Wireless with Dell E1505 and Ubuntu 9.10

I use a Dell Inspiron E1505 with a Broadcom BCM4311 wireless card. Before I upgraded to Ubuntu 9.10, I was using ndiswrapper and connecting with a script that I adapted from the popular wirelessfix.sh script. I did not use Gnome’s NetworkManager; in fact, I couldn’t get it to work with my configuration. I like using the command line to control my computer, but when I tried to connect to a wireless network that required a passphrase, I was unable to figure it out.

I upgraded to 9.10 (Karmic Koala) just a couple of days ago. Upgrade might be the wrong word. I partitioned my hard disk, installed Ubuntu 9.10 from a CD which I got from a paper copy of Linux Pro, then copied what I needed and deleted the old Ubuntu. The installation went smoothly. After installation, I found these instructions, which seemed too easy to be true considering some of the other advice for wireless that is currently on the web. In fact it was even easier. I was able to load bcmwl-kernel-source from the CD using Synaptic Package Manager, and the other files installed as dependencies. I did not have to install ndiswrapper.

Now my wireless connections are handled with ease, and network manager even displays a dialog when a passphrase is called for. I’m a little sad about relinquishing control to an automatic system, but it works well.

This, along with some other improvements, makes 9.10 a very good upgrade.

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