Ubuntu is popular for its robustness and relatively fewer errors. But it's not without its bag of problems, for sure. One such problem is with its Wi-Fi driver. You might power up your system only to find that your Wi-Fi is not working.
While there is no definite answer to why this happens, there certainly are various kinds of fixes that you can try to get it working again. Let's start with the simplest one first.
1. Check Your Internet Connection
Can you see your network adaptor in the top-left corner? If yes, are you certain that it's connected to your network, and that your internet connection is stable?
Verify this by connecting your other devices to the same network. If you can see the internet icon on other devices, then it's not a problem with the network.
Something is probably wrong with your device. Jump to the next method if that's the case. But if your internet isn't working on different devices, the issue is probably with your network itself. You're better off calling your ISP then.
2. Plug In the Ethernet Cable
Can you see the Wi-Fi icon in the top-left corner of your screen? If you can't, then there's probably some trouble with your Ubuntu Wi-Fi driver. To install a new one, connect the Ethernet cable directly to your PC or laptop.
After your computer is online, type software in the Ubuntu search bar and select the Software & Updates option.
In the Software & Updates menu, go to the Additional Drivers tab, choose the wireless driver, and select Apply Changes. After the installation is complete, restart your system to see if your Wi-Fi is working or not.
3. Install Additional Wi-Fi Drivers From Ubuntu ISO
It's not uncommon to lose important system files after an abrupt shutdown or an unlikely malware infection. And if your driver files have been deleted or become corrupt, then even the Wi-Fi icon can disappear from the menu.
Whatever the reason be, a quick reinstallation of drivers should solve the Wi-Fi problem for your system.
Grab a copy of the Ubuntu ISO file. Check if you have one in the Downloads directory. If not, get it from another computer that has a working internet connection. After you get your hands on the ISO file, copy it to your USB stick.
Now plug in the USB drive and copy the Ubuntu ISO file to your home directory. Open the terminal, type the following commands, and hit Enter:
sudo mkdir /media/cdromcd ~sudo mount -o loop ubuntu-* /media/cdrom
With this command, you've now mounted the USB stick as if it was a CD.
Now go to the applications menu, and select Software Updates. From there, select CD-ROM with the Ubuntu radio box and enter your password next. Then switch to the Additional Drivers tab and click on Apply Changes. Your drivers will get installed in a few seconds, and you should see the Wi-Fi icon on top again.
4. Reinstall the Network Manager
Network Manager is a Linux utility that seeks to maintain your network devices and connections. It manages the Wi-Fi, Ethernet, PPPoE devices, and provides a lot of other miscellaneous services as well.
And that's why your Ubuntu Wi-Fi can stop working if the Network Manager gets accidentally uninstalled. In some cases, Network Manager might still be available in the cache. If that's the case with you too, then execute this command to install Network Manager again:
sudo apt install network-manager
But, if you don't have the cache, you will have to plug in the Ethernet cable again. Run the above command again once you've done that.
As a final step, if none of the above methods works, you will need to edit your configuration file. This guide uses gedit as the text editor, but you can use the text editor that you prefer.
sudo gedit /etc/network/interfaces
Amend it to read as follows:
auto lo iface lo inet loopback auto wlan0 iface wlan0 inet dhcp wpa-essid myssid wpa-psk mypasscode
Then, restart the interface by typing:
sudo ifdown wlan0 && sudo ifup -v wlan0
Fixing Your Wireless Network Issues for Good
Losing your Wi-Fi can introduce many hiccups in your workflow. But hopefully, one of these methods helped you resolve your problems for now. In our experience, installing new drivers from the ISO works most of the time, but you can try out all the fixes one by one.
Although problems do arise in Linux, it's a relatively stable and secure operating system worth learning—especially if you're looking into tech careers.