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Every now and then, I disable my wireless via the menu icon in Ubuntu. Then, when I try to enable the wifi, it tells me that "wireless is disabled" or "wireless is disabled by hardware switch". There is a red icon on the F2 key that looks like a wireless icon, and in Windows, pressing the (red) Fn key and F2 toggles the wifi. This does not work in Ubuntu, leaving me no clear way to turn wifi back on. How can I restart wifi in Ubuntu?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

On my Dell XPS 17 L702X with Ubuntu Desktop 12.04 AMD64 the combination is simply Fn-F2.

It's good to know that it can differ.

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That is very strange. This is the same on my computer now! I guess a recent kernel update must've fixed it for me. For the record, both work (although in slightly different ways). In KDE, Fn-Alt-F2 toggles wireless (with only LED feedback), while Fn-F2 toggles wireless as well as opening the network connections plasmoid. Looking at the plasmoid settings, it's activated by the keyboard shortcut "Wireless", so it seems that the two keyboard combinations are sending slightly different signals. Presumably, Fn-F2 sends the "correct" wireless signal now. – Sparhawk Dec 27 '12 at 1:08

I found by trial and error that the wifi hardware switch on my Dell is not Fn-F2, as implied by the keyboard icon (and works in Windows), but actually Fn-Alt-F2 in Ubuntu. Toggling the wifi off and on can also fix some software issues. On the XPS 17 L702X, keep an eye on the wifi LED indicator to the right of the power switch to note when it's back on.

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accept this answer as the correct solution please :) – Suhaib Sep 30 '12 at 17:39
Ah yes. Thanks for the reminder. I must've missed that. :) – Sparhawk Sep 30 '12 at 22:44

Fn+F2 combination works on 12.04, but only when pressed twice to enable WiFi and led indicator, to turn it off, pressing it once is enough.

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