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I've been have a lot of problems with getting my wireless to work reliably on my Dell XPS 15z. There's a lot of talk about this on other forums, and it appears to have something to do with the Bluetooth interfering with the Wireless.

So, to explain where I'm at: I can get connected for about 15 minutes before it disconnects and won't connect again. Selecting my network from the list just makes it sit there for a while before it asks me for the password again.

The other thing which is very strange and VERY annoying is that if I disable Bluetooth via the gnome panel ( B -> Disable Bluetooth), it turns off both the bluetooth and the wireless, and THEN I can't turn it back on because it claims that "wireless is disabled by hardware switch", and the same for the Bluetooth. Even restarting from here doesn't help. The actual hardware switch (fn + F2) does nothing at all, unless I boot into Windows, which is obviously less than satisfactory.

So! I don't use any Bluetooth devices at all, so perhaps if I actually disable it, then the wireless might come back. But I don't know how to do that...

Any help or advice?


Debugging information:

$ sudo lspci -nn

00:00.0 Host bridge [0600]: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family DRAM Controller [8086:0104] (rev 09)
00:01.0 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200/2nd Generation Core Processor Family PCI Express Root Port [8086:0101] (rev 09)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:0126] (rev 09)
00:16.0 Communication controller [0780]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1 [8086:1c3a] (rev 04)
00:1a.0 USB Controller [0c03]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller #2 [8086:1c2d] (rev 05)
00:1b.0 Audio device [0403]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller [8086:1c20] (rev 05)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 1 [8086:1c10] (rev b5)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 2 [8086:1c12] (rev b5)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 4 [8086:1c16] (rev b5)
00:1c.4 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 5 [8086:1c18] (rev b5)
00:1c.5 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 6 [8086:1c1a] (rev b5)
00:1d.0 USB Controller [0c03]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller #1 [8086:1c26] (rev 05)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge [0601]: Intel Corporation HM67 Express Chipset Family LPC Controller [8086:1c4b] (rev 05)
00:1f.2 SATA controller [0106]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family 6 port SATA AHCI Controller [8086:1c03] (rev 05)
00:1f.3 SMBus [0c05]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family SMBus Controller [8086:1c22] (rev 05)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: nVidia Corporation Device [10de:0df5] (rev a1)
03:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Intel Corporation Centrino Advanced-N 6230 [8086:0091] (rev 34)
04:00.0 USB Controller [0c03]: NEC Corporation uPD720200 USB 3.0 Host Controller [1033:0194] (rev 04)
05:00.0 System peripheral [0880]: JMicron Technology Corp. SD/MMC Host Controller [197b:2392] (rev 30)
05:00.2 SD Host controller [0805]: JMicron Technology Corp. Standard SD Host Controller [197b:2391] (rev 30)
05:00.3 System peripheral [0880]: JMicron Technology Corp. MS Host Controller [197b:2393] (rev 30)
05:00.4 System peripheral [0880]: JMicron Technology Corp. xD Host Controller [197b:2394] (rev 30)
06:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Atheros Communications AR8151 v2.0 Gigabit Ethernet [1969:1083] (rev c0)
$ sudo lshw -class network

  *-network DISABLED
       description: Wireless interface
       product: Centrino Advanced-N 6230
       vendor: Intel Corporation
       physical id: 0
       bus info: pci@0000:03:00.0
       logical name: wlan0
       version: 34
       serial: 88:53:2e:37:d8:45
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list ethernet physical wireless
       configuration: broadcast=yes driver=iwlagn driverversion=3.0.0-12-generic firmware=17.168.5.1 build 33993 latency=0 link=no multicast=yes wireless=IEEE 802.11abgn
       resources: irq:19 memory:f1b00000-f1b01fff

I removed the ethernet eth0 information for brevity

$ iwconfig

wlan0     IEEE 802.11abgn  ESSID:off/any  
          Mode:Managed  Access Point: Not-Associated   Tx-Power=off   
          Retry  long limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off
$ rfkill list

0: dell-wifi: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: yes
    Hard blocked: yes
1: dell-bluetooth: Bluetooth
    Soft blocked: yes
    Hard blocked: yes
2: phy0: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: yes

Added note: after booting to Windows and re-enabling the wireless with the hotkey, then restarting in Ubuntu again, the rfkill output says 'no' to all options, and it connects happily to network. iwconfig now looks like this:

wlan0     IEEE 802.11abgn  ESSID:"kokomo"  
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.437 GHz  Access Point: E0:46:9A:09:94:D0   
          Bit Rate=2 Mb/s   Tx-Power=15 dBm   
          Retry  long limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=70/70  Signal level=-40 dBm  
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:38   Missed beacon:0
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3 Answers 3

up vote 0 down vote accepted

I've a pretty similare issue. But when i try fn + f2 it enable the wireless card, bluetooth,... On your rfkill list, the cards are hard blocked, so it's not a software issue i think.

If you try to strike fn + f2 it does nothing ?

When my bluetooth is disabled, i can connect to a wifi connection without beeing disconnected for a while but i have to not use the bluetooth and it is petty annoying...

Did you find a solution ? Or do you know new things about this issue ?

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no clue -- i actually traded it in for a thinkpad in the end. :- –  nickf Nov 13 '11 at 10:41
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I have the same issue and here is the voodoo dance that tends to resolve the problem:

# rmmod iwlagn
# modprobe iwlagn 11n_disable=1 power_level=5

## no comes the fun part: 
## enable and disable your wireless with Fn + F2 (on my maching)

Sometimes it helps to rmmod btusb bluetooth but I haven't figured that out yet.

I have only tested this on ArchLinux with kernel 3.1.4.

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Thanks! This worked for me! –  Kleber S. Mar 4 '12 at 14:28
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I had a similar problem where I couldn't turn on wifi or bluetooth after disabling bluetooth, or wifi after disabling wifi, and that fn+f2 had no effect in ubuntu. With the help of the person above, and some other forums, this fixed the problem:

sudo modprobe iwlagn power_level=5
sudo modprobe btusb reset=1
sudo rfkill unblock all

After that, fn+f2 works, bluetooth can be disabled without disabling wifi, and wifi can be re-enabled after it is disabled.

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