I have a new HP Envy dv6 7200 with dual boot Windows 8 / Ubuntu 12.04. In windows, the F12 key in Windows activates the "airplane mode" switch which enables/disables both on-board (mini PCIe) and USB wireless adapters. In Ubuntu, however, the wireless adapter is turned off by default and cannot be turned back on via the F12 key (or any other combination of F12 and Ctrl, Fn, Shift, etc.).
Let me explain the "fixes" I've seen in various forums and explain what did or did not happen. These are listed in no particular order. (Spoiler alert: wireless is still broke).
Solution 1? Use HP's "Wireless Assistant" utility to permanently activate the wireless card in Windows, then boot into Ubuntu to happily find it working.
Unfortunately, this utility works in Windows 7 but not Windows 8. On the other hand, hardware drivers from HP are only available for Windows 8 for this model. Catch 22 (I could not find a comparable utility for Windows 8).
Solution 2? Use a USB wireless adapter to sidestep the on-board device.
I purchased such a device from thinkpenguin.com to be sure that it would be Linux-friendly. However, the wireless switch enables / disables all wireless devices including USB. So, there's my $50 donation to the nice folks at thinkpenguin.com, but still no solution.
Solution 3? Following the Think Penguin folk's suggestion, modify the mini PCI express adapter following instructions here: http://www.notebookforums.com/t/225429/broken-wireless-hardware-switch-fix
Tempting, but I then violate the terms of my warranty mere days after opening the box. This might be a good solution for an older machine that you want to get your geek on with, but not for a new box.
Solution 4? rfkill unblock all
No effect whatsoever.
ubuntu@ubuntu-hp-evny:~$ rfkill unblock all ubuntu@ubuntu-hp-evny:~$ rfkill list all 0: hp-wifi: Wireless LAN Soft blocked: no Hard blocked: yes
Solution 5? Re-install drivers.
Done and done. Ubuntu recognizes the device - perhaps even without re-installing the drivers? - but cannot turn it on. How do I know this? In the Network Manager drop-down menu, the wireless option is blacked out and a message reads something like: "wireless network is disabled by a hardware switch".
Solution 6? Identify a physical switch on the laptop and flip it.
There is no such switch on this machine. In fact, walking through Best Buy yesterday, I checked and not a single new laptop PC had a physical switch on it. All of the wireless switches are either the F2 or F12 key ... I wonder if askubuntu will not be plagued by this exact issue in the near future?
Additional info - lspci
ubuntu@ubuntu-hp-evny:~$ lspci 00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Ivy Bridge DRAM Controller (rev 09) 00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Ivy Bridge PCI Express Root Port (rev 09) 00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Ivy Bridge Graphics Controller (rev 09) 00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Panther Point USB xHCI Host Controller (rev 04) 00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Panther Point MEI Controller #1 (rev 04) 00:1a.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Panther Point USB Enhanced Host Controller #2 (rev 04) 00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation Panther Point High Definition Audio Controller (rev 04) 00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Panther Point PCI Express Root Port 1 (rev c4) 00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Panther Point PCI Express Root Port 3 (rev c4) 00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Panther Point PCI Express Root Port 4 (rev c4) 00:1c.5 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Panther Point PCI Express Root Port 6 (rev c4) 00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Panther Point USB Enhanced Host Controller #1 (rev 04) 00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Panther Point LPC Controller (rev 04) 00:1f.2 RAID bus controller: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile SATA Controller [RAID mode] (rev 04) 00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation Panther Point SMBus Controller (rev 04) 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation Device 0de9 (rev a1) 08:00.0 Unassigned class [ff00]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. Device 5229 (rev 01) 0a:00.0 Network controller: Ralink corp. Device 539b 0b:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller (rev 07)
Any suggestions would be much appreciated!