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Ubuntu server 12.04, fully updated, with lxde installed...

I have a problem with my wireless connection and don't know how to solve it. I can't get any networking at all unless I plug the ethernet cable into the computer when I boot up. Being a laptop, I can't use it outside my own home (unless there is an ethernet cable to plug into) because of this. Can someone help me fix this?

The info I have to offer so far is this:

When the computer boots up there is some text that rolls by during the boot process (initial screen) telling you what's going on with the boot process.

If I leave the ethernet cable unplugged and allow it to boot that way I will see a message that says it's waiting for network configuration. A while after that, it will say it's going to wait up to another 60 seconds for network configuration. After what seems like several minutes it will boot into the operating system but there will be no network service running at all (no networking).

If I plug the ethernet cable in before or very quickly while booting it will boot normally, it will detect my wireless connection here at home (which happens to be a hidden connection), I can then unplug the ethernet cable and use my computer normally.

It is the same if I boot the computer at a friend's house. If the cable is plugged in it will boot normally and pick up their wireless connection and connect to it, if I don't plug in the cable it will do as described above for that scenario.

I am using network manager.

If anyone can help I would sure appreciate this. I am about to move to a new location in two weeks and will have to transfer my internet service there. Until it is set up at that location I would be unable to connect to the internet. I take online courses at a nearby university and classes start on Aug 28th (so I'll have to be able to get on the internet somehow). I would go to mcdonalds or burger king or some coffee shop to use their connection but would not be able to connect there anyway since they would not have an ethernet cable they could let me plug into. Please, if anyone is able, help me to get this solved before my classes start again.

Output of "less syslog | grep etwork | pastebinit is available here: http://paste.ubuntu.com/1141667/

Thank you Jake

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PS: I just noticed that in Network Connections there is no wired account configured. Could this be a problem? How would I do that for my home connection if I need to do so? I've never had to do it manually, not sure what pieces of information are required (what fields to fill in) or where to find the information I need to fill them in. –  Jake Aug 11 '12 at 18:18
    
Do you have an up loopback device when you are waiting? (ifconfig lo) From the log it appears that to me, if I understand when you plugged in your ethernet cable, that network-manager isn't starting until you plug the cable in. Any interface at all up before you plug in the cable? –  John S Gruber Aug 11 '12 at 20:13
    
You said that there is no wired network connection listed, is this before or after you plug in the adapter. You shouldn't have to configure the wired adapter, but it's no surprise that it isn't discovered until the network-manager is started. Could you post ifconfig -a from before you plug it in, putting the result in your question? Also could you post /etc/network/interfaces there? –  John S Gruber Aug 13 '12 at 15:36
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2 Answers

I'm facing the same problem and haven't got to a full solution yet, but I have a workaround:

  • Let computer boot without network configuration, then after you log in, run terminal and run the following command: sudo service network-manager restart

If I find a permanent solution, I'll post it here. Hope it helps.


I finally got to a solution:

  • Edit file /etc/network/interfaces
  • Example:

    $ sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
    
  • Remove all network interfaces, except the loopback interface

  • In the end your file may look like this:

    # This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
    # and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).
    
    # The loopback network interface
    auto lo
    iface lo inet loopback
    

It worked for me. I hope it helps.

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I wonder if a person could create a fake account that just tricks network manager to think it has an ethernet connection long enough for the computer to boot up properly and connect to the real network... Well, not a fake "account" but something in a script or something that mimics a real account - just to trick network manager. –  Jake Aug 27 '12 at 22:53
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I was able to reproduce this situation by adding "auto ie0" to /etc/network/interfaces. Wireless wouldn't come up, and I got the boot messages you mention.

When this is in place you are telling the system not to come up all the way until this interface is up and configured. After a couple minutes there is a failsafe mechanism to cause this not to stop the system from coming up at all, but networking can't be fully initiated, and the network manager can't be started, until all of the interfaces specified as "auto" are up. The system thinks you need each of those networks in order to boot the system (using NFS, for example). Just specifying the configuration stanza, without even specifying "auto ie0" is enough to cause this situation in older Ubuntu versions due to a bug.

I assume some people specify this in a attempt to set a static IP address or other special configuration without using the network-manager.

A work-around I got to work is to issue the command:

sudo initctl emit --no-wait static-network-up

which simulates the network interfaces coming all the way up.

Nevertheless, if you instead remove the 'auto ie0' and configure your Ethernet interface with network manager you can eliminate the long wait at boot time, too.

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