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I have Xubuntu 13.10 running on a Lenovo T520 laptop. Everything worked just fine, but today, when I was in the middle of a Skype call, my laptop just disconnected from Wi-Fi. And now it says Wi-Fi is disabled by hardware switch in the networking menu.

I tried rfkill unblock all, but with no effect: rfkill list all still says:

phy0: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: yes

The Wi-Fi switch hotkey (Fn+F5) doesn't have any effect as well. Also I tried pressing Fn+F5 while booting the system but with no effect. I noticed that the Wi-Fi indicator LED below the screen is now always off, even on system reboot.

Can this mean that my Wi-Fi controller is damaged?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Maybe, the wireless switch got turned off. You can see the location of the switch here. It's component #7.

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Try those commands:

  1. sudo rfkill unblock all

  2. rmmod ath5k && modprobe ath5k

  3. rm /dev/rfkill

  4. sudo iwconfig wlan0 txpower auto

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