Posted by: Odzangba | June 9, 2007

Wireless on Dell Latitude D520 with Ubuntu

I’ve had to fix this issue on several of my friends’ laptops recently so I decided to put up a real how-to for future reference. The problem is due to a bug in the native driver shipped with Ubuntu 7.04, the wireless card on this laptop is detected and installed but you cannot find any wireless networks. Here’s how to fix it.

* Let’s disable the native Ubuntu driver. Type this in a terminal:

gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

and insert at the very end of the file:

# buggy broadcom wireless driver
blacklist bcm43xx

* Next, do this in a terminal:

sudo rmmod bcm43xx

* Now, let’s download and install the windows driver for the wireless card. You have to download it from the Dell support website. Click here to download it.

Or you can use the direct link to the executable:

Since it’s a windows self-extracting executable, you need wine to use it:

sudo apt-get install wine


wine <path_to_R140747.EXE>

Replace <path_to_R140747.EXE> with the actual physical path to the file you downloaded from the Dell support website. Follow the instructions and extract the files to a folder of your choice. Alternatively, you could extract the files on a windows machine and copy them over to your ubuntu system.

* Now, let’s install ndiswrapper. We need it to load the windows driver.

sudo aptitude install ndisgtk ndiswrapper-common ndiswrapper-utils-1.9

* Let’s install the windows driver:

sudo ndiswrapper -i <location_of_bcmwl5.inf_file>

Replace <location_of_bcmwl5.inf_file> with the path to the bcmwl5.inf file you extracted earlier.

* Let’s make sure the driver is installed:

sudo ndiswrapper -l

You should get something like this:

bcmwl5 : driver installed
device (14E4:4311) present (alternate driver: bcm43xx)

* Now we need to set up ndiswrapper to load our new driver automatically:

sudo gedit /etc/modules

and add a new line that says:


That’s it, restart your laptop. During the restart, the wiFI LED should light up. If it doesn’t, try the Fn + F2 key combination. After the reboot, configure your network settings:

System -> Administration -> Networking

Enable the wireless connection and tinker with the connection settings if you need to. You may have to  disable the wired connection because wireless and wired connections may not work simultaneously – your mileage may vary in this regard.

It seems Network Manager prevents the card from connecting to detected wireless networks. I advise you to remove it if you can detect wireless networks but cannot connect to them. To do this, type the following in a terminal:

sudo apt-get –purge remove network-manager network-manager-gnome

Alternatively, you can open Synaptic and remove these two packages.
* Summary:
1.) Install ndiswrapper
sudo apt-get install ndisgtk ndiswrapper-common ndiswrapper-utils-1.9

2.) Install the windows wireless driver
sudo ndiswrapper -i <location_of_bcmwl5.inf_file>

Remember to replace <location_of_bcmwl5.inf_file> with the actual path to the location of the bcmwl5.inf file

3,) Make sure the card has been detected and installed
ndiswrapper -l

4.) Disable the native ubuntu wireless driver
gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

Insert at the very end of the file:

# buggy broadcom wireless driver
blacklist bcm43xx

5.) Remove Network Manager if it gives you problems
sudo apt-get –purge remove network-manager network-manager-gnome


You wireless card should be working flawlessly now.



  1. Greetings,

    You might want to checkout my post about getting Wifi working on my Dell 710m notebook. It’s possible you could apply the same technique using my how-to since the driver link I posted supports your 1390 Lan Mini card.
    Here is a list of supported cards with that driver:

    Network: Dell _Wireless (US) WLAN Card, Wireless 1350 WLAN MiniPCI Card, Wireless 1350 WLAN PC Card, Wireless 1370 WLAN MiniPCI Card, Wireless 1390 WLAN ExpressCard, Wireless 1390 WLAN MiniCard, Wireless 1450 WLAN miniPCI Card, Wireless 1470 Dual-Band WLAN miniPCI Card, Wireless 1490 Dual-Band WLAN MiniCard, Wireless 1500 Draft 802.11n WLAN mini Card, Driver, Windows XP, Windows XP x64, Multi Language, Multi System, v. /, A10

    The link to my blog post:


  2. Dhashi’s how-to works flawlessly, people. I seriously recommend it to anyone with the same problem.


  3. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  4. hey! I used both guides (started with the other, finished with yours mainly) they worked great, thanks a ton! 😀

  5. No problem, Charles. I’m glad it helped. 🙂

  6. I switching to Ubuntu small small. But I have a small but serious problem. My sound and my Desktop Effects are not working. Feedback.

  7. I’m switching to Ubuntu small small. But I have a small but serious problem. My sound and my Desktop Effects are not working. Feedback.

  8. Amazing Site I like it. It Was Quite Interesting NiceWork I appreciate the information you provided Excellent post. Keep it up! Good day!

  9. Nice info. I would try on my ubuntu, because my wifi is problem

  10. Hello,
    I have followed the instructions, but I am getting this:
    bcmwl5 : driver installed
    device (14E4:4311) present (alternate driver: ssb)

    and the hw wireless icon is not on.
    Any help?
    Thank you in advance

  11. I have been be-devilled by this problem for over 2 years. “All Things Laptops” is 1 of 3 of my favorite hobbies. I did a workaround on 2 laptops, running Zorin and Lubuntu, by using a WiFi dongle. Until now, I did not understand the root cause of the problem. I am delighted with the new-found knowledge! An old sea dog can learn new tricks in 2018. Thank You!

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