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Today I for the first time installed ubuntu 20.04 LTS on my laptop. During the installation process I was asked to connect laptop to a wifi, so I did that. This connection works just fine. I can browse pages and install software updates without any problems.

But later when I opened the Additional Driver app, I found out that my laptop's wireless network adapter "is not working" because it did not have a driver at that point, and I have to manually install a third-party driver. So I'm just so confused, how did the previous connection work?

Running lspci -knn | grep Net -A3 gives the following:

02:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8821CE 802.11ac PCIe Wireless Network Adapter [10ec:c821] Subsystem: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8821CE 802.11ac PCIe Wireless Network Adapter [10ec:c828] Kernel driver in use: rtl8821ce Kernel modules: rtw88_8821ce, rtl8821ce
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  • Please edit your question and add output of lspci -knn | grep Net -A3 terminal command so we can identify your WiFi device and conclusively explain what is and isn't needed. Jan 14 at 20:20
  • Yes, you have some driver, at least. Your WiFi card usually works with rtl8821ce-dkms that you may want to install manually or select it in Additional Drivers. Jan 15 at 19:55
  • Yes, I installed the dkms driver later. Do you mean before that installation, there's already some built-in driver? Jan 15 at 20:00
  • I don't know. Last time I checked it wasn't supported OOTB. Jan 15 at 20:02
  • Sorry one of my previous comments make the conversation confusing. I have deleted that one. I'm indeed asking about why can I access wireless network before I installed the dkms driver... Jan 15 at 20:12
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Your wireless works without installing a driver seperately because the later versions of Ubuntu ship with the correct driver already installed. There is no need to install anything else.

The 'Additional Drivers' utility only looks for and installs Broadcom wireless drivers. You have none. The utility often shows 'not working' for other than Broadcom devices. As you have seen with your own system, and as I have seen regarding my Intel device, the 'not working' notation is often incorrect.

This connection works just fine. I can browse pages and install software updates without any problems.

There is no need to do anything. You may, as many of us do, safely ignore 'not working' if, in fact, your wireless is working as expected.

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  • This seems correct. I switched back to "do not use the device" and then turned on secure boot. Everything still works. When I was using the dkms driver, turning on secure boot will block wifi conenction. Jan 16 at 13:05

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