In windows, most laptops these days have a hot-key to turn off wireless modules completely (i.e. airline mode), including WLAN and Bluetooth. I am currently on Ubuntu 11.10, and wondering as to what is the way to have the same effect, i.e. make sure that those modules are electrically off - not consuming any power, and the radio beacon is off.
- Press F10 right after turning the laptop on to enter BIOS settings.
- Go to the "System Configuration" tab.
- Disable Action Keys.
- Save and Exit.
This should solve the problem. Now, when you press F1-12, It will activate the function (wireless, etc.). To access the F-keys normal functions ans function keys, press and hold Fn and then press the key. Hope that helps!
I use rfkill for this. Here's the online man page that gives you the package name and other miscellaneous data.