab and select the propriety driver and click on Apply Changes.
Once the drivers have been installed, you’ll see that Ubuntu now recognizes the wireless networks in range.
It may happen that Ubuntu doesn’t show additional drivers for your system or you may not be able to install the additional driver. It could also be the case that despite the additional drivers installed, the wifi still doesn’t work.
Important: You should uncheck the ‘install from CD ROM’ option in the Software & Updates after this step.
In that case, you may refer to the next method but keep in mind that it is exclusively for systems with Broadcom wireless adapters.
Method 2: Fix no WiFi in Ubuntu with broadcom wireless adapters
This method is exclusively for Broadcom 43 series of wireless adapters. So make sure that you have these adapters by using this command:
sudo lshw -C network
If you see a wireless network adapter starting with BCM43, then only you should go ahead with this part of the tutorial.
description: Wireless interface
product: BCM4360 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter
vendor: Broadcom Corporation
physical id: 0
bus info: [email protected]:03:00.0
logical name: wlan0
The first step is to remove any broadcom drivers already installed on your system. Open a terminal and use the following command:
sudo apt remove broadcom-sta-dkms bcmwl-kernel-source
Step 2: If you are connected to internet via ethernet
If you are connected to internet via LAN/Ethernet cable, you can install different broadcom drivers using this command:
sudo apt install firmware-b43-installer
Once the install is finished doing its work, you’ll need to reboot. After you log back in, you’ll be able to see and access your wifi connections.
Step 2: If you don’t have any internet connections
If you don’t have ethernet, you may still be able to pull this off. But you’ll need another system (Linux, Windows or macOS) with active internet connection.
What you are going to do here is to download the driver manually and then transfer it to your problematic Linux system and install it there.
First check which Ubuntu version you are using: Now go to this link to download the WiFi driver for your Ubuntu version.
You should see a screen like this. Click on the link that corresponds to your Ubuntu version:
Now on the next page, click on the ‘all’ link:
On the next screen, you’ll see a huge number of links. These are various server mirrors and you can click on any of them to download the DEB file of broadcom driver for Ubuntu and Linux Mint.
Once you have downloaded the DEB file for the broadcom driver, transfer it to your Ubuntu system that doesn’t have the WiFi. You can use a USB drive to transfer the file.
Once you have copied this DEB file to Linux system with no WiFi, install the drivers from DEB file by double clicking on it.
Alternatively, you can use the dpkg command to install the package from deb file.
cd ~/Downloads sudo dpkg -i firmware-b43-installer_*
Follow the rest of the instructions to install the drivers. Once installed, reboot your system. You should have the WiFi now.
Did it work for you?
Troubleshooting wifi issue could be tricky in Linux. I have encountered an issue where Ubuntu could see the wireless networks but couldn’t connect to it.
I hope this post helped you to fix no wireless network issue in Ubuntu. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to drop a comment.