Dell Laptop incompatibility with Linux

My Dell Inspiron has a factory installed routine called Quickset which controls WIFI connection. I have loaded a number of Linux distros but none have been compatible with Quickset and I have had to use the ethernet connection.
Do any Linux systems have the necessary WIFI compatibility?

Hi gw2,

Quickset as I understand it is a Windows only application that controls a bunch of hardware specific features of Dell laptops. As such, Quickset itself would be irrelevant on a system running Linux.

In general Dell tend to use hardware that is supported by Linux, so my expectation is that WiFi on your system should work under Linux, but of course there are many possible reasons why it might not. In order to narrow down why you might be having trouble, could you specify which specific model of Inspiron you have?

In terms of things to check, you should have a hardware on/off switch for your WiFi presented either as a switch on your laptop case, AND/OR, as a setting in your BIOS. Worth making sure WiFi is enabled by default in both instances. (it may be off for example in the BIOS, and something the Quickset application would be able to override, so if it’s off by default, just changing this might solve your problem)

Then take a look at what the machine is seeing, start with nmcli for example;

$ nmcli
wlp7s0: connected to MYNETWORK
        "Qualcomm Atheros AR9285"
        wifi (ath9k), 64:27:37:AC:17:6D, hw, mtu 1500
        ip4 default
        route4 metric 600
        route4 default via metric 600
        route4 metric 1000
        inet6 fe80::fe13:b33d:8709:31dc/64
        route6 fe80::/64 metric 1024

It may or may not come back with something useful. Then take a look at a lower level with lspci, for example;

$ lspci|grep -i net
07:00.0 Network controller: Qualcomm Atheros AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) (rev 01)
13:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 06)

At this point you should have some indication of at least what sort of hardware Linux is seeing with regards to WiFi. If you could post the output here it should give us an idea of what you need to be doing to get it working.

In terms of your best chance of getting something compatible with regards to drivers, I’d be trying Ubuntu Desktop.


Apologies for the delay in replying. My laptop is an Inspiron 1501. Using nmcli gave me a result that I don’t understand. Using lspci I got the following: 05:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Inc. and subsidiaries BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN (rev 01) 08.00.0 Ethernet controller : Broadcom etc BCM 4401-B0 100Base-TX (rev 02) I hope that this helps.

Ok, that threw me a little. You’re probably going to find it easier to re-use the same account for posting on a conversation than creating a new account for each post … :wink:

So the 1501 looks like a slightly older model, and it looks like the drivers for the Broadcom chipset weren’t Open Source, so you may need to explicitly install them.

Try (on Ubuntu 22.04);

sudo apt install firmware-b43-installer wireless-tools

Probably worth a reboot when complete (just for good measure) but with any luck you should find that helps.