3rd Times a Charm… Linux, Wifi and Samsung N210

If you follow this blog you will know that I’ve mentioned wireless and the Samsung N210 in the past.

Kickstart Samsung N210 Wireless
Update: UNR 10.04 Wireless on Samsung N210

The first one post was the most successful blog post I’ve ever written, and judging by the number of posts in the Ubuntu forums it’s something many people struggle with constantly with this netbook.

I’ve found that the solutions I posed previously worked, but had to be redone each time after a kernel update. What’s worse is that with each new ‘Buntu distro upgrade, an entirely new wireless problem appeared.

To be quite frank, I’m getting sick of this and I won’t be touching another Samsung netbook. In fact when it comes time to refresh I’ll probably opt for a System 76 box.

The latest upgrade appears to be finding the card and connecting seamlessly on live distro and install… but after a while of being online, it starts to drop off, becoming more frequent until it either doesn’t work at all, or it pretends to connect to the network without actually establishing any connection to the router.

I did a bit more digging in the forums and online and after much reading I’ve come to the conclusion that it has something to do with Canonical disabling Wireless N by default in 10.10 (Maverick), and whatever is going on inside Samsung netbooks… because to my dismay I discovered it’s not just the N210 that has this problem seems to be the majority of their netbook range using Realtek cards.

It was then that I stumbled across a German blog post from a link through a forum for sorting out wireless on the Samsung N510.

Dirk Hoeschen has put together both a driver and script to easily run from the command line which I can confirm worked on my N210. The only issue I’ve found is Wireless still drops but it’s much more stable and lasts longer. Furthermore, by running the script again it performs a ‘reset’ and causes the wireless to reboot without having to reboot.

sudo apt-get install build-essential
tar -xpf rtl819Xe.tar.gz
cd rtl819Xe
sudo ./install.sh

It’s not perfect but it works and so it is my 3rd solution from Ubuntu 10.10 onwards. There may be more elegant and more permanent solutions but I really don’t have the time or skill level to look for them. One thing I will state is that Ubuntu was the only distro I tested that recognised the Realtek hardware out-of-the-box despite these issues.

I honestly don’t know what the Narwhal will bring and if I’ll have to hunt for a new solution or if it will finally be fixed. Funnily enough, I did have duel boot with Win 7 Starter on the netbook and one evening when I was getting particularly fed up I booted in and found that Windows didn’t recognise the wireless network either – leading me to believe that the wireless cards in these things are very poor quality. Either that or Samsungs quality control efforts are seriously questionable. But that’s another story.

4 thoughts on “3rd Times a Charm… Linux, Wifi and Samsung N210

  1. I bought the N210 half a year ago and have had nothing but problems with the wireless since.

    I’m looking forward to getting home and trying this out. Is ubuntu now usable day to day on the N210? Or do you find yourself switching back to Win7? I rather stupidly completely deleted Windows from the netbook, and having discovered the Linux wireless problems haven’t yet found a way to get Windows 7 starter back on it.

    1. Wireless has been constant hit and miss – I don’t trust the hardware myself but others report no problems after performing the fixes. For me it just bugs out after a while and has to be reloaded.

      I’d never consider putting Windows Trial edition back on it though – the amount of pre-installed crapola on there and the fact you can’t change the background on it is an affront to decency. Windows Starter is crippled and for only one thing, to try and bait you into purchasing a license for full Windows to make money back on their loss leader.

      I’d encourage you to wait a bit more with Ubuntu. I’ve been using it since version 6 and my desktop had similar problems back then, but now my desktop works flawlessly and can even handle hardware that Vista and 7 can’t out of the box. I think they will eventually get it right in the next few versions and you’ll definitely be thankful you stuck with it. Besides I think this last issue is because they disabled wireless N support whilst they fix a bug(?)

      Your other option is to try another distro, but of the ones I tested out, none of them came close to recognising all my hardware than the latest Ubuntu distro.

  2. Glad I came across your posts and realised I’m not the only one with this problem… I’ve been tearing my hair out! I have a Samsung N220 and have been trying all the suggested fixes for the dodgy wireless, but don’t seem to be getting a stable solution.

    Just to confirm my problem is similar/same to other poor sods with the Realtek wireless adapter: I can connect to WiFi ok, but after a random amount of time WiFi just stops working. It still shows as being connected in WiCD, but its like the connection is just gone ie. I can’t nslookup any domain, either through my router DNS or even Google Public nameservers.

    Is this the same problem you’ve described in your posts?

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