Wireless card not working on Dell Vostro 3300

Problem

I installed Ubuntu on a Dell Vostro 3300 notebook. After installation, I find that wireless is not working. Even the wireless notification light above the keyboard is not turned on.

I used lspci to check if the wireless card is detected:

$ sudo lspci -v

12:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g LP-PHY (rev 01)
    Subsystem: Dell Wireless 1397 WLAN Mini-Card
    Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 17
    Memory at fbb00000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16K]
    Capabilities: [40] Power Management version 3
    Capabilities: [58] Vendor Specific Information: Len=78 <?>
    Capabilities: [e8] MSI: Enable- Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit+
    Capabilities: [d0] Express Endpoint, MSI 00
    Capabilities: [100] Advanced Error Reporting
    Capabilities: [13c] Virtual Channel
    Capabilities: [160] Device Serial Number xx-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx
    Capabilities: [16c] Power Budgeting <?>
    Kernel driver in use: b43-pci-bridge

I find that Broadcom BCM4312 chip in the Dell Wireless 1397 wireless card is detected and a b43-pci-bridge driver has been installed. This is not a WLAN driver.

Solution

Broadcom chips need the driver provided by Broadcom. This needs to be installed for the card to work.

Ubuntu 14.04

  • Connect to the internet using a LAN cable.

  • Install the Broadcom driver:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get --reinstall install bcmwl-kernel-source
  • Restart Ubuntu.

My wireless card worked after this. The wireless notification light above the keyboard too was lit up.

I checked lspci again and found the correct driver now installed:

$ sudo lspci -v

12:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g LP-PHY (rev 01)
    Subsystem: Dell Wireless 1397 WLAN Mini-Card
    Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 17
    Memory at fbb00000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16K]
    Capabilities: [40] Power Management version 3
    Capabilities: [58] Vendor Specific Information: Len=78 <?>
    Capabilities: [e8] MSI: Enable- Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit+
    Capabilities: [d0] Express Endpoint, MSI 00
    Capabilities: [100] Advanced Error Reporting
    Capabilities: [13c] Virtual Channel
    Capabilities: [160] Device Serial Number xx-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx
    Capabilities: [16c] Power Budgeting <?>
    Kernel driver in use: wl

Ubuntu 10.04

To enable wireless, choose System → Administration → Hardware Drivers. The system will now search for required proprietary drivers. In the list it presents, choose the Broadcom STA Wireless Driver. After it is installed, reboot and your wireless card should now work.

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