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I installed 12.04 on to a non-PAE laptop using the network-based (ncurses interface) install disk.

Once I had the unity desktop up-and-running, wireless was working fine "out of the box" with the wired network plugged in. When I try to boot without the wired network plugged in, I get some unhappy messages and long waits. ("Waiting for network configuration..." followed by "Waiting up to 60 more seconds for network configuration..." and finally "Booting system without full network configuration")

Then, once booted, the Unity system-bar wifi-helper icon (the graphical interface to the network-manager service) is missing and there is no obvious graphical way to get the system online using its wireless hardware. Because I have a wpa2 secured network, I have to manually setup wpa_supplicant to actually get online:

me@system:~$ wpa_passphrase $mySSID $networkSecurityKey > local.conf
me@system:~$ sudo wpa_supplicant -D wext -i eth0 -c./local.conf -B
me@system:~$ sudo dhclient eth0

After a few seconds, the card is connected, has an IP configuration and I'm ready to go.

I have discovered some advice referenced from another question, so I think I can eliminate the long boot time.

I think I know how to add the wpa_supplicant and dhclient calls to the end of the boot process.

But what I really want is for the built-in Unity tools to work and to handle all the details for me. Even after starting the network as described above, I have tried starting network-manager manually:

me@system:~$ sudo service network-manager start

This causes the network-manager system-bar icon to appear but, under these conditions, most of the options are grayed-out in its context menu:

Wired Network
device not managed
-------------
Wireless Network
wireless is disabled
-------------
...

And when network-manager comes up, it shuts down the wireless interface. I have to stop the service and rerun dhclient in order to get back online.

Any recommendations on how to put everything right?

Hardware info:

A Dell Inspiron 600m with:

  • 32-bit Intel Pentium M 1.6GHz
  • 1 gig RAM
  • Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4401-B0 100Base-TX (rev 02)
  • Network controller: Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 2200BG [Calexico2] Network Connection (rev 05)

What else would help?

(Post a comment if you would like me to provide more information!)

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