Making Intel Wireless 3945ABG Work Better on Ubuntu Hardy

24 04 2008

In Ubuntu 8.04 the Intel wireless cards have switched from the ipw driver to the iwl driver.  The version of the iwl driver that ships with Hardy is slightly buggered.  The driver does not support SCAN_CAPA = 0×0 which prevents it from connecting to hidden networks.  Though Network Manager has been pachted with a workaround for this.  It also doesn’t have any support for controlling the LED light.  Luckily a new version of the iwl driver has been backported in the linux-backports-modules-hardy-generic package.

To install this package, first go System→Administration→Software Sources.  Go to the Updates tab and enable the Hardy Backports repository.

Software Sources

Click Close then click the Reload button when prompted.  After that is done open a termianl and enter

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-hardy-generic

Afterwards, reboot and you should have your LED light working as well as possibly better wireless performance.

I still have some problems connecting to my network.  Sometimes it won’t connect when I boot the computer and I have to fool around with Network Manager by disabling wireless, enabling wireless, disabling networking, enabling networking, and a number of combinations of those things with some waiting thrown in there too.  So if you’re having problems connecting to the network, play around with Network Manager for a while. It might take a lot of tries.

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48 responses

26 04 2008

This cured the led for me but I had to ditch Network Manager and install Wicd to get my Inspiron 9400 with Hardy to connect to any encrypted network.

Wicd works really well for me. You will need to add the following line to your 3rd party repos.

deb hardy extras

26 04 2008

Thanks so much! This got the light working again for the wireless on my Dell 6400 e1505!

26 04 2008
Vadim P.

The gtk theme! It burns my eyes :(

26 04 2008

ROFL :lol:
Yes, I should do something about that. :)

26 04 2008

Anyone have luck getting WPA/WPA2 setup with this method?

Some people are getting the card to work, but are either using WEP or no encryption at all.

26 04 2008

I would give Wicd a shot as Blingin2Mingin mentioned. The patch that Network Manager was patched with seems flaky at best. Some have had better luck with the backports-modules + Wicd instead of Network Manager. I think I’m even going to give Wicd a shot since I’m tired of fooling around with NM for 10 minutes whenever I boot up to get connected. I’m using WEP by the way.

Fixed GTK theme ;)

30 04 2008

All that and still no LED lights on.
i’m using a X60, with the iwl3945 driver.
And already compiled the compat-wireless.
Any help appreciated.

***@*****-x60:/home/grayamf# dmesg|grep 3945
[ 23.756827] iwl3945: Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG/BG Network Connection driver for Linux, 1.2.26k
[ 23.756831] iwl3945: Copyright(c) 2003-2008 Intel Corporation
[ 23.757975] iwl3945: Detected Intel Wireless WiFi Link 3945ABG
[ 23.823740] iwl3945: Tunable channels: 11 802.11bg, 13 802.11a channels
[ 23.836444] phy0: Selected rate control algorithm ‘iwl-3945-rs’
[ 35.653649] iwl3945: Radio disabled by HW RF Kill switch
[ 178.666346] iwl3945: Radio disabled by HW RF Kill switch
[ 180.671550] iwl3945: Radio disabled by HW RF Kill switch
[ 182.662147] iwl3945: Radio disabled by HW RF Kill switch
[ 485.402723] iwl3945: Radio disabled by HW RF Kill switch

30 04 2008

Thinkpad X60s the light is still off and now wirless connection after doing your suggestion.

30 04 2008

Sorry correction no wireless connection.

1 05 2008

i recommend wicd. it really works fine and my dell doesn’t disconnect any more :)

5 05 2008 : Ubuntu at work

[...] The thing booted and everything seemed to work. Except the wireless lan was nowhere to be seen (known issue with the driver apparently, haven’t managed to fix this yet). Compiz actually works and looks pretty cool. I have sound. [...]

11 05 2008


12 05 2008

Worked for me, Inspiron 1520, WPA2 Personal. THANKS!

15 05 2008

wicd is broken

File “/usr/lib/python2.5/”, line 462, in _read
raise MissingSectionHeaderError(fpname, lineno, line)
MissingSectionHeaderError: File contains no section headers.
file: data/wired-settings.conf, line: 1

why didn’t they stick with what worked with 7.10??

15 05 2008
less grumpy

found it. delete /opt/wicd/data/wired-settings.conf and restart

20 05 2008

Thanks! Worked perfectly!

23 05 2008
Happy with Hardy

I apt-get’d the backports and now everything runs smoothly. I can’t believe such a glaring error was included in a LTS!

Thanks very much!

29 05 2008

I’ll try it

5 06 2008

Can you give me more detail about getting the Wicd? I did the backport stuff but wireless still does not work.

5 06 2008


6 06 2008

Running Ubuntu Hardy on a Lenovo T61 and a Dell Insipron 1420. Both laptops include a wireless Intel 4965AGN. Followed instructions for both laptops, rebooted, and wifi light came on for both laptops. Excellent, Thanks

11 06 2008
11 06 2008 — jetzt wird zurückgeblogt - Ubuntu 8.04 LTS && Lifebook E8110

[...] ins Essen — Atheros- oder Prism54 via PC-Card rockt weiterhin das Haus (und ich bin nicht alleine …)kein Dateiempfang mehr via Bluetooth — another pain in the ass brought to you by [...]

22 06 2008

Wicd worked well for dv6516tx. Thanks!

17 07 2008

Thank you!! My Computer would connect to certain wireless routers and it confused me. While I was on vacation at my family’s I could connect to their router and their neighbor’s router, but not mine when I returned home.

Fixed now, light and all!!

22 07 2008

Thank you all for this great advice! Just dropping by to say that I had the same issues, and a simple install of the backport iwl driver seems to have fixed them all.

24 07 2008

Hmmm. Did not work for me. In fact, no change is visible- wifi still works OK with Wicd, but no LED. Any pointers on how to debug this?


11 08 2008

Hi. The initial backport solution work for me. Intel 3495 card on IBM T61

17 08 2008

Yes finally! This works perfectly even with WPA encryption, and the light works to.

17 08 2008

I tried backport install and wicd on a Gateway 475m luck , it will only connect to unsecured network not wpa .. has anybody tried going to an older version of ubuntu?

3 09 2008

works for me, but it doesnt blink indicating the net usage[it did in XP]
but i can live with this!

3 09 2008

works perfect just upgrade your system and you shouldn’t have a problem.

23 09 2008

Dear sir, may I say that you “ROCK”, and that you “KICK ASS” Wow, now my sound and wireless work, quite a nice bonus for the sound to work as well.

16 10 2008

I was about to go back to SUSE from ubuntu… but now my lenovo r61 has wireless, thx!

22 10 2008

I have changed to trying to use the wireless card because of a fault on the wired network connector. It was then that I found the wireless card would not work when I boot to Linux. Is there something I could download when connected via Windows, that could be uswed to fix the problem when I boot to Linux?

29 10 2008

This fix worked for me on Ubuntu, but not since updating the kernel to 2.6.24-21. The LED still works, but wicd does not see my network. Strangely, it does see others in the area. Goodness knows why…

29 10 2008

The backported driver fixed the LED, but didn’t make any difference to my real problem, which is no connection to my wireless A LAN (with or without security), while it works OK on wireless G. More hacking … :-/

30 10 2008
Getting WiFi to work on Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG in Ubuntu Hardy « Geeky Gospel

[...] Now, you need to install the package linux-backports-modules-hardy-generic. To do this, you need to enable the Hardy Backports repository in Synaptic and then install it. If you are not sure how to do this, you can find instructions with screenshots here. [...]

28 11 2008

well that advice killed my wifi on acer 5672wlmi
every now and then it kicks me off and freezes. The computer wont even shut down. How do i put it back?

3 12 2008
Fat Vegan › Intrepid Ubuntu on Acer TravelMate 8220 with Wireless

[...] per Ubuntu Hardy. Even makes the little indicator LED work, which I’ve never seen work [...]

13 01 2009

I tried this for Ubuntu 8.04 on Dell D820 laptop and still would not work. Now I upgraded to 8.10 and still won’t work…

5 03 2009
Fábio Pereira


I was having some problems regarding low speed transfers between Ubuntu (Samba) and Windows XP. I am running Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid on a notebook (Toshiba A105) and when transfering files from the notebook to a Windows XP machine (the notebook connects through WIFI) I was experiencing very low speed transfers.

After issuing: sudo apt-get install linux-backport-modules-intrepid-generic my system now works ok, with a good transfer speed.


17 03 2009

Nice post.

29 03 2009

I removed Network Manager and installed Wicd which solved the problems I was having with Network Manager, but whenever Wicd disconnects the computer hard freezes instantly and I have to manually reboot the PC any ideas, has anyone experienced this problem I am currently trying to find a solution. Thanks

21 07 2009
17 01 2010

Computer: Dell XPS M1330
OS: Ubuntu Hardy 8.04

Results: Works like a charm! Big tanks!

16 04 2010

Что то Автор почти совсем перестал писать новые посты и даже админить блог? Может чего случилось?

2 01 2011
2010 in review « Linuxtechie's Blog

[...] Making Intel Wireless 3945ABG Work Better on Ubuntu Hardy April 2008 47 comments 3 [...]

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