Monday, March 30, 2009

Realtek 8187b Wifi on the Toshiba Satellite L300

I was struggling to get the Wifi working on Ubuntu 8.10 on the Toshiba Satellite L300 over the weekend. I resorted to using the Windows driver with ndiswrapper (ndisgtk is a great UI for it). But the performance was quite bad, and after a reboot, the wlan0 will dissapear.

Looking at the online forums there seems to be alot of confusion, because the device ID displayed is not 8187 but 8198. One method is to add this new ID in the RTL driver and recompile it.

However there is an easier way, and to get it working, you will need the backports of legacy drivers installed. In Ubuntu this will install it:
# apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid
When this is installed, you just need to invoke the Realtek driver:
# modprobe rtl8187
NetworkManager should then detect the wifi adaptor and proceed to connect to the network. Make sure that you add rtl8187 in /etc/modules for the driver to load up on the next reboot.