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How to fix wireless problems in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin?

Ubuntu dropped the ball again when it comes to wireless support (in my case the Atheros AR9285/AR9287 cards). Release 12.04 being a Long Term Support (LTS) release, I was hopping that the long existing Ubuntu wifi problems would be rectified. Let us look at some ways to fix wireless problems in Ubuntu. Since the 10.04 Lucid Lynx release, the problem of intermittent / choppy wireless connectivity have existed in Ubuntu, disappointing many users including me. So how can I get wireless internet to work on Ubuntu or how to fix the wireless problems in Ubuntu?.

Few months back, I posted a fix for the Atheros AR 9285/9287 Wifi card problems on 10.04 Lucid Lynx. All you had to do was to do this:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-wireless-lucid-generic
sudo reboot

This however did not work on 11.04 Natty Narwhal or later. We had to create a the file /etc/modprobe.d/ath9k.conf and add the following line to it and reboot (as described in this post):

options ath9k nohwcrypt=1

Both the above solutions would fix the intermittent or choppy connectivity in Ubuntu. In 12.04 Precise Pangolin however, the wireless connectivity is even worse: it simply does not connect. The boot process halts at “Configuring Network Connection” for about 2-3 minutes before continuing to boot without network connectivity. You are then presented with a nice desktop which in these days have little use without internet connection. Reading around on the internet several people have mentioned this problem. If the above solutions don’t work, read on to try other fixes.

Recommended HTPC / Home Server Builds 2017

While installing Ubuntu Server 12.04, I was thrilled to see options for Wifi connectivity during installation. I did not have to go hook up my laptop to my router (which is in a different room) to install Ubuntu Server. A headless install worked fine with Wifi connection. But only a few percentage of the users use a headless install. As soon I installed any type of Desktop Environment (Unity, Gnome, KDE, or LXDE) the network configuration problems started. If you also experience these problems, there are several possible workarounds / fixes depending on your wireless card make/model.[Read: Best mini PCIe Linux compatible wifi cards.]

Solutions for Wireless Problems in Ubuntu

Fix 1: Restart Networking After Boot (temporary fix)

This is a temporary fix that I found out accidentally and it worked for me to get the wireless working while I try to find a more permanent solution (I am not a Linux expert). None of the solutions listed above worked for my Precise Pangolin installation. After the booting process finishes and you are on the desktop (without Wifi network connection), run the following command:

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart
Precise Pangolin Networking Restart
Precise Pangolin Networking Restart

You will see that this is a deprecated command and use “reload networking” or “sudo service networking restart”. After the command executes, your network will be reconfigured and you should now have internet connection. Unfortunately, this has to be done after almost every reboot. You may run this command automatically when the session starts to get your Wifi to work. But the 2-3 minute delay during boot is still an annoyance.

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Fix 2: Disable Wifi Card Power Management (may improve performance)

Another fix for wireless problems in Ubuntu that might work for some people and improve Wifi performance is disabling the power management for the Wifi card, using the command below. This although will mean less efficient power management and faster battery drain:

sudo iwconfig wlan0 power off

After running the above command, run the following command:

sudo iwconfig

Check for “Power Management:off” under wlan0 to ensure that the power management is turned off.

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About the author


Anand is a self-learned computer enthusiast, a part-time blogger, and a Food Scientist by career. He has been blogging since 2010 on Linux, Ubuntu, Home/Media/File Servers, Smart Home Automation, and related HOW-TOs on htpcbeginner.com and smarthomebeginner.com.