[ubuntu-uk] Toshiba Satellite Wireless Lock-down?

James Tait james.tait at wyrddreams.org
Wed Jul 10 23:12:05 UTC 2013

Hash: SHA1

Hi all,

Recently my wife's laptop has been experiencing some wireless issues -
slow performance, drop-outs and the like.  We have numerous
wireless-enabled devices in the house and although we have the
occasional blip, none of the other devices seem to be affected to the
same extent, so I figured it was probably related to the laptop itself
and set about trying to figure out what the problem might be.

The laptop is a Toshiba Satellite L450-188 running Ubuntu 12.04 with
the LTS backport kernel from Raring.  The original wireless card in it
is a Realtek RTL8191SE.  I tried replacing it with the Atheros-based
card from my son's EeePC, but although the card was apparently
recognised, and the ath5k module loaded, the card was disabled:

jtait at mothership:~$ rfkill list
0: phy0: Wireless LAN
        Soft blocked: no
        Hard blocked: yes

rfkill unblock has no effect - no error, but the card remains hard
blocked.  The wireless key (Fn-F8) simply toggles the soft block, and
the laptop has no hardware switch that I can see.  There's a setting
in the BIOS that doesn't seem to have any effect.  So I picked up an
Intel IWL4965AGN card on eBay for a couple of quid and tried that, but
the result was the same:

jtait at mothership:~$ rfkill list
0: phy0: Wireless LAN
        Soft blocked: no
        Hard blocked: yes

I've tried countless "solutions" on ubuntuforums and so on.  Is it
possible that Toshiba have decided to lock the laptop down to a
specific kind of wireless card?

- -- 
- ---------------------------------------+--------------------------------
James Tait, BSc                        |    xmpp:jayteeuk at wyrddreams.org
Programmer and Free Software advocate  |        Tel: +44 (0)870 490 2407
- ---------------------------------------+--------------------------------
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