Kubuntu + Dell Vostro + Wireless Networking = *headdesk*

I bought a new, old computer — a Dell Vostro 1310 — on which to play around with Linux today. Here are the things I’ve learned:

  • I am not sure the processor in this notebook is a 64-bit processor (it’s an Intel Core 2 Duo…but I don’t know which series, or whether that matters. I am not a hardware person). I eventually gave up after the installer crashed a couple times at critical junctures and I am having better results with the 32-bit version of Kubuntu.
  • Telling the BIOS to boot from CD/DVD or SD card reader or USB device in order to start the installation process really didn’t work all that well. Google was my friend on this one; someone out there reported better results after a cold boot. I think that’s what finally worked for me, too.
  • There’s a dreaded Broadcom wireless card in here. I’ve struggled with those for so many years now, and I’m not alone in that, so I am kind of surprised that it’s still such a big hassle to get wireless networking actually working in this day and age. In the end, I gave up, too. I couldn’t make the WLAN in my apartment work on Channel 13 with this network card. I kept seeing other networks in and near our building, but never ours. Some Googling revealed that others had similar symptoms, and that you can use sudo iwlist chan at a command prompt to see what channels are available. I tried proprietary drivers. I tried generic drivers. I didn’t mess with any kernel modules (like I used to have to do, the last time I had Linux running on a laptop). So since I could only get the card to acknowledge Channels 1 through 11, I just switched our network over to one of those instead of fighting with it any longer, and I guess it’s all hunkey-dorey now.

Still don’t know what I’d do, however, if there were a compelling reason to use Channel 12 or 13. I wonder if this is the same problem other guests were having with their smartphones last summer while visiting us.

3 thoughts on “Kubuntu + Dell Vostro + Wireless Networking = *headdesk*”

  1. The Accidental Expat

    Ewwww… a Dell. I came to believe that my the “XPS” model name really stood for “Xpensive Piece of Scheiße.” Best of luck my froend– and for the love of Pete, back that thing up in multiple ways.

    1. cliff1976

      Thanks for the word of warning! It’s pretty OK so far.

      I found out that the processor is indeed capable of 64-bit architecture by asking on my favorite geeky old-school telnet-based BBS. 2 hints:

      1. $ cat /proc/cpuinfo Look at the flags for “lm,” whatever that means.

      2. Check http://ark.intel.com for this specific processor model and it should be listed there in slightly more human-readable form, too.

  2. Mom

    Gad. I’d rather sound out a new language in the IPA than try to figure out this post! :)

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