I decided to answer my own question with the solution I found at least, not least because, while there are many similar questions (and answers) around for the Intel 2200BG chip, none concerned the
acerhk module and Acer hardware.
The way I solved this is by installing the
acerhk module. This Hotkeys module also controls the function of the wireless hardware switch.
This module was removed in a previous release (9.10?) which is probably why the hardware switch stopped working in the first place. Even the source package was removed from the standard repositories a while back. Luckily, I found a recent version on Launchpad, including a PPA.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cogito-16/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install acerhk-source
2) Like the README.Debian in
usr/share/doc/acerhk-source says, do
sudo module-assistant auto-install acerhk
3) Load the module according to your model in this rfswitch.SF model matrix. For me, this was
sudo modprobe acerhk force_series=290 usedritek=1 verbose=1
sudo echo 1 > /proc/driver/acerhk/wirelessled
This will to everything you need. Your wireless hardware switch should work now.
4) To make this change permanent after reboot, you have to do as explained here:
Create the config file
echo 'options acerhk force_series=290 usedritek=1 verbose=1' | sudo tee /etc/modprobe.d/acerhk.conf
echo 1 > /proc/driver/acerhk/wirelessled
/etc/modules as root an add an entry for the module
When I think this has stumped me for >1 year (I don't use this laptop very often anymore), and I probably wasted 2+ solid days searching for a solution, it was pretty simple in the end. I hope this will help you, too.
NB: You can also get
acerhk source from its homepage, but this didn't compile for me with the current kernel -
make just sat there and did nothing, probably the reason why it got kicked out of the standard repos.