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Recently my networking has been acting up, and since yesterday I have lost all ability to use my wifi network adapter.

As to describe the way the networking was acting up, the network-manager would sometime lose connection of wifi and connect on the ethernet iface (without any viable connection). This has happened in the past, but I noticed it happened more frequently over the past few days (3-4 days or so) and was most noticeable when bringing the computer up from sleep.

I started investigating after I lost connection to the internet this morning, and I found out that the wlan interface (listed as wlp3s0) wasn't present in ifconfig. Trying to bring it up via sudo ifconfig wlp3s0 up resulted in SIOCSIFFLAGS: Operation not possible due to RF-kill.

sudo rfkill list all results in the following:

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

Thus showing that the lock is hardware based, not software based. Consequently I:

  • ensured that my airplane mode switch wasn't turned on (tbh, I have no idea which side of it is airplane on, but I rebooted for both states of the switch, so that shouldn't be a problem)
  • have attempted to use the network function key on the laptop (Fn + F5), to no avail
  • have ensured the lock wasn't from the BIOS options (checked the I/O Security as well as Network options)
  • have attempted to boot from an older image of my OS
  • have attempted to boot from a live Ubuntu ISO (16.04) ; did not result in any change network-wise
  • have attempted to do a soft unblock via sudo rfkill unblock all

So time to bring the big guns.

Laptop model name:

LENOVO Thinkpad T430s 2352CT0/2352CT0, BIOS G7ET99WW (2.59 ) 03/18/2014

uname -a resulted in the following output:

Linux 4.4.0-66-generic #87-Ubuntu SMP Fri Mar 3 15:29:05 UTC 2017 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

lspci resulted in the following output:

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 3rd Gen Core processor DRAM Controller (rev 09)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v2/3rd Gen Core processor PCI Express Root Port (rev 09)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller (rev 09)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family USB xHCI Host Controller (rev 04)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:19.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection (rev 04)
00:1a.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller #2 (rev 04)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 04)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 1 (rev c4)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 2 (rev c4)
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 3 (rev c4)
00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation QM77 Express Chipset LPC Controller (rev 04)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation 7 Series Chipset Family 6-port SATA Controller [AHCI mode] (rev 04)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family SMBus Controller (rev 04)
01:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation GF117M [GeForce 610M/710M/810M/820M / GT 620M/625M/630M/720M] (rev a1)
03:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 (rev 3e)

lshw -c network resulted in the following output:

  *-network
       description: Ethernet interface
       product: 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection
       vendor: Intel Corporation
       physical id: 19
       bus info: pci@0000:00:19.0
       logical name: enp0s25
       version: 04
       serial: 3c:97:0e:95:07:f6
       capacity: 1Gbit/s
       width: 32 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm msi bus_master cap_list ethernet physical tp 10bt 10bt-fd 100bt 100bt-fd 1000bt-fd autonegotiation
       configuration: autonegotiation=on broadcast=yes driver=e1000e driverversion=3.2.6-k firmware=0.13-3 latency=0 link=no multicast=yes port=twisted pair
       resources: irq:28 memory:f3500000-f351ffff memory:f353b000-f353bfff ioport:6080(size=32)
  *-network DISABLED
       description: Wireless interface
       product: Centrino Ultimate-N 6300
       vendor: Intel Corporation
       physical id: 0
       bus info: pci@0000:03:00.0
       logical name: wlp3s0
       version: 3e
       serial: 3c:a9:f4:38:36:ac
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list ethernet physical wireless
       configuration: broadcast=yes driver=iwlwifi driverversion=4.4.0-66-generic firmware=9.221.4.1 build 25532 latency=0 link=no multicast=yes wireless=IEEE 802.11abgn
       resources: irq:33 memory:f2c00000-f2c01fff

ifconfig -a resulted in the following output (eth0 => enp0s25, wlan0 => wlp3s0):

br-5683354b17cb Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 02:42:e8:3c:ec:f5  
          inet addr:172.18.0.1  Bcast:0.0.0.0  Mask:255.255.0.0
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

docker0   Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 02:42:c1:3b:54:07  
          inet addr:172.17.0.1  Bcast:0.0.0.0  Mask:255.255.0.0
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

enp0s25   Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 3c:97:0e:95:07:f6  
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)
          Interrupt:20 Memory:f3500000-f3520000 

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback  
          inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:65536  Metric:1
          RX packets:11358 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:11358 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1 
          RX bytes:834988 (834.9 KB)  TX bytes:834988 (834.9 KB)

wlp3s0    Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 3c:a9:f4:38:36:ac  
          BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

iwconfig resulted in the following output:

wlp3s0    IEEE 802.11abgn  ESSID:off/any  
          Mode:Managed  Access Point: Not-Associated   Tx-Power=off   
          Retry short limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Encryption key:off
          Power Management:off

iw dev resulted in the following output:

phy#0
    Interface wlp3s0
        ifindex 3
        wdev 0x1
        addr 3c:a9:f4:38:36:ac
        type managed

dmesg resulted in the following output. The most interesting part is at 3.695787s through 3.74s:

See Pastebin

apt-cache policy linux-firmware resulted in the following output:

linux-firmware:
  Installed: 1.157.8
  Candidate: 1.157.8
  Version table:
 *** 1.157.8 500
        500 http://ca.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-updates/main amd64 Packages
        500 http://ca.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-updates/main i386 Packages
        500 http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-security/main amd64 Packages
        500 http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-security/main i386 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
     1.157 500
        500 http://ca.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial/main amd64 Packages
        500 http://ca.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial/main i386 Packages

I also took other prints, most notably recent /var/log/apt/history.log, as well as journalctl -b, modinfo iwlwifi, modinfo iwldev, and modinfo mac80211. Let me know if you would like any of those, I'll add them to this post.

At this point I am quite out of solutions. I have searched through archlinux, gentoo and ubuntu forums without any success. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!! :) :) :)

Cheers

[UPDATE]: I have installed a D-Link AC1200 DWA-182 Wireless USB adapter using this tutorial, and unfortunately this one doesn't work either. However printing lshw -c network returns the device as DISABLED, while rfkill list all returns the device as neither hard or soft blocked. I'm sure that this information can provide a crucial piece to the puzzle.

2

The Lenovo Thinkpad T430 Wireless switch is on the right side of the case. It's the third item from the back to front, just after the USB connector.

Turn that switch to the opposite of the current position.

The off position turns off all wireless connections.

Update:
There's also a shortcut Function key to toggle the wireless. This is: FN+F5 on most Lenovo Computers. If you look at the F5 Function key you should see an icon to indicate it's a network adapter control. The Icon should have the appearance with computer with signals around it.

  • Thanks for your answer! I have checked the switch already, to no avail. The switch does not feel as clicky as it should however. This morning I opened my laptop to check if there was anything I could do hardware wise. I didn't have the time to finish my forensics, but I'll keep you updated. – Philippe Hebert Mar 10 '17 at 18:33
  • [UPDATE]: After dismantling the computer, I removed a large ball of dust that got stuck in the airplane switch due to one of the corner of my computer being slightly broken. The switch is now nice and clicky, but still no changes whatsoever. I bought a Netgear AC1200 A6210 and installed jurobystricky's driver, without any success. Ethernet works fine, so at least there's that. – Philippe Hebert Mar 11 '17 at 16:52
  • Please take a look at the update in my answer. There's a secondary function key shortcut to toggle the wifi access. – L. D. James Mar 11 '17 at 17:52
  • Hi! Thanks again for helping out :) I have attempted that already, without success – Philippe Hebert Mar 12 '17 at 16:15
  • I apologize I missed that detail in your question. I have a different model Lenovo in my shop. The location of the Hardware switch is different from yours. I'll keep looking and testing for other possible culprits. However, I'll reread your question very careful before suggesting anything else I discover. – L. D. James Mar 12 '17 at 16:31
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Following the wonderful help from jeremy31, a moderator of the Ubuntu Forums, I was able to solve the hard blocked issue. The issue stemmed from a faulty hardware (airplane switch) that kept sending an airplane-mode=on signal to the wireless controller (Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300). The solution was as simple as putting a piece of tape on the middle pin in the group of three pins at the back of the wireless card to stop the faulty signal from getting through.

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