Wi-Fi doesn't work on new installation

I just installed Lubuntu 20.04.2 from a USB stick onto an old Hewlwtt-Packard laptop, model ‘Compaq 6710b’, with an Intel Celeron CPU. The installation seems to have worked well except the wi-fi doesn’t work. The computer fails to find any wi-fi networks although there are networks available at this location. The attached screenshot shows the nm-tray; notice the ‘Wi-Fi network(s)’ heading is greyed out.

I tried adding a wi-fi cnnection manually using the ‘Network Connections’ app that comes with the Lubuntu distribution, but wasn’t successful, possibly because I don’t really know how to use the Network Connections app – e.g., it asked me to input an SSID but I didn’t know what to give it.

The computer is 2005 vintage. I am having trouble determinig whether it is 32 or 64 bit.

My guesses are that I may need to install a driver for this computer’s wi-fi hardware, or I may need to tell an existing driver how to connect to the wi-fi hardware. I don’t exactly know how to do either of those things. Also, the problem might be something else, including possibly that the computer has no wi-fi hardware at all.

Any ideas?


Below are the results of running ‘lspci’ from the command line:

d@d-hpcompaq6710bgy924usaba:~$ lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile PM965/GM965/GL960 Memory Controller Hub (rev 0c)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (primary) (rev 0c)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (secondary) (rev 0c)
00:1a.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 03)
00:1a.1 USB controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5 (rev 03)
00:1a.7 USB controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 03)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 03)
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 3 (rev 03)
00:1c.4 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 5 (rev 03)
00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1d.1 USB controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1d.2 USB controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev f3)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801HM (ICH8M) LPC Interface Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801HM/HEM (ICH8M/ICH8M-E) IDE Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation 82801HM/HEM (ICH8M/ICH8M-E) SATA Controller [AHCI mode] (rev 03)
02:04.0 CardBus bridge: Ricoh Co Ltd RL5c476 II (rev b6)
02:04.1 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Ricoh Co Ltd R5C832 IEEE 1394 Controller (rev 02)
10:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Inc. and subsidiaries BCM4311 802.11a/b/g (rev 02)
18:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Inc. and subsidiaries NetLink BCM5787M Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express (rev 02)
d@d-hpcompaq6710bgy924usaba:~$



I also ran ‘lshw’ from the command line, with the following results:

d@d-hpcompaq6710bgy924usaba:~$ sudo lshw -c network
[sudo] password for d:
*-network
description: Network controller
product: BCM4311 802.11a/b/g
vendor: Broadcom Inc. and subsidiaries
physical id: 0
bus info: pci@0000:10:00.0
version: 02
width: 64 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list
configuration: driver=b43-pci-bridge latency=0
resources: irq:17 memory:e4100000-e4103fff
*-network
description: Ethernet interface
product: NetLink BCM5787M Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
vendor: Broadcom Inc. and subsidiaries
physical id: 0
bus info: pci@0000:18:00.0
logical name: ens1
version: 02
serial: 00:1a:4b:68:7d:89
capacity: 1Gbit/s
width: 64 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm vpd msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list ethernet physical tp 10bt 10bt-fd 100bt 100bt-fd 1000bt 1000bt-fd autonegotiation
configuration: autonegotiation=on broadcast=yes driver=tg3 driverversion=5.8.0-41-generic firmware=sb v2.09 latency=0 link=no multicast=yes port=twisted pair
resources: irq:30 memory:e4000000-e400ffff
d@d-hpcompaq6710bgy924usaba:~$


(Note that this is different than the result from another Lubuntu Discourse member who was having wi-fi problems, as described here: Lubuntu 20.04 Wi-fi connection issues - #5 by Fab )

The datasheet for the Broadcom BCM4311 Network Controller can be found here: BCM4311 Datasheet PDF Download - Broadcom Corporation It appears to be a wireless network controller.

HP product information page for my computer: HP Compaq 6710b Notebook PC | HP® Customer Support

–End of post–

Here is the screenshot I mentioned in the original post.

Also I’ll just add that I was able to get internet on the computer just now via a wired Ethernet connection. So at least that works. I still want to get the wi-fi working though.

Have you tried to add the wifi device using the “+” key on your screen and as per manual?

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Perhaps too obvious to ask… but you do have “Enable WiFi” set when you right-click on the network icon right below?

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If you installed lubuntu 20.04, then it is most likely to be amd64 instead of i386. lubuntu 18.04 was the last version that supported the latter architecture.
Brodacom has restricted WiFi drivers that you may need to install to get your driver working. Here’s how: Open the lubuntu menu and click software sources. Enter your password and click additional drivers after software sources has finished loading.
You will then see a tab concerning your particular WiFi driver. Click use alternative driver and then apply changes.

After the changes have been applied, reboot your computer and your WiFi should be working now!:slight_smile: :smile:

If it doesn’t work, while you are connected via Ethernet cable, type in sudo apt install firmware-b43-installer
Then, after the firmware is installed, type in sudo apt install Linux-firmware, and then reboot!

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I was able to get the driver using your method (although I had to clobber the Upgrade Notifier to do it; see details here: Upgrade Notifier interferes with acquisition of additional drivers ).

Unfortunately I seem not to be in the clear quite yet. The computer now connects to wifi but drops it in less than two minutes and always drops it before I can get a webpage with Firefox.

There seems to be some history on Broadcom drivers; e.g. here: How to install wifi driver? - #6 by That_Random_Guy

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Wifi and Networking are enabled.

More diagnostic info obtained at this point

A. Confirmed that many Boadcom files are present by running from the command line:
dpkg-query -S broadcom | less
This gives 2 or 3 pages of results, the first of which is copied below:

linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41: /usr/src/linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41/drivers/net/wireless/broadcom/b43legacy/Makefile
linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41: /usr/src/linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41/drivers/net/wireless/broadcom/Kconfig
linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41: /usr/src/linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41/arch/arm64/boot/dts/broadcom
linux-headers-5.8.0-41-generic: /usr/src/linux-headers-5.8.0-41-generic/include/config/broadcom/phy.h
linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41: /usr/src/linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41/drivers/thermal/broadcom/Makefile
linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41: /usr/src/linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41/drivers/net/ethernet/broadcom
linux-modules-extra-5.8.0-41-generic: /lib/modules/5.8.0-41-generic/kernel/drivers/net/ethernet/broadcom/bnxt/bnxt_en.ko
linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41: /usr/src/linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41/drivers/net/ethernet/broadcom/genet/Makefile
linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41: /usr/src/linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41/include/linux/firmware/broadcom
linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41: /usr/src/linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41/drivers/firmware/broadcom
linux-modules-extra-5.8.0-41-generic, linux-modules-5.8.0-41-generic: /lib/modules/5.8.0-41-generic/kernel/drivers/net/ethernet/broadcom/bnx2x
linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41: /usr/src/linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41/drivers/net/ethernet/broadcom/Makefile
linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41: /usr/src/linux-hwe-5.8-headers-5.8.0-41/drive

B. During the brief period that the wifi remains connected (or semi-connected) I have run “Connection Information” by right-clicking the nm-tray icon. The information it gives is less than one would get if wifi were working properly. The following screenshot shows what I get:

If lubuntu is not working for you, try xubuntu. It is less buggy and you can tick the box to install third-party drivers during install, assuming you are connected to the internet.

Personally I don’t see Xubuntu as any “less buggy” than Lubuntu, as all Ubuntu flavors use the same identical Ubuntu base code, thus Xubuntu 20.04.2 LTS will contain the same deprecated kernel & kernel modules (aka drivers) as Lubuntu 20.04.2 LTS provides. Later media (or earlier) with a different kernel stack (& thus kernel modules aka drivers) with again all Ubuntu flavors using the same stack, which can differ to Ubuntu Desktop for 20.04 due to different stack procedures being used by Ubuntu Desktop when compared with prior releases.

Yes, Xubuntu provides the ability to third-party drivers during installation, but Lubuntu has access to those identical drivers, they’re just added post-install. There may also be the capacity for some OEM kernel stack options to exist via Xubuntu’s use of ubiquity, however just like third-party drivers, those are available to Lubuntu users post-install too.

I write this as a Lubuntu member, however I was asked to join the Xubuntu QA team years ago too; having much love for Xfce & Xubuntu, so I don’t think any bias is being expressed.

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Try lubuntu 22.04 daily, this time see if the brodacom WiFi works there and after the install is finished, while you are connected to Ethernet, apply all updates and install the brodacom WiFi driver using software sources.

@guiverc one of the reasons why i said xubuntu is less buggy is because xubuntu uses xfce 4.14, which is well tested. However, lubuntu has improved since 21.10 and I’ll spin up 22.04 when it’s released.

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